It’s been over half a century since the civil rights movement, and on the whole our country has grown more racially inclusive and less divisive, at least in comparison to where we started. But that doesn’t mean we are in a post-racial world by any means or that there isn’t still an enormous, daunting amount of work to do. Sadly, stories about racism are still commonplace, even stories as extreme as these:
Calling your neighbor‘s children racial slurs. Two neighbors in Spokane, Wash., have been feuding for years, but the rhetoric escalated when one neighbor put out a sign calling the other neighbor’s two half-Cambodian teens a racial slur. Jennifer Garrison, the teens’ mother, said that was one step too far. “I don’t care if they’re blue or purple, they’re kids. Leave them alone, that’s all I want,” she told the local news. The neighbor removed the sign and admitted she probably went too far only after being confronted by local reporters.
Bringing back the Jim Crow laws. A Tennessee cotton warehouse is being sued for discrimination after a supervisor told workers that he longed “for the old days when they could ‘hang’ black men who drank out of the wrong water fountain,” according to the Root. Allegedly, the comment was just one of many instances of racially toned harassment and attempts to segregate African American employees by keeping them away from drinking fountains and microwaves, which the employees caught on video.
Hanging the “President“ from a bridge. Obviously, hanging has a racial connotation all its own, which is why it is particularly disturbing when an effigy of the president of the United States is the object being hung. In Missouri, a mannequin with a President Obama mask was found hung from an overpass, but no one appears to have any idea who did it. Even more frightening? The effigy appeared to be wired with “an explosive devise.” So far the police are still looking for tips, and no suspects have been found.
Racism can obviously be overt, but it can be subtle, too, and often it takes a long time to prove its existence and impact over all. New studies have come out to show that sometimes racism is an automatic, deeply embedded situational response, and those issues need to be exposed just as much as overt name calling, discrimination and intimidation.
Americans prefer doing business with Caucasian sellers. According to Think Progress, a year long study into subtle racial preferences in the online marketplace showed that if body parts were visible in a product ad, people tended to choose to buy from a “white” person than a darker skin tone. “Black sellers got 13 percent fewer responses to their ads than white sellers overall. When they did get responses, they got 17 percent fewer offers. Then the offers were 2 to 4 percent lower, or $1.87 less on average than those made to white sellers. The best offers were also $3.56 lower than for white people.” Those transactions tended to be more respectful and trusting if they believed the seller was white as well.
Voter ID laws really are meant to stop minorities from voting. It’s been assumed that the real intent behind voter ID laws is to move the country backwards when it comes to voting rights for people of color. Now, a new study backs that up. Wonkblog reports that after sending out fake emails asking for more information about voter restrictions and confirming what ID was necessary to vote, voter ID backers were far less responsive if the email came from an Hispanic name than an Anglo sounding name. “[T]his new paper finds a solid link between legislator support for voter ID laws and bias toward Latino voters, as measured in their responses to constituent e-mails,” writes Christopher Ingraham.
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