Racism and a Day to be Seized

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This is not one of my indirect pieces, because it is a moment when directness is needed..

This morning, we printed a newswire about a few recent polls indicating that public perceptions on issues of racial injustice have shifted in a relatively significant way—especially as pertains to African Americans. In particular, a number of polls indicate the majority of people in this country now believe racial injustice should be addressed. The change in that opinion, as I mentioned is fairly significant.

How strong are those opinions? How susceptible will they be to counter-narratives? How much can we work with the traction of revised perceptions? These are questions we must answer eventually, but for now, we can thank the Black Lives Matter movement, whose members have been persistent in using every means of communication at hand to shine light on the spontaneous police violence–based manifestations of longstanding structural racism.

As is always the case, there are people who seek to stem this tide of public opinion. There are the “all lives matter” folk, hoping to erase distinctions and submerge themselves back into a mire of “color blindness,” and as those trying to convince the public that racism has gotten worse since Obama took office. But I have hope that the time for such stuff is past…that, much as has happened to public opinion on LGBT issues, something may qualitatively change if we work hard enough to keep racism surfaced as a corrosive factor in the United States.

Even while looking at the larger structures of society, this sector also needs to look within. I want to draw your attention to another newswire in our lineup this morning, which covers a study of ethnic diversity within museum staffs. The study found that people of color do dominate in some segments of those staffs: facilities management and security. The study is an excellent acknowledgement of one subsector’s part in a very big problem. Recent studies on environmental groupshave found similar dynamics.

Over the foreseeable future, NPQ will be attending to issues of racial injustice and how it affects or is affected by our work. We welcome your help in doing so.