We treat racism like it’s going extinct. It’s not.

BY Brittney Cooper  March 23, 2015 at 2:02 PM EDT

Protestors block the road in Washington, D.C. during a protest after two grand juries decided against indicting police officers involved in the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. and Eric Garner in New York.  Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The shock and surprise from white Americans about these continued incidents baffle me. These clear racist and racially-tinged occurrences happen with a kind of quotidian regularity. The question is why we think the problem of racism is an evolutionary problem rather than an ideological one. We treat racism as though it is the contained characteristic of a specific species of human beings known as racists, that lived in a prior era of American history, but have now nearly become extinct. We keep missing that racism is ideological and institutional, rather than merely individual.


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