Since the end of the Civil Rights and Black Power movement, many white people have tried to distance themselves from being labeled a "racist". Although there are many other methods, the internet has long served as a safe medium for many people to voice their true feelings of other races in this current era called "Post-Racial America". With the beginning of George Zimmerman's murder trial, the judicial diarrhea of the US Supreme Court on the Voting Rights Act of 1964, and Paula Deen's (past) diarrhea of the mouth, the events of this week have removed multiple layers from the "Race Relations" onion of American society.
There are 2 types of racism, both of which are common in the US, as defined by Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) in his book Black Power : The Politics of Liberation(1967): Individual Racism and Institutional Racism.
Individual racism is a small scale event between individuals or a small group of people in which one group acts against another based on an ideal that is intentionally or neglectfully racist. Paula Deen's "n-word" jokes are little more than examples of individual racism. Which, for those who didn't know, the law suit against Paula Deen was filed by a white employee, and it is about more than simple "n-word" jokes as described in this article from Black Legal Issues. Another example would be a group of Black guys beating up a white guy, just because he's white. As offensive as it may be, incidents involving individual racism do not have a lasting impact on the target group as a whole. But since it is on a person to person basis, the impact may last for the individuals involved. This factor is what allows racist ideals to be passed from generation to generation.
Institutional racism is far reaching in the number of people it affects and is usually carried out by a group of people, although individuals can carry out this form of racism as well. This usually occurs when groups of people with racist ideals and states of mind get together - a majority of the time having positions of power. Where, as the picture above states, company policies, law enforcement practices, and legislative practices are created with the intention of harming, or infringing on the rights or progression of a designated group of people. These policies are designed and promoted as resolving a problem, but either intentionally or inherently create disparities through disenfranchisement, harassment, and other abuses of the negatively affected race. Some other race or group of races naturally benefits from it. The support for these forms of institutional racism comes from individual racists who would not want to openly express those views, or would otherwise be powerless to act on those views. Therefore they invest in or vote for, companies and politicians who will be able to deliver policies and business practices that have a similar ring to their racist ideals(although not explicitly stating so). The students of Prairie View A & M University's struggle for voting rights is a prime example of institutional racism, inspired by individual racists. Sporadic incidents of individual racism then begin to occur as a result of the policies and attitudes behind institutional racism.
The Civil Rights and Black Power movements marked the end of the then commonplace overt racism. The passing of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, overt racism was outlawed. At that point, racial slurs took a back seat in the public eye, and made way for neutral terms like "criminals" and "illegals"(immigrants) to refer to a broad spectrum of people who will be affected by these policies. So we can ultimately define "Post-Racial America" as the period where it's OK to be racist(individually or institutionally) as long as you don't actually say that that is what you are doing. A period of time where race shouldn't matter, but it does, and unless there is a large enough group of people affected by it, there is no sure fire way to identify it.
With a better understanding of what racism is and the different forms it can take, we can better prepare ourselves to develop and act on solutions to these problems. The problems of racism cannot be eliminated, but, similar to computer security, the threats or affect of those threats of institutional and individual racism can be transferred, delayed, or prevented from reaching fruition. By having a healthy and practical understanding of how racism works and the forms that it can take will help us to educate ourselves and others outside of the race in our continuing struggle is to secure economic, political, and social freedom and self-determination.