Camara Jones’ article on institutionalized racism is wonderfully written. What really impresses me is the way she makes current scholarship on race accessible to the casual reader – or at least to the casual reader who makes it past the slightly academic opening.
Most people’s personal understanding of racism stops right around “intentional” and “personally mediated.” In other words, most people think that racism is located in individual behavior and requires conscious intent. Jones’ story does a nice job of showing how discrimination goes far beyond that – which is also what I’m trying to do. I’m hoping that by letting people experience the way individual choices create biased systems, people will have to think twice before limiting their ideas about racism to the personal and intentional.
Unfortunately, plenty of people will just dismiss an analogy, so I’m hoping that experiential learning will affect some of the ones who do!