Most of us like to think that a person who is sensitive to racial issues—who believes firmly that all races should be treated equally—is a person who is not under the sway of racism. In other words, someone who is against racism is (by definition) not racist.
Unfortunately, this often isn’t true. Our consciously held beliefs don’t always agree with our long-held mental and behavioral patterns. As a result of our country’s history, our society, culture, media, and power structures continuously feed us subtle (and not sometimes not so subtle) racist messages. From systematic discrimination within police and legal systems, to biased portrayal of Blacks in the media, to the tacit implication when someone avoids a Black person by crossing to the other side of the street, negative stereotypes of Black people are constantly being reinforced, even as many work to change them. Read more!