When I was a child my family had a consistent reaction to news of horrific crimes on TV: They would look at the screen, wait for the face to pop up, and pray that it wasn’t a black one. If I was over at a friend’s house, I would notice a similar viewing habit in older African Americans. It was as if a communal prayer was being sent up in thousands of households at once, from their eyes and up through the TV screens: Lord, don’t give them another reason. Don’t give them another reason to hate us, to discriminate against us, to racially profile us while we drive, walk and live. And even though most rational people know that racism has more to do with bigoted mindsets than individuals’ actions among a disadvantaged group, the “don’t give another reason” prayer still went up.
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