I would tell my 18-year-old self — and I wish I’d written this book for my 18-year-old self — that the only thing wrong with black people is that we think something is wrong with black people. I spent the better part of my early years thinking that the main problem was black people. And then I switched from that to thinking that the main problem was white people. And, eventually, I realized that the main problem was racist people, was people who were executing these policies out of self-interest. That’s what I would have told myself: that there’s nothing wrong with black people and there’s nothing extraordinary — the only thing extraordinary about white people is that they think something is extraordinary about white people.
The findings appeared to be a striking indication of racial discrimination in seemingly benign and mundane interactions. The tendency to ignore emails sent by African-Americans was particularly pronounced in sheriffs’ offices, but it was also evident in school districts and libraries.
In a clever twist, the authors analyzed whether the replies were polite, counting responses that included either the sender’s name or words like “hi,” “Mr.,” “dear,” “good” (which captures “good morning,” “good afternoon” and “have a good day”) or “thank” (which captures both “thanks” and “thank you”). By this measure, those with apparently African-American names received 8 percent fewer polite responses than those with white names.
And since you might have the tissues at the ready anyway... Lost Together by the Blue Rodeo with Gord Downie earlier this year.