Monday, June 24, 2013

Racist Justice System Becoming a Topic for Mainstream Discussion

It's encouraging to see Newsweek's investment in a long and deeply reported piece on how our society treats black men. It's worth your time. It is appropriately passionate and hopeful in its tone. This is a good example of why affirmative action is right. Read about the pervasiveness of these injustices against black men set in their historical context, and then try to tell me that affirmative action is some kind of great wrong against whites. It is absurd, and that's why campaigning against it is so offensive. It's not that you have to agree with it. It's just that if you're going to try to make something better, why not try to work on something that is actually causing human suffering?

So I should make clear, after my strongly worded post below, that I don't mind at all when people take a long look at it and say, "No, I don't support affirmative action. Here's what I think we should do..." That really doesn't bother me. The problem is that affirmative action is viscerally upsetting to many whites. That is nearly always proof positive of their racism. You don't get upset about something like affirmative action unless you devalue black life. You just don't. These are people who can't be bothered about our mass incarceration policies, but giving a black kid a leg up is offensive to them.

The author quotes Ta-Nehisi Coates, who has a way of getting to the root of things:
“If there’s one thing that’s missing in our country, it’s an acknowledgment of the broad humanity of black folks. Racism—and anti-black racism in particular—is the belief that there’s something wrong with black people … and I mean something in our bones.” He continued, “In our own community, we’ve internalized this. We wonder if we lack moral courage.”
“I want the country to understand that there’s nothing wrong with us,” Coates says, with urgency in his voice. “Things have happened in this country, but there’s nothing wrong with us. My job is to help close the gap between what they see in us and who we actually are.”

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