Overt racism, nativism, loss of compassion, and hate speech are on the rise. All of our highest humanist values are under attack. Racial fear and resentment are being used to manipulate the 2018 midterm elections that are upon us and may determine whether we'll see a further sabotaging of civilization. Dog-whistle racism has descended to bullhorn racism.
The key function of ethics is to recognize our duties to each other, to widen our circles of compassion, and to affirm the inherent worth and dignity of each person. This doesn't mean we're all exactly the same, but we have a core of shared humanity. It's hard work, especially for privileged white people in the United States, to live up to these values, as we have instincts for tribalism, racism, and general fear of the "other." Our instincts then nurture a racist culture.
Consider a few brutal statistics regarding racism in America:
* Job applicants with white-sounding names elicit 30 percent more callbacks than equally qualified candidates with African-American-sounding names, as reported in a 2003 study published in the American Economic Review. More recent research out of Harvard (2017) found hiding your ethnic details on your resume improved your chance of a callback from 11 percent to 25 percent.
* 12.9 percent of black college graduates were unemployed compared with an unemployment rate that stood at just 5.2 percent in 2018 in a study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
* The Brookings Institution reported in 2017 that black students were three times more likely to be suspended than white students, even when their infractions were similar. Once black children are in the criminal justice system, they are eighteen times more likely than white children to be sentenced as adults according to the 2017 Sentencing Project.
* Black Americans make up 13 percent of the US population; they represent about 34 percent of the prison inmates. When black people are convicted, they are about 20 percent more likely to be sentenced to jail time, and typically see sentences 20 percent longer than those for whites who were convicted of similar crimes according to the US Department of Justice Sentencing Commission in 2017.
* In 2015 the Justice Department found that black drivers are about 30 percent more likely than whites to be pulled over by the police. African Americans are twice as likely to have a vehicle searched, but 26 percent...