Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Why Race Still Matters and Divides America after Ferguson, MO

Everyday Sociology blogger and professor, Peter Kaufman, published an excellent post on the lingering effects (and invisibility) of race in America that unfolded after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. Race often intertwines with class, affecting the type of schools we attend, the neighborhoods we live, and the types of jobs we can obtain. The mass media further divides this country when people from different races living in the same community don't see eye-to-eye on the same issue, as several Pew Research reports discovered. It is a travesty that Americans want to ignore race and white privilege, yet race continues to be the most significant factor in determining who gets ahead educationally and financially in the United States. Check out this informative blog post:

Let’s be totally honest about the Michael Brown incident: it is all about race. When was the last time we read about an unarmed upper-class white male being killed by the police—much less by a Black police officer? How many predominantly white communities around the United States have a police force comprised predominantly of officers of color? And when unarmed white men or women are shot by the police, are there ever public opinion polls to even ascertain if race is significant?

To think that the case of Michael Brown (or Trayvon Martin, Ezell Ford, Oscar Grant, Anthony Dwain Lee, or any of the other unarmed Black males who were fatally shot) is not about race is to be oblivious and ignorant about the social, historical, and political landscape of the United States. Since its very beginning and continuing to the present day, our country has been shaped, scarred, and defined by race. This is a basic sociological premise. As a sociologist, I’m grappling with how so many people can lack this elementary understanding of the society in which we live.

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