Racism once again is prejudice/bigotry + systemic power. It is a majority group turning its bigotry and prejudice against a minority group into societal policy that negatively impacts that minority group.
Racism is the systematic discrimination, denial of rights and benefits by whites against non-whites in all areas of human activity. (economics, education, labor, law, politics, religion, sex and war).
For a group to be racist, they must have in order to practice it and make the results stick MORE POWER than the ethnic group targeted with the negative behavior to do so. The only ethnic group that has had and still does possess that kind of power and control to make their bigotry and prejudices public policy are whites.
Racism is not what conservafools, FOX Noise, the Republican Party or right wing talk radio would have you believe. It's not an epithet pissed off white people fling back at POC's who call them on their white privilege or racist behavior. Nor is there any such thing as 'reverse racism'.
And I'm seeing this false equivalency injected in post-Ferguson online mixed race conversations far too often.
Non-white people pointing out the very screwed up ways in which whiteness, white supremacy and white privilege deleteriously affect their lives is not ' banging the race drum', 'race hustling', 'divisive' or whatever BS euphemism conservafools come up with these days to derail needed conversations on race.
And conservative (and liberal-progressive) whites trying to condescendingly say that being called out or accused of racist behavior is equivalent to the microaggressive and macroaggressive effects of racism in the daily lives of non-whites is not only insulting, but will at the least get you the side eye from that person of color or at the worst, cussed out.
The repeated failure of white people to listen to non-whites tell those stories and blow them off instead of taking action to correct the problems is why you had the drama in Ferguson and sadly will have it in another yet to be named town in the near future.
Race matters and has on the North American continent even before there was a United States. Racism and slavery is this country's original sin, and many of the race relation problems we have in the USA flow from it. When you spend four centuries demonizing and dehumanizing African descended people, a 40 year Civil Rights movement and a 1963 'I Have A Dream Speech' by the Rev. Dr Martin Luther King Jr didn't magically erase that four century dehumanization of African descended people.
Nor did the Civil Rights Movement erase those American racial fault lines or the gross inequality that is encoded into this country's DNA as a result of slavery and our country tortured racial history. We do not have in America an equitable merit based society or a colorblind one. Doesn't mean we should stop working toward it. But the heavy lifting of this effort to build that beloved community that Dr. King talked about isn't as my homegirl Alexis Martinez called it a 'Starbucks Revolution'.
An important part of that building process is listening. You can't stick your fingers in your ears and go "Lalalalala can't hear you' when POC's start talking about the America they experience that is remarkably different from the one you grew up with. It can't be just non-white Americans who are negatively impacted by the current status quo doing the heavy lifting while others sip their lattes and tweet messages on their smartphones about how awful the situation is in Ferguson.
It is incumbent upon liberal-progressive white folks and all who believe in Dr. King's dream to do their fair share of the heavy lifting work to help us build an America we can all be proud of.