Preface and Acknowledgments
The more citizens trust their government, the better democracy functions. However, African Americans have long suffered from the lack of equal protection by their government, and the racial discrimination they have faced breaks down their trust in democracy. Rather than promoting democracy, the United States government has, from its inception, racially discriminated against African American citizens and other racial groups, denying them equal access to citizenship and to protection of the law. Civil rights violations by ordinary citizens have also tainted social relationships between racial groups—social relationships that should be meaningful for enhancing relations between citizens and the government at large. Thus, trust and democracy do not function in American politics the way they should, in part because trust is not color blind.