To the Editor:
In response to “Black Lives Matter Letter Ironically Tinted With Racism” which appeared in the May 24-30 issue of North Country This Week: Assuming the query, re: "specific instances of remaining structural [and] institutional racism" is not merely a rhetorical pose but motivated by a genuine desire to be more informed, I suggest three recently published books.
They are written by leading scholars in the field and provide broad and exceedingly well-documented empirical evidence for racial discrimination in the US today: Michelle Alexander's "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness;" Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor's "From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation;" and Angela Davis' "Freedom is a Constant Struggle." In addition, take a look at Manning Marable's classic "How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America."
These books will help you understand how and why "affirmative action" policies, -- however well-intentioned, -- have been little more than a drop in the bucket. Obama's election, while doubtlessly of great symbolic significance, has not fundamentally altered the balance of power in this country, where African-Americans are still racially profiled, incarcerated in record numbers, and given excessive sentences.
Most Americans (regardless of their racial/ethnic backgrounds) have little to no influence over the structures and institutions of their country, which are firmly in the hands of a predatory and exploitative ruling class.
The aforementioned structural and institutional racism has been a key strategy on the part of this ruling class to keep the majority of working Americans divided along racial lines and to perpetuate their own power.
Yet there is also a long and proud history of ordinary citizens who have challenged this ruling class and fought for racial equality, solidarity, and social justice.