It’s 2020 and one would think that racism would be a thing of the past but sadly, that’s far from the case. Many people are racist without actually realizing it. Such people tend to misunderstand their bias, labeling it instead as ‘personal preferences’. This is in fact called individual racism which is supported and reinforced by systemic racism.
Racism is what makes us see the “other” with suspicion or attribute negative characteristics to an entire group of people. This evil manifests itself in our individual thoughts, and also in the workings of our society.
Racism involves not only negative attitudes and beliefs but also the social power that enables these to translate into disparate outcomes that disadvantage other races or offer unique advantages to one race at the expense of others. Individual racism is a form of racial discrimination that stems from conscious and unconscious, personal prejudice.
So what then is systemic racism?
Systemic racism definition
Also known as institutional racism, systemic racism includes the policies and practices entrenched in established institutions, which result in the exclusion or promotion of designated groups. Today’s continuing inequalities in education, healthcare, housing––through redlining practices, employment, wealth, and representation in leadership positions are rooted in America’s shameful history of slavery and systemic racism.
In the US, data on social and economic welfare show disparities between many so-called ‘persons of color’ (POC) and their white counterparts. ‘So-called’ because all people have one form of color or the other, so why then are certain people referred to as POCs?
From unemployment rates being considerably higher for POCs than the national average to growing income inequality increasingly affecting minorities, the disparities abound. In the US, the median wealth for white households is ten times greater than that of black households, and eight times greater than that of Hispanic households. And when it comes to owning a piece of the American dream, minority home ownership rates are much lower––even after adjustments are made for limiting factors. Minorities also typically face extra hurdles in getting approved for mortgages.
African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans are disproportionately affected at every stage of the criminal justice system. This is despite evidence that most racial and ethnic groups commit crimes at roughly the same rates.
How can racism be eradicated?
Racism can only end if we continue to contend with policies and institutional barriers that perpetuate and preserve the inequality—economic and social—that we still see all around us. Citizens should join hands in advocating for and promoting policies at all levels that will combat racism and its effects on our civic and social institutions.
These conversations will be difficult and uncomfortable to have but it’s worth it. This is because the only way we can make progress as individuals or society is by doing the work.
Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke of how the issues of war, racism, and poverty were linked. He called for “an all-embracing and unconditional love for all mankind” to combat the ills we faced. While things have gotten better since then, the disparities remain stark and clear. In particular, there appears to be a systemic effort to incarcerate and keep black men in prison. And once released, these men find it difficult to find jobs, often committing one crime or another crime due to inability to find jobs or other factors. Many end up returning to jail or prison and a vicious cycle is born.
So what can you do?
Use your voice, no matter how small
Now is the time to use your voice and your platform to fight for the change that is needed. Which is exactly what we’re doing here. Presently in the US, massive protests have swept across the country, as well as various European countries following the killing of George Floyd by four policemen. Socialists and Democrats have also called on President Donald Trump to stop defending white supremacists––which we don’t see happening anytime soon. Brands and celebrities have also joined in on the fight for racial justice and equality which has truly gone global.
What else can you do? See our IG post caption below for more simple yet effective ways you can use your voice and VOTE!
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As we get ready to resume our normal schedule, we’d like to remind everyone to keep the movements alive [see previous posts]. Now, we’re all aware, we need ACTION for CHANGE to occur. ✊🏽• — How can you do your part? Do the little you can and avoid sitting on the sidelines and doing nothing at all. Sign relevant petitions, retweet, share and comment. Attend organized protests peacefully, donate to bail people out [where applicable], speak up against any form of oppression and VOTE! No matter what you do or don’t do, VOTE like your life depends on it• #black-lives-matter #justiceforuwa #justicefortina #georgefloyd #ahmaudarbery #teyanataylor #socialchange #StyleRave
A post shared by 𝐒𝐓𝐘𝐋𝐄 𝐑𝐀𝐕𝐄 | 𝐒𝐑 (@stylerave_) on
If you are still not clear on how systemic racism works in the US, then the video below will further enlighten you.
Photo credit: Instagram | As captioned, Featured image art | Jovannananana
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