On Racism.

Every time I see a homeless white bum on the street I think of him as just a bum. Every time I see a homeless black man on the street I think of him as a black man first. In my cognitive mechanism his blackness comes before his homelessness. Why is it so? Is it because I ascribe different qualities to black and white bums? Indeed, a white bum tends to receive a more elaborate justification, in my mind, of his unfortunate station: He’s probably a veteran with mental problems, a victim of circumstances or a terrible scam. A black bum doesn’t receive such leniency from me. He must’ve done something wrong along the way to end up like this, the thinking goes. I give a white man more room for error and more benefit of the doubt than I do to a black man. And yet if someone dared to suggest that the reason I think this way is because I’m a latent racist, I would punch him in the face. But then I thought, maybe I am a latent racist.

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