“However, many of us who walk around every day in black and brown bodies know full well—from personal experience and from warnings handed down by generations about how non-white people need to act in public to survive—that our country is not post-racial and won’t be for a really long time, if ever. We know that colorblindness is a dangerous myth, one that lulls some white people (and some people of color) into thinking that if we ignore race and focus on character, then everything will self-correct. “

WHAT MATTERS

Activists demand justice for Michael BrownIt is a matter of color. Photo credit: Reuters/Adrees Latif

As outrage over the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri further develops—around police brutality, First Amendment rights, and memories of a Civil Rights-era America—one primary criticism is that this isn’t a race issue. Some people believe that Michael Brown wasn’t killed by officer Darren Wilson because he was black and that the militarized police actions toward the predominant African American community didn’t happen because the police force is almost all white.

Rather, some people say that the issues at play are class and poverty, or police brutality more generally. They don’t see race as the epicenter of the killing and subsequent fallout because we don’t yet know all the facts. They seem to believe we live in a post-racial society now that we’ve enthusiastically elected a black president (twice!), most overt racism is banned by law, and the police are supposed to…

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