Sunday, 17 October 2010

Racism Won't Go Away Through Obsession

Jesse Jackson asks, in The Guardian:
How can enlightened societies have institutionalised policies of race profiling?
The question is asked because research shows that black people are more likely to be stopped and searched than white ones based on the number stopped as a proportion of the total population with that skin colour. This disparity has lead Jackson to conclude:
If just one individual was involved, then that would be a problem, but this enormous disparity shows it is institutionalised.
It seems to me that the answer to the question is two-fold. Firstly there is no real evidence of an institutionalised policy of stopping black people more than white. But more crucially the reason why racism doesn't go away in "enlightened" societies is because it isn't allowed to. Every single time you talk about racism or look for racism or demand that records about race are kept so that racism can be checked up on you are simply extending the lifetime of racism.

In any non-racist world it is obvious that no records will be kept discussing the colour of someone's skin. How will we ever get there by insisting that such records are always kept?

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