All I want for the new year is the banishment of “post-racial” anything from all social and political discourse. From its first utterance in 2008 to herald the rise of Barack Obama, the concept was misguided and delusional. That giddy moment when Obama won the bitterly fought South Carolina primary and the audience chanted “Race doesn’t matter” is but a distant memory. News, polls and studies that emerged in the last half of 2014 made it painfully plain that race still matters.
The fatal police interactions with unarmed African American men, particularly with Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in New York City, sparked a national debate about law enforcement and race. The failure to indict the officers in those two cases spurred a national conversation on race and the equal application of justice. But let’s move past these two flashpoints, which play into what my Post colleague Eugene Robinson correctly calls our “spasmodic pattern” of dealing with race.
Evidence that race matters is all around us, quite literally. The folks at Vox earlier this month reminded us of a Southern Poverty Law Center list of the number of active Ku Klux Klan chapters in the United States. NewsOne turned that information into an interactive map. The racist and anti-Semitic hate group that fancies white sheets, cross burnings and has a history of other assorted acts of violence is active in 41 out of 50 states.