Margin Notes



What I Was Reading:

In 2019 Kyle Korver wrote a first-person essay called Privileged that was published by the Player’s Tribune. In it, he describes two racialized incidents involving his teammates that led him to recognize his white privilege:

What I’m realizing is, no matter how passionately I commit to being an ally, and no matter how unwavering my support is for NBA and WNBA players of color…I’m still in this conversation from the privilege of opting in to it. Which of course means that on the flip side, I could just as easily opt out of it. Every day, I’m given that choice—I’m granted that privilege—based on the color of my skin.

Later in the text, Korver reflects on his responsibility to take action:

How can I—as a white man, part of this systemic problem—become part of the solution when it comes to racism in my workplace? In my community? In this country?

I have to continue to educate myself on the history of racism in America.

I have to listen. I’ll say it again because it’s that important. I have to listen.

I have to support leaders who see racial justice as fundamental—as something that’s at the heart of nearly every major issue in our country today. And I have to support policies that do the same.

I have to do my best to recognize when to get out of the way—in order to amplify the voices of marginalized groups that so often get lost.

But maybe more than anything?

We all have to hold each other accountable.

And I think we all have to be accountable—period. Not just for our own actions, but also for the ways that our inaction can create a “safe” space for toxic behavior.

What Moves I Notice the Writer Making:

  • Korver uses an ask-and-answer technique to introduce this section of the text. It marks a turning point between his recognition of his white privilege and his responsibility to take action.
  • He builds on his first question with two short follow-up questions that mirror the wording of the first: “…in my workplace? In my community? In this country?”. This use of repetition highlights the way each question builds on the previous one.
  • The answer to the question is organized into a list of actions. Again, Korver uses a repeated structure: “I have to…”.
  • This pattern shifts within the list from “I have to…” to we have to…”.

Possibilities for Writers:

  • Read this text as a writer to notice and name other interesting craft moves and discuss how they impact you as a reader.
  • Try the the ask-and-answer move to create a shift or introduce a new idea in your writing.
  • Find a place in your writing where you can incorporate a list of short sentences instead of a paragraph.
  • Experiment with repetition for effect in your own writing. You might also make a slight change in the pattern to draw your reader’s attention as Korver did by shifting from I to we.

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