Most everyone nowadays is quick to distance themselves from these terrible feelings. We bury them under the guise of tolerance and equality and friendship. But dig far enough and a sliver of unjustified racism is still there, stored away like a secret family heirloom that just needs a good polish.
Back in 2006, University of Connecticut professor Jack Dovidio told CNN he estimated that up to 80 percent of Americans harbored racist feelings, many not even able to identify that their ideas were prejudicial. Called implicit racism, this type of discrimination takes a much more subtle approach than the old-time, white-hooded variety. A 2012 Associated Press poll revealed 56 percent of those surveyed concealed such hidden anti-black sentiments. And the consequences of this type of racism still can have profound effects.
Even though not overt, discrimination can still be taught from an early age. A photo on the nightly news here. An oftentimes disproportionate crime statistic there. General banter at the dinner table about someone different. Defining a race as the other by saying “those” people.
Pass the rolls, please.
Quite a few people want to say racism is a thing of the past. Equality, like our forefathers preached, belongs to all, and we as a society have met that mark. Of course, a couple of those same patriots owned slaves ripped from the shores of Africa, setting a precedent. We can say one thing and allow our actions to be another.
Like the good soldiers, some Americans carry on that thought process to a much smaller degree. Discussions of racism headline the news. Coverage of the Paula Deen controversy and the Trayvon Martin case are testament to that. That’s a start, I suppose.
America talks a good talk, but when it comes down to it, extreme socioeconomic differences still exist between races.