To the editor:
Jonathan Ring (“America was not founded on racism,” June 17) makes the tired old argument that America is commendably trying to rid itself of racism and that protesters are destroying property in response to isolated police brutality. A woman recently made a much better analysis of America’s race problem by comparing it to a series of Monopoly games. In her analogy, white Americans have played 400 rounds of Monopoly using the labor of black Americans without allowing them to own property.
All the while, white Americans have been largely paraphrasing Mr. Ring’s opinion that despite our tribulations, America is the land of promise. Anyone familiar with the game of Monopoly knows that once players have established themselves and built up property, any new player would stand no chance of playing. That’s the situation here since “emancipation” was subsumed by resurgent segregation and a continuation of institutionalized racism albeit without slavery. We have replaced overtly racist policies with brutal police tactics enforcing our economic hegemony (remember all that wealth we built up during those 400 rounds of Monopoly).
Since America’s problem with racism is generally invisible to people in mostly white New England villages, it’s only when cameras catch it that we take notice. Perhaps that was once understandable. Now that the thin veneer of our country’s racist core has been revealed, we need to recognize it for what it is and change it. Mr. Ring’s argument is more than 100 years old. Time to change our thinking.