Seeing bias but supporting architect of bias

Systemic Disorder, 24.01.2013

The wealth and power gained by Europe during the ascendancy of capitalism was built on slavery. Capitalism continues to be based on massive inequalities, which requires strong social divisions in order to be maintained. Divide-and-conquer is an old technique.

Half a century has passed since Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, a passage of time symbolized by a Black man sworn in as president on a holiday celebrating Dr. King’s birthday. Yet it would be naïve to suggest that racism is now something in our past; that Dr. King’s hope that people would be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin has become everyday reality.

Racism is so woven into the fabric of society that it is sadly comprehensible that two generations of civil rights struggle has not eradicated it. The contradictions that swirl around a subject that is still uncomfortable for most to discuss were captured in a New York Times survey published last week. The survey asked a series of questions related to the “stop and frisk” tactic used by the New York City Police Department in which police officers routinely stop young people on the street and search them.

That majorities could simultaneously acknowledge racial bias and support the police chief responsible for a practice that most exemplifies that bias demonstrates that regressive attitudes like racism retain a strong social hold.

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