I love July 4. But what is “independence,” if full freedom still doesn't exist for everyone in this country?
By Edward Wyckoff Williams
Recently, liberals and conservatives alike were outraged by the revelation that the National Security Agency, under the auspices of the Patriot Act, were collecting phone records and data on millions of citizens. The thought of the government recording their intimate calls outraged their sensibilities and sparked a national debate. Likewise, following an outcry from angry travelers, changes have been introduced to curb post-9/11 Transportation Security Administration practices that allow airport security to aggressively search, screen and frisk flight passengers.
This is what one may call “white people problems.”
For, you see, young black boys and black men in the Bronx and Brooklyn are stopped and frisked by police while walking to McDonald’s. They are criminalized and stigmatized—seen as suspicious and treated without respect. This culture is so deeply embedded that both police and citizens alike regard Skittles as a deadly weapon when held in a black boy’s hand.
The author identifies four central frames at the core of colorblind racism: 1) abstract liberalism, 2) naturalization, 3) cultural racism and 4) minimization of racism.
In the Age of Obama, each has become more prevalent in America’s sociopolitical debates.
“Abstract liberalism” reflects the libertarian philosophy that social policy should not be engineered to achieve equal outcomes. “Naturalization” follows by allowing whites to justify inequitable outcomes as being the result of natural occurrences. “Cultural racism” uses loosely based facts and social phenomena to dismiss racial disparities. (e.g., “Mexicans do not put much emphasis on education” or “Blacks have too many babies”). “Minimization of racism” suggests discrimination is no longer a major problem by emphasizing the progress made. (The minimization theory can most recently be seen in the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision invalidating Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, in which Chief Justice Roberts admitted that though racism still exists in the South, the very safeguards that achieved progress were no longer necessary.)