Why America Hasn’t Really Dealt with Race

Attorney General Eric Holder delivers remarks during the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund’s luncheon to commemorate the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision at the National Press Club May 16, 2014, in Washington, D.C.  CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES
Attorney General Eric Holder delivers remarks during the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund’s luncheon to commemorate the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision at the National Press Club May 16, 2014, in Washington, D.C.
CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES

As Attorney General Eric Holder recently explained, in its most obvious forms, racism may be receding. But discrimination does not always come in the form of Jim Crow or a hateful epithet.

In 1903 W.E.B. Du Bois opined that one of the burdens of blackness was facing down an ever-present question: “How does it feel to be a problem?”

More than a century later, the changes on our social and political landscape have led us to an equally challenging question: How do you solve a problem like white privilege in America?

It seems that the first step is admitting we have a problem.

The recent controversies surrounding Cliven Bundy—the Nevada rancher now infamous for wondering aloud if African Americans were better off as slaves—and Donald Sterling, the NBA owner with an unabashed plantation mentality, have reinvigorated debates about the true nature of racism, its origins and its outcomes.

The unseemly news that a police commissioner in New Hampshire boldly and unapologetically referred to President Barack Obama using the n-word was disturbing, of course, but after six years of increasingly commonplace, thinly veiled race-baiting attacks by Republicans in Washington, D.C., it was barely worth more than one news-cycle headline.

From the outside, the ages of these men—67, 80 and 82 respectively—might lead one to conclude that this kind of racism is generational, and that as time passes, outdated attitudes and the social constructs in which they thrive will eventually fade.

Sadly, that American dream is only a mirage.

As explicit expressions of racism have been curbed during the past 50 years, since the civil rights era brought sweeping social progress, structural and institutional racism has actually deepened. And this is where the problem of blackness has met a wall of white privilege.

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Source: The Root | 

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