From the Kimani Gray killing in East Flatbush to the Accidental Racist song and the spoofs it inspired, from the Boston Marathon bombing to the 16 year old black girl who has been suspended from school and faces felony charges in Florida over a science experiment gone wrong, we have tried to talk about race in America, but we haven’t gotten very far.
The easiest way to understand what a long way we have to go is that 83% of whites believe that we are living in a post-racial society, whereas only 17% of blacks do. In other words 83% of blacks and whites are living in completely opposing racial realities – with the vast majority of whites denying the day-to-day experience of the vast majority of blacks. This isn’t that surprising when you consider that only 15% of whites have even one close friend of color. Of course, this enormous gap in lived experience is one of the key reasons that having a discussion about race tends to fail. One side – the side with the power – defines the terms and in doing so denies the existence and significance of the other side. Conversation over.