Even though It's only been a few days since the grand jury in Ferguson, Mo., decided not to charge police officer Darren Wilson with any crimes connected to his shooting of black 18-year-old Michael Brown on August 9, racism has become a hot topic for columnists and commentators.
One extensive discussion on the subject was “The New Threat: Racism Without Racists,” which was written by John Blake, a blogger for the Cable News Network who quoted Duke University social expert Eduardo Bonilla-Silva on Friday as stating: “The main problem nowadays is not the folks with the hoods, but the folks dressed in suits.”
"The more we assume that the problem of racism is limited to the [Ku Klux] Klan, the birthers, the Tea Party or the Republican Party, the less we understand that racial domination is a collective process and we are all in this game,” the blogger continued.
Using the "white privilege" concept that has been bandied about recently, Blake has essentially decided that all whites are so racist in their thoughts that they don't even know they are prejudiced and therefore aren't like “traditional racists” who act out on their hate in the ways we all imagine they do.
The CNN columnist asserted that a new conversation on race can begin by reflecting on three phrases that often crop up when whites and racial minorities talk about race.
First up is “I don't see color,” a phrase “some white people invoke” about the situation in Ferguson. “Let the legal system handle the decision without race-baiting,” Blake quotes these people as stating. “Justice should be colorblind.”
“Science has bad news, though, for anyone who claims to not see race: They're deluding themselves, say several bias experts,” the columnist noted. “A body of scientific research over the past 50 years shows that people notice not only race but gender, wealth, even weight.”
Other studies confirm the power of racial bias, says Howard J. Ross, author of the book Everyday Bias, who noted:
One study conducted by a Brigham Young University economics professor showed that white NBA referees call more fouls on black players, and black referees call more fouls on white players.
Human beings are consistently, routinely and profoundly biased. This is one of the most insidious things about bias. People may absorb these things without knowing them.
“When babies are as young as three months old,” Ross continued, “research shows that they start preferring to be around people of their own race.”
“But I have black friends” is the second sentence Blake believes contributes to racial problems in the nation today.
“When some whites talk about racism, they think it's only personal -- what one person says or does to another,” the author stated. “But many minorities and people who study race say racism can be impersonal, calculating, devoid of malice.”
Therefore, people need to understand that “racism is a system of advantage based on race," according to Doreen Loury, director of the Pan African Studies program at Arcadia University -- near Philadelphia -- who says racism "permeates every facet of our societal pores."
"The new racism, like God, works in mysterious ways and is quite effective in maintaining white privilege," Bonilla-Silva indicated. "For example, instead of saying that they do not want [minorities] as neighbors, they say things nowadays such as 'I am concerned about crime, property values and schools.'”
The third sentence to be dealt with is: “Who are you calling a racist?”
“People refuse to admit their biases, research has consistently shown,” Blake declared, while Ross asserted: “The smarter we are, the more self-confident we are, and the more successful we are, the less likely we're going to question our own thinking.”
“The courts may ignore colorblind racism, but ordinary people ought to be aware of it when they talk about racism,” Ross said before adding that “being biased doesn't make people bad, just human.”
“Part of being careful is expanding our definition of racism,” Bonilla-Silva stated. "Colorblind racism is the new racial music most people dance to. The 'new racism' is subtle, institutionalized and seemingly nonracial."
“How long before another Ferguson erupts is anyone's guess,” Blake stated, but "before people look at videotapes, read police reports and listen to radio talk shows to form their opinions, they should do something else first: Look within themselves."
Warner Todd Huston of Breitbart.com summarized Blake's lengthy missive by stating: “In this line of thinking, then, everything whites do is based on a racist perception” even though people of other races and creeds are apparently mostly exempt from that concept.