The Associated Press is announcing that racial attitudes have not improved in the last four years. Additionally, Ron Rosenbaum wrote in Slate Magazine earlier this month that the Republican Party is racist. He says this is the sort of data that routinely goes unreported.
Then on Saturday, The New York Times Sunday Review opined that because we don't count prisoners when we look at dropout and unemployment rates, we are overstating the progress African-Americans are making in socio-economic status.
It is discouraging reading.
Racism is different than prejudice. It is a societal structure that gives benefits to one group and denies them to the other. It is the sort of victory that includes keeping one's foot on the other's neck. It's ugly. It's a sin.
Of course, my mind is on the coming election. I would suspect President Barack Obama's blackness is offset by Gov. Mitt Romney's Mormonism. That they are our nominees speaks well of our efforts to live out the vision of the Declaration of Independence.
Nonetheless, it is the institutional aspect of racism that endures and undermines our American dream. A small All Souls' Day practice might be to read these articles and meditate on our struggle to be good.