From The Grio –The views of black people expressed by third year Harvard Law Student Stephanie Grace in a widely circulated email are undeniably racist. In her words: “I absolutely do not rule out the possibility that African-Americans are, on average, genetically predisposed to be less intelligent…”

Honestly, I’m not sure what’s worse about Grace’s email: the resurrection of 19th century arguments about the genetic inferiority about blacks as a race, or the fact that nobody has focused on the equally crude yet sexist comment later in her screed about women supposedly performing worse in math “due at least in part to prenatal levels of testosterone, which also account for variations in mathematics performance within genders.” But while the blogosphere is working itself up in a tizzy over this latest racial incident at Harvard, and regardless of how offensive I might find her ideas about race and gender, I think it’s important to keep our eyes on the prize regarding the larger issue at stake: challenging institutional racism and structural inequality in a so-called post-racial society.

I’ll leave it to the Dean of the law school, Martha Minow, to deal with the repercussions and climate at Harvard. Instead, I’d like to put this incident in context. Supposedly ushering in a new era of a “post-racial” America, we are now in are second year of the first African-American president of the United States, who coincidentally was Grace’s predecessor at Harvard Law School and on the Harvard Law Review (she is an editor there). The Tea Party movement has sprung up in response to Obama’s election as a white identity movement undeniably about race. And it is probably the case that Tea Partiers happen to share the student’s views.

Yet just a week ago, the Arizona Governor signed into law a bill the legislature passed that will amount to egregious racial profiling of anyone who “looks” like an immigrant. This policy, encoding the racist assumption that all Latinos are criminally suspect into law, is just the most recent example of institutional racism. If anything, this law in addition to the student’s email, are the nails in the coffin of the myth that we’re living in a post-racial society. (Continue Reading @ The Grio…)

Photo Source: AP/Charles Krupa

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  • Institutional racism has always been around. In fact, a lot of these institutions actively practice it, from deliberately marking black students down to talking down to students, even shouting on students. I saw one video on Youtube where a white teacher told a black boy, and I quote “sit down nigger”. Then the teacher tried to justify making such a statement.

    I used to work at a University in the UK and I have noticed this, of course it doesn’t help when you see some black people kissing ass all the time.

    Besides, there is no surprise to see that some white people think they are more superior than black people, and that is why black people need to be more serious and build up our own communities and stop being the under-class, watching garbage on TV and not supporting our own people like everybody else supports their own.

    • binky

      Your comment hit the nail on the head.

      I’ am in college now and I see this all the time, it is nothing new, especially in schools that is predominately white. Usually, I noticed this with my teachers because they are often taken aback that I finished first on my exams and get good grades and know most of the answers, some of them seem thoroughly surprised since usually I’ am the only black woman in the class that sits in the back and the more advanced classes I take, the more I see it. So yes, Institutional racism is still alive and well, but it is not only in the classroom but in other factors of college life as well, such as student life, housing, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the college I’ am in now since I have made plenty of good friends but if I had the choice to do it all over again, most likely I would have seriously check out some HBCU.

  • Unique_one

    Besides, there is no surprise to see that some white people think they are more superior than black people, and that is why black people need to be more serious and build up our own communities and stop being the under-class, watching garbage on TV and not supporting our own people like everybody else supports their own.

    Bingo! People are so quick to label something as “coonish” or saying it “makes us look bad in front of white folks” FACT CHECK: WHITE PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS GOING TO HAVE SOMETHING NEGATIVE TO SAY ABOUT BLACK PEOPLE. It’s the way of the world, so all of this choosing not to support one of our own doing big things is really hurting us as a people. It’s that slave mentality of “white is always right”.

    There is nothing wrong with HBCU education. There’s nothing like it! I attended an HBCU, graduated and received my degree and now I’m working for the company I’ve always wanted to work for and making damn good money. I’m also 25 years old. :-)

  • Tiffany W.

    When I first heard this story, I thought, “Wow, that’s going to be the first Harvard Law degree that will be worthless.” But, then again, she might get her own high rise office in NY after graduation.