To the editor:
I am writing in response to a letter, “Hutchings paints Trump supporters as racist,” that appeared in the Nov. 19 Alexandria Times. My concern is that this letter frames racism as a personal failing. In truth, personal racist perceptions stem from broader systemic racism. Calling attention to and dismantling systemic white supremacist outcomes, such as excessive suspensions of students of color, should concern all of us.
It is systemic racism that pumps negative messages into our media and allows over-policing of Black Alexandrians with minimal public complaint – the data is on the APD website. These injustices persist because too few of us have learned to defy the expectations of our chronically racist society.
As Michelle Alexander says in “The New Jim Crow:” “The widespread and mistaken belief that racial animus is necessary for the creation and maintenance of racialized systems of social control is the most important reason that we, as a nation, have remained in deep denial.”
As explained by Robin DiAngelo in “White Fragility,” racism is not simply racial prejudice, it is “collective prejudice backed by the power of legal authority and institutional control.”
It is up to each of us educate ourselves. Until we do, systemic racism will stay firmly in place. It is our responsibility to act.
-Jonathan Krall, Alexandria