This deal with race is not easily solved. Simply declaring that people are equal does not make us all so. At best there are wounds and scars that will not heal because they have been opened again and again; at worst there remain institutions and attitudes that continue to reify racism. The idea that skin colour and cultural identification makes people worth different things will not die, in part because we will not face it fully and with a view to healing it.
On the Huffington Post, one commentator, a Sikh himself, writes about the nuances of racism, showing how it’s not simply black vs white. I recommend the read, which I discovered via Craig Smith’s facebook status. Something to think about.
From the Huffington Post:
Racism is messy. While some want to characterize everything as black and white, others, as I mentioned previously, mystify the brutal realities of white supremacy through post-racial rhetoric. This is even more dangerous. In post-racial America, we easily come to the conclusion that if Zimmerman is Latino, then this case has nothing to do with racism. Perhaps this is why many progressive activists and commentators have characterized Zimmerman as a white man. Because it’s easier. It seems more simple. The general public will more readily see the injustice of anti-black racism in the killing of Trayvon Martin if George Zimmerman is white. But it’s not the reality of the situation. Racism has infected all of us, not just white folks.
To really understand racism in the United States, we have to understand power. Racism is not just about attitudes; it is a system of oppression. What this means is that white people receive unearned privileges and advantaged simply because of the color of skin, while people of color are systematically disadvantaged and marginalized. That does not make the experiences of all people of color alike, nor does it mean that people of color cannot perpetuate racism, as in the case of George Zimmerman. In fact, we are often rewarded for doing so.
–Sonny Singh, Zimmerman’s Racial Realities, Beyond Black and White