“There’s a lot more controversy around it than many of us expected,” Harold Bailey Jr., diversity council chairman of Westport, Connecticut, told The Associated Press a month later. “Just the fact it says ‘white’ and ‘privilege,’ for some people that’s all they need to see, and all of a sudden, we’re race-baiting or trying to get people to feel guilty. That’s not at all what it’s about.”
A 2010 census found 24,429 of the town’s 26,391 residents are white, Westport’s municipal website says, and its median family income is $152,894.
Well, the winner and the runners-up have been announced — all of them students at Staples High School in Westport
Coming in third was Claire Dinshaw, an 18-year-old white senior who titled her essay "The Privilege of Ignorance.” Second place went to Josiah Tarrant, a 16-year-old white junior whose “White Privilege and Me” described the adoption of his younger brother from Ethiopia.
The top prize for his essay — “The Colors of Privilege” — went to Chet Ellis, a 15-year-old black sophomore.
The contest's controversy wasn't lost on him.
“I saw what was happening, and I personally really didn’t want to write the essay,” Ellis told the Westport News, adding that his parents encouraged him to put the pen to paper.
“Students get blinded by the thought that a student could get into college more easily because of their skin color, while not seeing that African-Americans are twice as likely to be unemployed, and once employed earn nearly 25 percent less than their white counterparts,” Ellis wrote in his essay, the paper reported. “They don’t see that despite making up 12 percent of the population, we are 35 percent of jail inmates and 24 percent of people shot by the police.”
Ellis added that he faces implicit bias even when he's shopping in town.
“But living in this place where almost everyone is white makes me question, when I’m in Walgreens and the manager follows me around the store, would this happen if I looked different?” his essay asked, the News reported.
Ellis took home a $1,000 prize for his essay, the paper said, while Tarrant got $750 and Dinshaw received $500.
Bailey of Westport's diversity council didn't immediately reply Wednesday to TheBlaze, which asked if other black students submitted essays and, if so, how many.
Here's video Ellis reading his essay Monday night:
(H/T: Truth Revolt)