Racism in America (and on this site)

MalcolmX posterRacism is alive and well in America. But for white people it is mostly hiding in plain site. We (whites) choose not to look for it, and so find nothing. But should we happen to become conscious of the degree to which racism surrounds us, we will begin to see it everywhere. It is unsettling and disturbing, and once it is seen,  cannot be unseen. It is troubling, as it should be, but don’t turn away. Non-whites live with it every day. Do your work; research the terminology, the history, the important characters.  Your life will be enriched by your increased awareness – even if it doesn’t make you happier.

Non-whites come to understand that racism and bigotry are not the same. A bigot is intolerant toward a certain person or group holding different opinions – anyone can be a bigot. But racism is bigotry that is fundamentally supported and perpetrated by power – not everyone is part of that group. Whites are in control at every level of American society – we hold the power. And insofar as we express bigotry toward people of color and/or ignore parts of our system that support discrimination, we participate in racism. Since those who benefit most from the system bear the greatest responsibility for making sure that it is just and fair, ignoring racism is not an acceptable option.

In a society that was colonized by whites for whites, the economy, healthcare, education and politics have all been stacked in a way that favors white people. Non-whites are usually stuck on the outside waiting to be let in. And some are let in, but always conditionally.

Overt racism in the U.S. was legally banned in stages between 1954 and 1968:

  • 1954 – Supreme Court unanimously outlaws segregation in public schools (Brown v. Board of Education),
  • 1957 – Civil Rights Act of 1957 aims to increase black voter turnout by making it a crime to obstruct voter registration,
  • 1964 – Civil Rights Bill of 1964 bans segregation in the workplace and public accommodations,
  • 1968 – Civil Rights Bill bans discrimination in housing

Non-whites experienced some gains in rights and opportunities following these milestones. But rather than disappear, racist practices simply became more covert, enabling racism to continue to pervade every corner of our culture. Racism is a fundamental part of American society. Peeling back the layers of the onion will reveal that it is a root contributor to almost every major social issue in America including: abortion rights, poverty, gun control, healthcare, immigration, unemployment, housing, campaign reform, voting rights, crime and mass incarceration, foreign policy and homeland security, trade, energy and oil and the environment.

I encourage you to study this site to better understand how racism runs through our lives. It obviously harms people of color. But it also is destructive to white lives in ways that are much less visible – but just as insidious. We all stand to lose something important under systemic racism.

The goal of this site is to reveal these truths. In the process, we should seek to support our claims with evidence and citations. Comments will be curated, but we encourage you to challenge assertions with your own fact-finding efforts. Criticism and constructive anger will be honored, slander and degrading comments will not.

We welcome your participation – and encourage you in your journey toward greater and deeper understanding.

I'm a white guy living in SE Portland - recently migrated from the music industry to web development and political activism. I love my neighborhood, hanging with my grandson and cooking with my sweetie - then trouncing her at board games.

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