Martin Luther King put quite a lot of effort into pointing out that certain groups were being persecuted:
Yes, and the way he did it was by emphasizing individualism.
So, if I understand well, your argument is that black people in the U.S. should be grateful for whatever way they are treated because (according to your logic) they could be living in some African country right now? How do you reconcile this with what seems to be your main point:
No, my point was that the idea of black people of today
suffering because of what happened back in history is wrong. These black people of today
from USA who supposedly lack privilege because of historical oppression happen to enjoy the privilege of living in almost the richest country in the world, having better living conditions than 95% of the 7 billion people that are alive today. Also, central and easter europe abolished serfdom at the same time that slavery was abolished in USA. The majority of white people in the world got out of slavery at the same time as blacks did. These are historical facts that go against the common narrative of "there are inequalities in the world because of white people oppression", narratives that only harbor more hate in the hearths of black people. This wrong understanding of history is based on marxist simplistic ideas that who ever is richer than you is oppressing and exploiting you somehow.
Yes, but people will not be able to achieve this until institutions stop discriminate negatively against them first. You can't say people who are fighting to be treated fairly are the bad guys in the story. Those who try to silence them when they have genuine points to make are the ones who keep racism alive, no matter how hard they try to convince themselves that they are not racists. I'm thinking Tomi Lahren whose response to the question "how should a black man protest" is "they should stop victimizing themselves". Same person who gets offended when someone burns a flag. Sad, as the d would say.
Institutional racism means having laws that are racist. Only racist laws that exist in USA are not discriminating against blacks. (affirmative action)
Things such as those described in the article fall under the category of selectiveness. For example students in my country are highly discriminated when it comes to renting homes. I too suffered from this discrimination as a student and never complained about it because, been a student myself, I knew very well how justified this selectiveness is. I'd probably do the same if I was a landlord. Students would be nr 2 after convicts on my "avoid renting" list just like they are on everybody else list. A black person would be on the top of my "best persons to rent" list because almost all black people in my country are professionals working for international corporations. But if I were to live in USA, I'd probably be more careful when renting to black people because realities are different there.
This has nothing to do with racism and everything to do with avoiding unnecessary risks. Just like a taxi driver, no matter his skin color, would avoid taking dubious looking people to a bad neighborhood. Asking for this selectiveness to disappear is an utopia and complaining that it does exist is ridiculous. There will always be prejudice and selectiveness when it comes to young people, old people, poor people, etc. Many things that today are considered racist happen to be just normal selectiveness but they are called racist if they happen to be directed at black people. Racism means not renting to a black person even though they qualify as top renters in your country, just because he is black. Such racist people are almost non-existent, most people that pass on as racist are simply been selective just like in the example with the students or taxi driver. They could not care less about racism, all they care about is their own safety (physical or economical). And this is only natural to happen, asking for this to disappear is an utopia.
Of course racism does exist but we should be careful not to call normal human behavior racist. It is precisely because of considering normal selectiveness racism that we got to theories about how all white people are inherently racist without knowing it, even western buddhist. If selectiveness qualifies as racism, than every human and animal in the world is racist.