The endless struggle over racism

By Alvin Powell ~ The Harvard Gazette ~

Forum examines rising tide of hate, while promoting approaches that encourage tolerance

Picture a world where political leaders refuse to promote racist stereotypes, where social media companies break down hate-filled echo chambers, where police are trained to counteract implicit bias, and where schools teach children tolerance so all feel safe.

That’s the complicated recipe to fight ongoing and rising racism and hatred in the U.S., experts at a Harvard forum said Wednesday. The complex response is needed because the problem is driven by a confluence of factors and amplified by the ways that technology has developed in recent decades.

“I had a friend, a European, say to me, ‘Whatever happened to your country?’ and he went off on how bad everything was. And I said, ‘Remember, this is a country that just a few years ago you were cheering because of the election of Barack Obama as president,’” said former Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle. “And it’s not like everybody suddenly moved out of this country and a whole new group of people moved in. What happened is we are a complicated country, and, while we’ve talked about the problems [with racism] here, we are a country of great tolerance and of acceptance.”

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