In my experience the people who are vehemently insisting that they are colorblind and that racism isn't an issue are always racist as fuck. They just don't want to admit it. I'm going to clarify that I'm white here (You'll see why) White Americans live in a constructed fantasy land. That might sound condescending, but it is absolutly the truth. Sure, everybody thinks racism is wrong. But that doesn't stop us from engaging in it constantly, whether in ways that are destructive to other people or just personally ignorant. Growing up, racism for me was always coded as something else. Welfare queens, crack heads, "thugs", whatever. I grew up in the suburbs and in a high school with some 5,000 students there was maybe 10 black kids. There was an obvious lack of color, so to speak.
Now, that might not sound significant, but it's emblematic of the kind of racial environment that exists in America. White people stay in one place, black people in another. The result is that the realities of racial inequality are shielded from us. The simple fact is that there has never been a time when racism didn't exist in America, and it never went away so much as changed it's shape. The angry southern preacher declaring that the black man is a heathen was replaced by talk radio saying they are taking your tax dollars. The segregationist stopped saying the N word and instead subtly pointed a finger at them the next neighborhood over.
Black people are depicted one of two ways to white America in our culture: either as criminal, or as paranoid angry person divorced from reality, complaining about racism that no longer exists.
See, the rhetoric has shifted, the means have shifted, but the result has not. Separate but equal became "equal, but some are more equal then others". Go to an inner city school and see it yourself, for just one example. There's a similarly unequal application of the law, with the assumption that everyone is treated equally even though some are clearly more equal then others, to use that phrase again. Behind all of this of course is a history of very much intentional racial marginalization and exploitation. It made itself more palatable to the post-60's racial environment, but it operates in much the same way.
As white people our biases are internalized and often encouraged. But when challenged on them the usual response is irrational anger, accusations of "race carding", saying black people are the real racists, and if all that fails trotting out some biased and out of context crime statistic and ironically falling right back into the kind of "yeah, well black people are savages" rhetoric slave owners used, though weirdly as a way of proving racism isn't an issue. "It's not racial, black people are just murderous barbarians who need to be brutally suppressed before they rape our churches and burn our women and eat watermelon in our preschools and smoke beer and play hippity hop in the park!" I still don't know why this reaction happens exactly. "Racism" is easy but it goes deeper then that. For all of white conservatives' complaining about political correctness, they are some of the most easily offended and agitated people in existence. Mentioning the word "racism" to them will get you such a torrent of paranoid and insecure nonsense that it's hard to know how to respond. Some of the things I've heard from my friends when racism is brought up would make even the most in your face tumblrina seem downright reasonable.
My guess is there's a massive difference between what we've been told this country is like and what it is actually like (which is far less pretty). And of course if we're at the top of a social hierarchy, one that engenders extreme amounts of injustice, then naturally it follows we're sort of complicit in it. People don't like turning criticism towards themselves. Especially when an entire culture continually says they are right and that everybody else is just stupid and un-American.
Nobody wants to be the bad guy. Nobody wants to think that a lot of the things they say, or do, or believe are actually physically harmful to people, that they bolster not just a culture that offends people but that naturally leads to actual violence and repression, as you saw with Eric Garner or the Charleston massacre.
So of course, the natural response, the comfortable one, the easy to understand and non-confrontational option, is to pretend there isn't a problem, that you're not the slightest bit racist, and that Eric Garner was resisting arrest and therefore deserved it and that Dylan Roof was a psychotic outlier and not representative of anything.
The more you have this attitude thrown at you, the more it is reinforced. The more controlling over you it gets. People do indeed silence dissenting parts of their brains in favor of things that don't challenge them. And one thing about reddit that I've noticed, as the admins have increasingly turned a blind eye to hate speech and the kind of attitude I'm talking about, it's only gotten more prevalent. Not because more racists keep coming here, but because white kids reading this shit start to see it as the norm. Just like they see softer versions of it in real life and unconsciously accept that as the norm.
There is no post-racial society. I've seen that first hand. After Eric Garner's death I attended a few rallies and protests. Would it be shocking to the people reading this for me to say that some of the people there were legitimately crying at the news that this officer wasn't being charged? They felt betrayed by their country, and they had felt that way since the moment they were born. They wanted the smallest indication that their voices, that their problems and struggles, have meaning. They got told to fuck off. Again, for the millionth time in our history, we told the black population to go fuck itself and drag themselves back to the slums so we can pretend that nothing is wrong. It wasn't a fantasy that made these people feel that way, they told me flat out: they lived it every day
And then we repeat. Again and again.
Not because we don't know there is a problem, we do. We just don't want to care about it. So into the fantasy land we go, where the system works, people only get what they deserve, and the police are the good guys. And if a couple more bodies pile up then hey, they were probably selling crack or something.