Erik - A response to your assumption related to my example. None of the people I spoke of went out of business. All, in fact, thrived financially. As did, I think, the POTUS after his episode with discriminatory real estate practices early in his career.
I think your argument is that racism, while it existed in post-slavery America, is no longer a factor in 2018. No doubt you believe we’ve erased race as an impeding factor to success and that we have a very solid meritocracy operating here in America.... and I think there is plenty of anecdotal support (eg our previous POTUS) for that viewpoint.
The question really is: is race still a variable? if race could be isolated from other clearly relevant variables (e.g, work ethic, work history, attitude, skills, intelligence...) does it still have some influence on the actions/reactions/behaviors/decisions of people (especially those with power) in America today? And then... if we think it does, is that influence something that continues, perhaps more subtlety and subconsciously than in years past, to effect the meritocracy in negative ways for people of color...generally. All the while with acknowledgement that the meritocracy affords far more opportunity for minority racial groups than ever before in our history.
Either way, “proof” is a nasty word in this conversation— my opinion of course. Because while the more subtle, and sometimes not so subtle (if you believe race influences impulses in stressful police encounters) impacts of prejudice and bias may (or may not) exist, requiring proof is disingenuous if the purpose is meaningful conversation. Neither side accepts the other’s data as valid or convincing. Requiring proof (in conversation) is an exercise in futility. Better, in my opinion, to accept that our views are born of different life experiences that shape the different ways we interpret what is presented to us (including data).
My opinion is based on my experiences (many more than the anecdotes from my previous post), and my experience tells me that race has an embedded influence on me, and I believe does in others as well. And this influence is exacerbated, sometimes dramatically and impulsively,, in times of high stress — and DOES continue to have a broad, systemic impact on the great meritocracy that we strive for in America. It’s clear to me that merit has become a much more critical variable than race or gender than was the case years ago. But we can disagree as to whether this evolving meritocracy is all the way there. I am dubious of us having acheived the ultimate evolution of that meritocracy, which, for the purposes of conversation, I think is a viewpoint worthy of consideration.