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November 3, 2005

Interview: Modern Racism

"I don't think racism is a problem anymore," says Bob Wishart. Bob thinks that what people call racism today is actually part of a bigger issue that is, "more the nature of difference, whether it be religious, cultural, or racial.

There has been much progress in the war against racism. The racism of old, where minorities were disallowed access to restrooms and restaurants, is far behind us. Bob doesn't think racism is completely gone, but he flinches when the subject is brought up, saying, "Racism is an issue, not a problem, that people use to gain the lime light." Besides the agenda of Civil Rights Activists though, is there merit to the idea that racism still exists?

Bob thinks that minorities are not treated fairly in the workplace and that, "stereotypes of IQ differences have been passed down for generations." Bob isn't condoning or justifying the effects of racism, just explaining their origin.

Colleges have argued the importance of racially balanced admissions, but are racial quotas a solution? Should the government be allowed to make such sanctions? Bob thinks that, "Anything the government mandates is taking away civil liberties." Bob is a Vietnam War veteran and so his perspective of government may be biased, though certainly still valid.

Bob's perspective is important because he has seen the fall of racism. Approaching 60, he remembers when the term "racism" was coined, and when the civil rights movement began. By him asserting that great strides have been made, to the extent that he thinks racism is obsolete, is comforting. He thinks that inequality exists between people because of differences and misunderstandings, which underscores out class discussion about classism vs. racism. I think that classism is a more daunting modern foe, and is based on the ignorance of people, which in turn spawns racism.

Bob sends a clear message that the largest steps towards equality have already been made, and other issues are more pressing.

Posted by DavidDenninger at November 3, 2005 10:34 AM

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