Op-Ed Columnist – In Defense of White Americans – NYTimes.com
When Obama cited her in his speech on race last spring, the right immediately accused him of “throwing his grandmother under the bus.” But Obama’s critics were merely projecting their own racial hang-ups. He still loves his grandmother. He was merely speaking candidly and generously — like an adult — about the strange, complex and ever-changing racial dynamics of America. He hit a chord because many of us have had white relatives of our own like his, and we, too, see them in full and often love them anyway.
Many of my white, educated friends (just the people supposedly immune to racial stereotyping or prejudice) openly acknowledge our shock at the amount of subtle racist thinking that shows up in tests like the implicit racial bias test. Unions, pop culture (Eminem anyone? Or Hootie and the Blowfish?), sports teams, public school, and, of course, the original integrator, the US military have done a lot to create millions of moments for people to know each other as individuals and forge some sense of solidarity. My point is that racial bias, in its subtle form, extends everywhere (ask Hispanics or Koreans about Blacks, for example, or vice verse) and that social fact CAN and DOES exist in quirky disharmony with the human capacity to interact and relate across a myriad divides and misunderstandings.
Racism in the face of the yawning maw of economic collapse is a luxury only zealous ideologues can afford. And most Americans are pretty pragmatic.