RACISM WITHOUT RACISTS

by Will Fuller Kairos-Milwaukie UCC
racism

Racism is a blight on the human conscience. The idea that any people can be inferior to another, to the point where those who consider themselves superior define and treat the rest as subhuman, denies the humanity even of those who elevate themselves to the status of gods. – Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013

There is a strange kind of enigma associated with the problem of racism.  No one, or almost no one, wishes to see themselves as racist; still, racism persists, real and tenacious.  – Albert Memmi, Racism

Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, in an essay on Racism Without Racists, calls this enigma “color-blind racism.”  Unlike old Jim Crow, “contemporary racial inequality is reproduced through ‘new racism’ practices that are subtle, institutional, and apparently nonracial.”  This new racism is largely invisible to those of us who are seen as white.  We may sincerely oppose racism and yet support it by blindly doing the wrong thing or failing to do the right thing.  In short, we don’t have to be racists to foster racism.