Jimmy Carter's Difficult Truth

The dismissive response from both Republicans and Democrats to the former president's comments on race shows why we need more, not less, discussion about the issue in America.

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But somehow, even as we celebrate and acknowledge the ongoing influence of some historical influences on our contemporary experiences and values, we insist that our country’s fairly recent history of blatant and extreme racism has no ongoing significance for how some are responding to our president. We have produced a society in which we readily acknowledge that racism exists, and yet we will never own up to any specific manifestations of it.

Perhaps most disturbingly, other whites will observe the treatment meted out to our former President and become even more reluctant to publicly acknowledge the ongoing existence of racism in our society.


Sherrilyn A. Ifill is a regular contributor to The Root.