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July 21st, 2010
01:20 PM ET

Opinion: Minor flaps obscure real race issues

Conor Friedersdorf
Special to CNN

Conor Friedersdorf says U.S. ignores tough racial issues to focus on individual flaps

Conor Friedersdorf says U.S. ignores tough racial issues to focus on individual flaps

In the midst of a prolonged recession, two wars, and an ongoing environmental catastrophe, it is unfortunate that inconsequential controversies about race are among America's most widely discussed subjects.

The relationship among blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians, and other ethnic groups is important, especially in a country where slavery, Jim Crow laws, and their legacy remain relevant.

What vexes are the particular aspects of race that we focus on. Ignored are the tough issues: social and economic inequality, prison rates, percentage of births out of wedlock, inequities in the education system, fatherless families, etc. Instead we obsess over any individual instance of racism, actual or alleged, so long as it morphs into controversy with political implications.

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