There is an awful lot of racism in this country and this state. There are terrible examples, such as the events in Charlottesville in 2017, where racism contributed to the killing of a protester, and the prior church shootings in Charleston, where nine black worshippers were murdered based on race.

There are police shootings of unarmed black men and racial disparities in hiring and distribution of all sorts of goods. The lifespan of black Americans is about five years shorter than white Americans.

There are many more examples that involve less terrible consequences, like the recent posting of a Red Barn employee that used the N-word (“Red Barn employee taken off work schedule after racist remark on social media,” Feb. 23), or  when Maine’s now former governor racially profiled drug dealers.

What we hear after many of these events is that the individual who committed the action is “not a racist” — that he or she is a good person who made a mistake. This approach serves to deny the pervasive cultural racism that continues to exist. It is impossible to grow up in a culture where racism is pervasive and not take on racist tendencies, perceptions and assumptions. I’d recommend the online Implicit Association Test for race for anyone who doubts this.

Let’s stop denying the obvious and take responsibility for the culture of racism that we all support and condone, consciously or unconsciously. The first step in healing is admitting that we have a problem.

 

Gregory Fahy
Hallowell


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