(CNSNews.com) – House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Tuesday said racism is “present in all of our minds” and has gone on since Biblical times.
“Racism is present in every one of our communities, and as you pointed out Dr. [Maya] Wiley, present in all of our minds,” he said during a hearing before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee called by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). “We need to be conscious of that and confront it. That’s why I think this conversation is so important.”
“Racism is not simply about African Americans. It is about the very psychology of our country,” Hoyer said.
The hearing, entitled, “A Conversation on Race and Justice in America,” featured testimony by Morris Dees, founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center; Eugene Robinson, columnist at The Washington Post; and Maya Wiley, founder and president of the Center for Social Inclusion.
During Hoyer’s opening remarks, he said racism is inherent in America, and he doesn’t see an end to it.
“This conversation is not new, and my speculation is it will never end. I don’t know why that’s the case, but if you read the Bible, thousands of years have gone by and we're still having griefs about our differences, about not the content of character, but the color of skin or the religion,” Hoyer said.
"The Irish all look alike but they have a different religion and they tend to hate the other person,” he said. “And we’re getting there, we’re moving—but Shia and Sunni, you could just name so many examples.
“Here in America, race of course is the most visible and most evident difference between us, gender as well, obviously,” he said.
The hearing was called in the wake of George Zimmerman’s acquittal of murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
Dees said “clearly race was involved” in Martin’s death, despite the fact that the FBI found no evidence of racial bias from Zimmerman when it conducted its own investigation.