When I say that a white power structure permeates this country, I am not talking about overt racism. While I believe that overt racism still exists in this country I believe that we as society perceive it negatively and actively shun those we see as being actively racist.
No. What I am describing are all of the factors that contribute white privilege as well as subconscious stereotyping that people may not even be aware they committing. And while I'm at it let me be clear, these things don't just affect African-Americans. They affect Latinos, Asian-Americans, homosexuals, women, Native-Americans, Middle-Eastern Americans, Indian Americans, and just about everyone under the sun.
As long as you have at least two people in a room there will be a perception of Other. And that perception of Other will lead to tribalism. This is human nature. Tribalism in and of itself isn't bad. Let's face it there and always will be different groups of people and individuals will always choose to identify themselves as part of those groups. Skin color and geographic location are just flat out some of the most obvious differences we have. My skin is mocha and if you go back far enough my people hailed from Africa. Therefore I identify myself as being African-American, and cats with the pale skin just aren't in that club. Just the way it goes.
Despite that, we as a society have to keep that tribalism in check or else you get prejudice, persecution, and eventually slavery. While race may be a social construct, that social construct will always exist as long as different groups exist. Or to put it simply unless we have absolute equality in this country, which would be incredibly difficult at best and impossible at worse, race will continue to matter.
As such we as society must examine how race affects our daily lives so we can mitigate the systemic problems that 250 years of privilege of a majority at the expense of minorities have caused, and ensure that the concept of Other doesn't recreate segregation, class stratification, inequality of opportunity and inequality of the justice system. We must remain vigilante; the civil rights movement did not mark an end to the concept of race in America, only the admittance that the concept of race should not inhibit one's life, liberty, or property. All it did was create a new covenant with minorities, a covenant that we have to work to ensure is not broken.