We really do have work to do. This data [ voters more motivated by race than economic issues ]demonstrates that we are, in no way, living in a post-racial society. Yes, economic worries do heighten the fear of, and anger toward, others. Nonetheless, the proof is here. Our segregated society (as separate, across the nation as a whole as it was in the 50’s– schools, churches, housing) is not facilitating real integration of our worlds on the ground where we live. The media may sort of look like a multiracial society (if we ignore the ongoing apartheid in the Academy and elsewhere), but it’s not real in most of the country.
We discovered, when factories and other workplaces were forced to integrate in the ’60’s that actually working with people who are different from you slowly but powerfully changed the dynamics between people, at least on the shop floor. We simply can’t hold simplistic biased ideas about people when we actually get to know them and interact with them daily. But, out here in the post-manufacturing world, the biases of those who never really rubbed shoulders across race still reign supreme. From high-tech to the kindergarten classroom, our lifetime of separation allows old, ugly mindsets and fears to lead the way in hiring, promotion, development and investment. And it’s there in the differential discipline of four-year-olds.
So, take a deep breath and look at this data, then ask yourself, as I am– What can we do to collectively discover and enjoy the full extent of our human family? How can we actively tear down the walls of old but vigorous and deeply rooted prejudice that we have inherited? What am I going to do, today, to open my own mind, just a little more, to the truth of another’s race experience that I don’t see, and how will I allow it to change me?”