In the U.S., race is present in every institution, every relationship, every individual. This is the case not only for the way our society is organized . . . but also for our perceptions and understandings of personal experience . . . we are compelled to think racially, to use the racial categories and meaning systems into which we have been socialized. Despite exhortations both sincere and hypocritical, it is not possible or even desirable to be "color-blind." So today more than ever, opposing racism requires that we notice race, not ignore it, that we afford it the recognition it deserves and the subtlety it embodies. By noticing race we can begin to challenge racism, . . . we can develop the political insight aand mobilization necessary to make the U.S. a more racially just and egalitarian society (pp. 158-159).
[F]reedom is not enough. You do not wipe away the scars of centuries by saying: Now you are free to go where you want, do as you desire, and choose the leaders you please. You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race and then say, "you are free to compete with all the others," and still justly believe that you have been completely fair. Thus it is not enough just to open the gates of opportunity. All our citizens must have the ability to walk through those gates . . . We seek . . . not just equality as a right and a theory but equality as a fact and as a result (Omi and Winant, 1994, pp. 128-129).
The print and television news media also contribute to the perpetuation of racial stereotypes in America. Hunt (1997) provides a detailed analysis of how the Rodney King beating and the subsequent L.A. "riots" were reported on television, and of how that reporting almost dictated public opinion on these matters. However, an earlier analysis of data on the "Zoot Suit Riots" of 1943 reveals much the same sort of pattern, since the media were able to blame the atta