With the election of Barack Obama to the presidency in 2008, many felt that American society had turned a corner and at long last we were consigning our ugly legacy of racism to the past. Recent events, from the wholesale killing of young black men by ever-militarized police, who act with impunity, to fascist rhetoric coming from presidential aspirants in this election cycle that demonizes minorities, can cause us to despair at the enduring character in American racism. Looking beyond the headlines, I want to ask, How can we understand why racism so stubbornly persists in our society? I want to look at some thoughts and theories of distinguished African-Americans in order to broaden our thinking.
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