Today, the New York Times released a video where they talk to white people about why they’re uncomfortable discussing race. Check it out with a quick Google search.
I thought that video was odd myself. I mean, they said the topic makes them uncomfortable, but speaking for myself, it’s never made me uncomfortable. And it’s not just a white echo chamber, I’ve had the discussions with actual, real life black people before. But I think that’s all beside the point.
The real point in my educated-guess-of-a-musing, is that white people don’t talk about race not because it makes them uncomfortable, but because they don’t think it’s a problem today. I suspect that they see it as a caricature of the KKK or Dylan Roof or Paula Deen saying the n-word; things that are on the fringe or so obviously racist that it’s easy to be like, “Ooh, yes, that’s bad.”
When you talk to them about redlining, housing, education, the criminal justice system and policing and bring race into any of those topics as an explanation, then it’s suddenly defensive and, “Why are you bringing race into this? I don’t see race!” And that race just isn’t a problem in those areas anymore. It’s hard to get a conversation going about a problem many people don’t think or understand as a problem.
Colorblindness gets co-opted as the tolerant, progressive and enlightened position when it’s really just intellectually lazy and a cop-out.
Certainly since Ferguson last August, there have been great strides made in “having that conversation about race,” especially as applied to policing, but it’s not gone nearly far enough. Too many liberals think if we just make every police department get body cameras, that’ll solve it. Too many conservatives think if you just “obey the law,” then you’ll be fine; not realizing, of course, that if you’re black or brown, the law comes to you in many ways.