Sunday, September 11, 2005

Obama hits the nail on the head

About whether the response to the flood in New Orleans reflects racism, Obama had this to say, on the Senate floor:
I see no evidence of active malice, but I see a continuation of passive indifference on the part of our government.
Exactly. You'd be hard-pressed to find someone today who's a blatant racist, and that is a good thing. Still, that doesn't mean prejudice is gone. Instead, it is a systemic problem that is reinforced by policies and practices that have a racist outcome. Everything from education policy to drug sentencing laws seems to suggest this. This is why the debate over whether a decision or policy (such as the response after Hurricane Katrina) was intentionally racist or not seems to me a moot one: because the consequence of a decision laced with inherent prejudices will always have the same effect of reinforcing stereotypes.

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