By Joe Pettit, SHECP Council Member. Dr. Pettit is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Morgan State University in Baltimore.
11 Easy Mistakes to Make When Thinking About Racial Inequality in the U.S.
A movement for greater understanding around racial bias and racial injustice is moving across our country. The success of this movement will require lots of hard work and very clear thinking. The following are 11 easy but serious mistakes well-intentioned people may make when thinking and talking about racial justice.
Here are some things to know:
1. Don’t assume racial inequality is normal.
This shouldn’t be an easy mistake, but it is one of the most common and most consequential mistakes when thinking about racial inequality. The largely absent social and political urgency over racial injustices makes it clear that many have concluded deep and persistent racial inequality is normal, unsurprising, and not a social emergency.
Yet, how can one see racial injustice if racial inequalities are “supposed” to be as they are? How can our children believe us when we say skin color is irrelevant to one’s abilities if we accept as normal the racial inequality present in all areas of modern life, and teach them to do the same? How can black people as a group not be stigmatized if massive inequality is the expected reality?