The United States has a black president. Slavery has been over for decades. White people and people of color can use the same restrooms and drink from the same water fountains. There are more affluent black public figures than ever before in entertainment, media, business, science and other fields. Colleges have affirmative action policies. So, clearly, America is over racism, right?
Not quite. Those claiming we should be "post-race" cite the above facts as indicators that the country has changed. But it's not that simple. There's still so much to do before racial inclusion and equity becomes a reality. This video from Brave New Films points out how everyday actions like applying for jobs, buying a car and even the level of engagement from political representatives compare for blacks and whites.
If the video seems straight and to-the-point, there's a reason. These aren't mere exceptions to the rule or fictional experiences. These are examples of everyday racism at work.
Racism affects many people of color, but this video focuses on black Americans, stemming from generations of oppression that run back to the country's founding. Whether it's discrimination during job searches, racial profiling from law enforcement, mass incarceration or police brutality, each of these issues have disproportionately affected black people when compared with their white peers.
So while a 2014 study by MTV showed that 73% of young people believe that never considering race would improve society, 58% admitted to harboring their own biases at some point in their lives. Furthermore, half of respondents who were people of color said microaggressions, or subtle acts of racism, are harmful to them.
If this new video is any indication, there's more to be gained from directly addressing instances of racism instead of sweeping it under the rug. It might be tempting to think racism is over, but America is not over racism.