Willful Blindness

FlintFrom economist and Wayne State University Law School professor Peter J. Hammer who recently submitted written testimony to the Michigan Civil Rights Commission as part of their hearings on the Flint Water Crisis titled, “The Flint Water Crisis, KWA and Strategic-Structural Racism.” Click here to download the report:

The problem is the often willful blindness of people in positions of privilege and authority (Knowledge-&-Power) to the needs, perspectives and interests of others, particularly when the “other” is from a community that differs from their own in terms of race or class or ethnicity. The problem is that the information and beliefs held by people in authority often reinforce that blindness and permit the unquestioned projection of policies and programs on others, even when it is clear that those policies are inappropriate or have harmful consequences. The problem is that vulnerable populations are often subject to exploitation that strategically manipulates the very vulnerability created by express racism, structural racism and unconscious bias, and yet this exploitation finds ready shelter in the very forces it exploits.

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