I completely agree with the first section, up until “ Racist Ideologies Are Harmful to All”.
Then we start to diverge a bit.
The US is a moderately racist society by world standards. Our racism is rarely, nowadays, conscious and overt. There are extremely racist nations, developed nations at that, which are much more overt than we are.
For example, the racist ideology that black men are dangerous creates a situation where most people in the United States are not up in arms about mass incarceration of black men.
Hm. Obviously, black men aren’t any more inherently dangerous than white men or asian men. However, negative socialization makes the former group more likely to commit crimes, and positive socialization makes the latter group less likely to commit crimes. So, what the author calls a “racist ideology” could just as well be viewed as a realistic assessment of facts on the ground at a given moment in time.
It is true that a white woman in the same situation as Jonathan Ferrell would almost certainly not have been shot at by the police. Is that white privilege? Perhaps.
I appreciate the author providing the relevant detail that Ferrell was (a) young and (b) an athlete in a sport where the average player is substantially larger than the average citizen, and substantially faster afoot. A Google search shows that Ferrell played safety, which is not a position where individuals are extremely large, but he probably was fit and fast. All are variables in determining if this was a racially-related incident or not.
Personally, I think the US police tend to be too quick with their triggers, generally speaking. But I digress. She also writes, with which I quite agree, regardless of my quibble with the DEPTH of these ideologies:
These deeply rooted ideologies are not going to disappear because I declare myself an ally or come to terms with my white privilege. It is going to take a lot more than that.
Racism is also a set of practices that ensures white dominance. For example, in Washington, DC, black men are eight times more likely than white men to be arrested for marijuana offences, even though blacks and whites use marijuana at similar rates.
I completely agree that sentencing is racially out of wack. One problem I have been working on professionally with a particular state is this: each judge has no idea what type of sentences other judges are giving out for a given crime, and they have no idea if there are demographic disparities.
I am optimistic that better data availability will start to address this problem. I base that on firsthand knowledge of how shocked judges are (and how disappointed they are in themselves) when they find out that their sentences reflect racial disparity.
It is outrageous that millions of people are in prison because of marijuana offences. Many Americans, nevertheless, accept mass incarceration because of deeply embedded racist ideologies. Mass incarceration of minor drug offenders, however, is devastating to our society.
Hmmmm. I can’t agree that this matter is racist-based. Keep in mind that if you’re over 50, you were raised with the belief that weed was a “gateway drug” to more egregious levels of drug abuse. I doubt if most Americans are even aware that strict weed laws affect one racial group over another.
And, you can fight against racism by working to change the racist ideologies and racist practices that are omnipresent in our society.
Well, let’s drive that through the educational system and the employers. They can move mountains in this regard. “One person at a time” will take centuries.