The question has been asked, "why are we afraid to talk about race?" The short explanation is, bad things happen when you broch the racial topic as a white male.
For example, yesterday a journalist for the National Review named John Derbyshire was fired for writing a satire on The Talk that many black parents give their kids to help them navigate through racially difficult situations. Read the article for yourself, but the author was mirroring the same conversation black parents give their kids about white people by writing it from a white perspective. This is a clear example of one side being muzzled in the conversation about racism. The outrage and political ramifications that ensue when racially insensitive comments are made has silenced any dissent on the topic of racism. How can you have a conversation about race when dissent is not tolerated?
This is the reason why the racial debate is basically a giant echo chamber. White people don't generally touch this one with a 40-foot pole.
In this racial ballet, the good guys and bad guys have already been cast. Samuel L. Jackson says it best here.
This time black people have chosen the cowboys and its white people who are supposed to be the Indians. The problem is, who want's to be the Indians? So the play is simply not taking place.
Specifically, there are two reasons for why no one, especially white people, want to or will play the Indians.
In Terms of Black and White
As I stated, in the "Race Ballet" the blacks are the good guys and the whites are the bad guys. Only the bad guys aren't showing up the rehearsal, and why would they? Who wants to stand there and atone for their great-great-great-grandfather's sins?
There is a general sense that it is the time for the black man to benefit at the expense of the white man. This is the opposite of constructively moving forward. It perpetuates the bad blood in the feud. This thinking will only beget more racism and reverse all that we have accomplished.
Mike Norton of the Harvard business school conducted a study which found that most whites think that while bias against blacks was prevalent over a decade ago, they now feel that the issue has been resolved. In fact, whites now feel that the bias against whites has become a greater threat to perpetuating racism than bias against blacks.
White People Are Excluded From the Debate
Anyone who studies racial philosophy or researches it will tell you a main tenant is that the oppressive race (white people) are conditioned to be so racist that it is an irreversible disorder that has been ingrained in their very culture. How can this person be expected to make any argument that isn't racist? Even black people who speak out against the logic of racism are deemed as "Uncle Toms" (Clarence Thomas, Walter Williams, Colin Powell, and Thomas Sowell). Chad Ochocinco was even suspected of being a racist because he didn't have "enough" black girls on his reality dating show.
Also, the offending race (white people) is seen as "unqualified" to make any objective statements about how much racism is still left in the U.S. Since racism is ultimately a subjective experience it is not possible for white people to "feel their pain."
If you want to encourage a real talk about racism in America, you need to allow for dissent so it is a two-sided conversation and you need to eliminate the "black and white terms." We can start by calling all people "Americans." Lose the prefix.
Since neither of these things has happened, the conversation has not taken place.