With national attention on the grief and disbelief in Charleston, South Carolina now is the appropriate time to talk about racism, right? Well, many in the media and on the campaign trail would rather not. Whether deflecting it to a debate about if it was terrorism or not, if it was targeting faith or race, or if it was a gun rights issue or not, the coverage of Charleston is doing its best to avoid the substantive conversation about racism that has been building – and then receding—throughout the Obama presidency. This is about the continued existence, popularity, and denial of racism in American culture (which is in some cases subsidized by U.S. tax-payers). Taking down the confederate flag is not the end of this conversation, but it is an obvious start. So let’s not be too quick to celebrate racism’s retreat, when the issue is much more violent and deep-seated than we care to acknowledge or discuss.

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