America's Racist Past Is Not Dead and Gone


At, Francie Latour responds with expert commentary, statistics and personal anecdotes to this recent headline: "Stain of Racism Is Finally Fading in America."

We've been breathlessly forecasting the arrival of a post-racial society going on four years. Now, according to Jacoby, it's Jubilee time. "America's racist past is dead and gone," he proclaimed, and as I read on all I could think is, this is gonna be some funeral.

In a 2009 column, Jacoby wrote about the enduring hatred of anti-Semitism, calling it a mutable and unyielding virus that morphs over time, but never dies. Thank God for black people white racism doesn't work that way. And apparently, we literally do have God to thank: To hear Jacoby tell it, the recent election of the Rev. Fred Luter Jr., a black New Orleans pastor, to lead the historically racist Southern Baptist Convention isn't merely a milestone in a long and often tortured American story lived in black and white. Luter's rise is actually proof positive that this thing we call racism — our original sin, the fire and water of this country's baptism — is once and for all in our rear view.

"But for most Americans, what could be more unexceptional than the disappearance of racism as a significant bar to black achievement?" Jacoby opined. " … [R]acism has ceased to be a significant force in our politics, as it has ceased to be a significant force in American life generally. Racist comments can occasionally be heard, of course — "

Occasional comments? That's it, that's all that's left? I was so giddy I shut my laptop and immediately ran to the window. Oddly, despite the demise of racism as we know it, everything looked the same.


Read Francie Latour's entire piece at

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