Spend a few minutes every day updating yourself on current events and you may find it hard to believe that we’re living in 2012.
Of course there have always been, and will probably always be, isolated incidents of blatant racism. There has been hate in this world since the dawn of man, and hateful people will likely always find a way to drum up some difference that they find distasteful. It’s also troubling to see the police and judicial system seem to exhibit prejudice in applying laws and the extent to which they protect us, but no system is perfect and there will probably always be flaws in American justice.
But when I think about how much progress black America has supposedly made in how this country treats and perceives us, and then look at Trayvon Martin’s murder and how it’s been covered, then at Rekia Boyd‘s senseless death, then at the stream of vile insults hurled at “Awkward Black Girl” creator Issa Rae by anonymous racists, then at all of the hatred that has popped out of the woodwork during Obama’s presidency, I have to wonder: have we made as much progress with social and and institutionalized racism as I’ve always believed?
Black Americans have only been allowed to eat at any lunch counter we want and attend desegregated school for a little over fifty years, and change comes slowly. Yet recognizing that attitudes are slow to change is little comfort in a world where your life and rights seem secondary to those of others. Those who seek to deny us those rights may have become more crafty or even internet anonymous while doing so, but I’m not confident that the racism behind all of it has significantly decreased since the Civil Rights movement. Did you imagine that we’d still be dealing with people calling us “nigger” in the twenty-first century, or with police forces that don’t value our lives? Are you surprised?