Institutional Racism Is Thriving

June 22nd, 2015 | Categories: Uncategorized

The tragic shootings at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston are horrific. Truly, there are no words and no excuses that can bring sense to this senseless hate crime. Instead of providing insights when there are none I can offer, I have left it to a friend of the family and author to speak what so many of us are thinking but don’t have the words to say or may  not feel comfortable saying. Recently, he posted this on his Facebook page.

Lilly-white power rags like the Wall Street Journal can run their vampire mouths dry over how “institutional racism doesn’t exist.” But if an individual harbors racist beliefs or sentiments, the institution they represent IS racist, and will conduct itself in a racist manner. There are degrees of this, of course, from misguided race-based fear to ignorant prejudice to full-fledged white supremacy.

But as Jon Stewart pointed out so powerfully last night, African Americans in South Carolina STILL walk to work under the Confederate flag. They STILL drive cars on roads named for rebel generals. If these are totems the state’s majority white population believes in enough to let stand, those sentiments — be it a “appreciation of heritage” (bullshit) or something far more blunt and sinister — WILL affect how an adherent conducts themselves within the context of their institution.

This was an act of racially motivated terrorism. Period. That we’re so quick to chalk it up to the unhinged bloodthirst of some mentally ill, Apartheid-fetishizing lone wolf doesn’t make it only so. If anything, it proves how quick we all still are to avoid the dirty, ever-divisive truth: In a country where the individual is believed to be the holiest institution, institutional racism is not only alive; it’s thriving.

To view what Jon Stewart said about the Charlston shooting visit The Guardian.

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