I’m glad that more conversation is happening about race issues. I believe our ethnic differences can be a source of enrichment rather than tension and conflict. It may feel like structural racism doesn’t exist if you haven’t personally experienced the pain it inflicts and aren’t aware of the “privileges” it confers to white people.
(In a recent column Matt) Rowe argued that police don’t systematically target Black men. A Stanford study of 93 million traffic stops showed Black drivers are 20 percent more likely to get pulled over than white drivers, despite being a much smaller percentage of the population, and Black drivers are more frequently searched than white drivers.
Moreover, until the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Black people were ‘legally’ denied voting rights. There were no Blacks, and few other people of color or women, in the U.S. Senate in 1965. Consider all the legislating that’s taken place without diverse perspectives to help shape policy. Of the current 100 U.S. Senators, 25 are women, three are Black, four are Hispanic, three are Asian, 75 are men and 91 are white. The current net wealth of the average white family is 10 times higher than that of the average black family, and the wage gap is real. These disparities have impacts that begin in childhood, affect all ages and pass from generation to generation. The legacy of Jim Crow and redlining continues to disadvantage “nonwhite” populations today.
Racist ideas and policies are reflected in unequal access to safe housing, higher education, health care, nutritious food, financial credit, career advancement, political office and mobility. The playing field is not level by any objective measure. For American society to fulfill its promise of liberty and justice for all, we each need to be honest with ourselves and think and act in ways that support equal treatment and opportunity. It’s time we wake up, get in action and start creating positive change.
Anne Altor, Carmel