U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told graduates during a commencement address at Morgan State University that subtle, everyday racism within the criminal justice system especially, is far more harmful than racist outbursts.

He used examples such as those by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy. He referred to the remarks made by the men as “occasional, jarring reminders of discrimination–and the isolated, repugnant, racist views–that in some places have yet to be overcome,” but are only a chip of the actual problem. 

From Washington Post:

“These outbursts of bigotry, while deplorable, are not the true markers of the struggle that still must be waged, or the work that still needs to be done—because the greatest threats do not announce themselves in screaming headlines,” he continued. “They are more subtle. They cut deeper. And their terrible impact endures long after the headlines have faded and obvious, ignorant expressions of hatred have been marginalized.”

Read more at Washington Post

Holder also touched on the affects of structural racism on black men and women, particularly within the criminal justice system. “For instance, in our criminal justice system, systemic and unwarranted racial disparities remain disturbingly common,” he said. “One study released last year by the U.S. Sentencing Commission indicated that—in recent years—African-American men have received sentences that are nearly 20 percent longer than those imposed on white males convicted of similar crimes. Another report showed that American Indians are often sentenced even more harshly. The Justice Department is examining these and other disparities as we speak – and taking a variety of steps to ensure fair sentences that match the conduct at issue in individual cases.”

Thoughts on Holder’s remarks?

Are we placing too much attention on comments made by racist white men?

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