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racism

…here’s what evidence does strongly suggest: Young black men in America suffer from widespread racism and stereotyping, by all society — including African-Americans themselves. Research in the last couple of decades suggests that the problem is not so much overt racists. Rather, the larger problem is a broad swath of people who consider themselves enlightened, who intellectually believe in racial equality, who deplore discrimination, yet who harbor unconscious attitudes that result in discriminatory policies and behavior. Nicholas Kristof

These are the roots of the lie. Here it is—plain and simple: Black people are not fully human. In most crass terms—they are animals. Lisa Sharon Harper

We have come such a long, long way, we have. We have elected a black man president of the United States, and forget that the political opposition has treated him like an unruly footman despite his best efforts to be a conciliator, a living witness to a country absolved. But, from a distance, that is not the conclusion the honest person can draw from what is going on in Missouri now. The honest conclusion to be drawn from what is going on in Missouri now is that we may have reached the limits of the American idea, of the American dream, of the American experiment. This country, it is fair to conclude, cannot exist without some manifestation of its fundamental racial divide. Slavery, followed by Reconstruction, followed by American apartheid, followed by the Civil Rights movement, followed by Wallace and white backlash, followed by the election of Barack Obama followed by the shooting of Trayvon Martin, followed by the acquittal of George Zimmerman, followed by the strangulation of Eric Garner — where’d he go, by the way? — and the shooting of Michael Brown. Maybe we should admit it to ourselves, we of the dwindling white majority, that the racial divide is something essential to holding our idea of the country together. It may be that we cannot unify ourselves without fashioning every 50 years or so, a new suit of clothes for old Jim Crow. White people will be a minority in this country, and very soon. Maybe the racial divide is all we have left. Charles P. Pierce

From the execution chamber to the streets of Ferguson, Mo., our country is wholly invested in violence against Black Americans that carries no consequence for the perpetrators. And that police brutality says nothing of the state brutality against Black Americans that manifest in the racist prison system, predatory lending, de facto segregation through economic structures and gentrification, and a whole host of other aggressions. And that’s one reason why White Americans, by and large, think it’s okay to shoot tear gas at Black citizens. Because we’ve been indoctrinated to see violence against Black people as justice, as keeping the peace, and as restraint of police who are just trying do their jobs. We can’t see past the mirage of white supremacy. Ferguson and the Assault on Black America

Government policy toward African-Americans is not an argument for the ineffectuality of government, on the contrary it is an argument for just how effective government can be. The intent of mid-20th-century policy was the elevation of a white middle class and the preservation of white supremacy. The policy was a rousing success. Home Is Where the Hatred Is

Rooting out racism means more then changing minds, it means changing systems that perpetuate it, even while we claim to be post-racial. We’re Still Racist

Abraham Lincoln’s light skin did not save him from a racist political attack, anymore than it saved him from a racist assassination plot. Indeed it is eerie to see how much the words of Stephen Douglas (“I believe this government was made on the white basis”) were echoed by John Wilkes Booth (“This country was formed for the white, not for the black man”). American politics cannot escape the winds of white supremacy. White supremacy birthed American politics. In the 1990s, as today, the Democratic Party was perceived by many as the party of black interests. It’s not incidental that many of Clinton’s most crazed critics (Jesse Helms, for example) and violent critics (the militia movement) were no strangers to white supremacy. That the black Democratic Party is now actually headed by a black man is bound to cause some portion of America to feel a certain way. Bill Clinton Was Racialized, Too

The fictitious narrative is this: People of color are either beasts or burden, only able to survive because of the benevolent charity of the whites who feed them, house them, and give them “things to do.” These are the facts, hidden by the façade and the fiction: For every one Magic Johnson, Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, or Eva Longoria, there are millions of blacks, Latinos, and others who have been barred from adequate housing, equal education, and affordable health care. They have suffered the effects of legislation that lowered the bar of criminality and targeted them to fill privatized prisons. Donald Sterling: Facade, Fiction, and Forgiveness

The problem with Cliven Bundy isn’t that he is a racist but that he is an oafish racist. He invokes the crudest stereotypes, like cotton picking. This makes white people feel bad. The elegant racist knows how to injure non-white people while never summoning the specter of white guilt. Elegant racism requires plausible deniability, as when Reagan just happened to stumble into the Neshoba County fair and mention state’s rights. Oafish racism leaves no escape hatch, as when Trent Lott praised Strom Thurmond’s singularly segregationist candidacy. Elegant racism is invisible, supple, and enduring. It disguises itself in the national vocabulary, avoids epithets and didacticism. Grace is the singular marker of elegant racism. One should never underestimate the touch needed to, say, injure the voting rights of black people without ever saying their names. Elegant racism lives at the border of white shame. Elegant racism was the poll tax. Elegant racism is voter-ID laws. Ta-Nehisi Coates

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