Here’s a powerful–and painful–review of the true costs of racism. This summary begins with an examination of a recent study showing that Americans’ reluctance to support public welfare programs is attributable in large part to a view among white people that such programs mostly benefit nonwhite people. Other studies show these attitudes infecting the nonprofit community, with white churches reducing their involvement in charitable outreach as nonwhites increase their representation in the churches’ neighborhoods.
But, as Senator Obama made clear in his speech, racism isn’t static (thank God); and, as the researchers found, racism isn’t everything: they attribute half of Europe’s consistent support for public welfare programs to the existence of strong Social Democratic political parties, supported by labor and small farmers. (You know: kind of like American Democrats, only with backbone.)
The research is a salutary reminder–necessary after years of relentless neo-con rhetoric about how the government is the problem and the private sector the solution–that the only way to make sure everyone gets taken care of is to use the mechanism that belongs to everyone. Not to mention that anytime we’re NOT using that mechanism to make sure everyone gets taken care of, some profiteer will be using it to make sure HE gets taken care of.