Color-blind heroism

The Washington Post reviewed "The Class of '65" this weekend in a thoughtful, in-depth piece that raises a question I wrestled with myself: What do we make of a narrative set in the civil rights era whose hero is white? Donna Britt (shown here), a former syndicated columnist for the Post and author of the memoir "Brothers (and Me)," admits that she approached "The Class of '65" with some skepticism, wondering whether it was another "white savior" narrative like "Mississippi Burning," where the heroes were white FBI agents instead of the black people fighting back against terrorism. Having said that, Britt soon found herself pulled into the story of Greg Wittkamper, the white teenager who was persecuted in high school because of his beliefs and his support of the black students desegregating their high school. "The more I learned about Wittkamper's grit, the more I admired him," she writes. "Courage deserves acknowledgement, no matter what color it's wrapped in. My predominant 'why' became 'Why can't the rest of us be as brave?'" There were other brave young people during those difficult times in Georgia -- black and white -- and they all deserve our acknowledgement and admiration.