Well, we aren't -and racism while it still exists is simply not the problem nor as wide spread as many of our politicians, political activists and prominent voices in minority communities would have us think. In fact, it is those very voices that contribute to the problem and keep racism alive -especially in the minority communities.
What's more, they know it and do it on purpose because it serves their purposes.
One very good example of this is the man whom President Obama chose to listen to while a member of his congregation in Chicago for many years, Reverend Wright. While in Washington one Sunday to preach, the reverend said a few things that make my point very well.
Wright said that America’s elite universities infect African-Americans with “white racist DNA.” “Take a baby born an African, as an African in the oven,” he said, using Malcolm X’s saying “just because a cat has kittens in the oven, that doesn’t make them biscuits” as a reference point for his riff. “Take that baby him or her away from the African mother, away from the African community, away from the African experience … and put them Africans at the breasts of Yale, Harvard, University of Chicago, those trinity schools, UCLA or U.C. Berkeley. Turn them into biscuits then they’ll get that alien DNA all up inside their brain and they will turn on their own people in defense of the ones who are keeping their own people under oppression.” “There is white racist DNA running through the synapses of their under-brain tissue,” he continued. ‘They will kill their own kind, defend the enemies of their kind or anyone who is perceived to be the enemy of the milky white way of life.”
Now I ask you, is that "hate speech" or what?
Why is he even allowed, let alone invited and encouraged, to preach that tripe? Because keeping racism alive and using it as a tool to frighten minority communities and justify the bad behavior of some of the people in those communities, serves political purposes. It is as simple as that. People listen to, and buy into, this nonsense not because it is true, but because they want to.
Ever since the civil rights movement gained momentum in the 60's, talk about how the "Lilly White" racists are oppressing the minority communities (especially the black and Hispanic communities) has fed the flames by scaring those communities into supporting those who benefit most by the rhetoric -people like Reverend Wright.
Was racism a major problem in this country? Yes it was and for most of the first 200 years of our existence. Were minorities suppressed and racist attitudes used to justify that suppression? Yes, no question about it. Does racism still exist and is it still a problem? Yes, but it has changed. Today there are far more radical racists in the minority communities than anywhere else and they are far more likely to act out than anybody else because of it. And it's not going to go away until the true nature of modern racism is recognized and the people taking advantage of it are scorned and forced into obscurity by their own communities.
Politicians who play 'the race card' must be called out on it, every time, until it becomes politically harmful for those politicians to use it.
We had made great strides in combating and suppressing racism in this country -but we have gone backwards. Not because the majority of people in all communities have suddenly become racist again -but because we have allowed those who keep it alive for their own selfish interests to keep it alive. Until racist rhetoric, such as Reverend Wright's sermon, are discouraged instead of encouraged, and people who make such statements are confronted and called out on it, it will continue to plague us as a nation.