Now to let my inner cynic loose.
Many down-trodden people think that The Man is out to get them. These oppressed souls imagine that The Man conspires to hold the [insert downtrodden racial or gender group] people down.
Frankly, I generally think that most people who comprise The Man don't care about me any more than I care about a blade of grass on which I walk on my way to my mailbox. When Richard Williams claims that The White Man hates him, I imagine that The Man collectively says "Richard who?" The Man is generally greedy. When He makes millions while others go hungry, it's not because He hates Them. It's because He can get away with it. He lives in a world where His worth is judged by a free market and He feels that He deserves what He gets. If he is making 1000 times what his employees make, it's just because that's what the market indicates he is worth.
Anyway, I know that racism exists, but I generally think that in America greed is a more powerful force. Many times, what people see as racism is more greed or classism. For instance, nobody wants to invest in inner cities, but it isn't because black people are there. It's because of the risks involved with opening business in a high-crime area and the small reward (because the residents don't have deep suburban pockets) make it a risky idea.
On the other hand, I do see bias in the way we treat each other as individuals. When a teacher interacts with students or a boss interacts with employees, biases can affect the quality of the interactions. Race isn't the only bias in these situations (gender, age, attractiveness, and social skills are other biggies), so it's really hard to tell what someone has against you. Do they not like you because you are skinny or German or because of your shrill personality? It's hard to say.
We are self-centered, but when it comes right down to it, not everyone cares about you as much as you imagine. People are selfish and your issues don't always matter as much to them as they do to you. Ours is not a society without biases, but these biases are not always the whole story.
Soundtrack: Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins & Sonny Stitt (Sonny Side Up), Fleetwood Mac (Rumours)