Thursday, December 04, 2014

The indefensible persistence of racism in America

If you hear anyone trying to argue that we live in post-racial America, please tell that person to sit down and shut the fuck up. The failures of two grand juries to indict cops for murdering Michael Brown and Eric Garner should lay the post-racial myth in its grave. Racism is alive and well in the United States. Just turn on your TV and listen to conservatives like ex-New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani or FOX News’ Gretchen Carlson or Congressman Peter King spew ridiculous justifications for the actions of the police. King thinks Garner died because he was too fat.

Modern racism is comfortably couched in code words and phrases that allow the speaker a back door to escape being labeled an outright bigot. The welfare state, the takers, the lazy poor, the criminal class; prejudice and racial hatred are covered with layers of euphemisms that have allowed them to be slyly interjected into our national political discourse.

Yes, we elected an African American president, and at the same time opened a Pandora’s Box of racial hatred that has seen conservatives accuse Obama of everything from hating America to being the Anti-Christ. When they couldn’t come up with an actual impeachable offense, they tried to manufacture one with Benghazi. This colossal effort, this extensive expenditure of time and energy to try and bring down the President isn’t coming from any patriotic quest to wrest America from an evil leader, but from the poisoned stream of racism that runs just beneath the surface of far too many of our politicians.

The year is 2014, but we are still haunted as a country by divisive attitudes and racial prejudices that have plagued us since our founding. Think about the message that’s being sent to black communities in America through the results of the Brown and Garner grand jury decisions. Justice has two faces in the U.S. One is white and one is black, and they are not equal.  

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