The Pursuit of Equality Demands That We Sacrifice, Not Just Protest

The favored prefix of 2020 is “structural” — especially as applied to inequality and racism. The uneven impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the killing of George Floyd have heightened awareness of the depths of our divides. Stark facts documenting the continued injustices faced by Black Americans have, in particular, become impossible for anybody of conscience to ignore.

The upsides of thinking structurally are clear: rather than highlighting specific choices made by particular individuals, the focus is correctly on the social, economic and political context in which they were made. There is a dangerous tendency to individualize structural problems, especially on the political Right.

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