Like many white Americans, I have been pleasantly surprised by the Trump administration’s efforts to increase racial equality in the United States. After a lifetime of being denied opportunities based solely on the color of my skin, I now have a first, tentative sense of what racial justice must feel like.
To paraphrase the immortal words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Free at last, free at last. Thank God almighty I am free at last.”
I realize my reaction may be difficult to understand for the dominant groups in the United States today, such as blacks, undocumented immigrants, gays, and Muslims. If you have never been discriminated against, it can be difficult to appreciate the ways that racial oppression distorts and limits a life.
Let me share a parable that captures my experience. It comes from the sociologist Arlie Hochschild, who spent years talking with the white victims of racial discrimination in the United States.