## Does systemic racism exist in the US?

• 10.7k
I've started this thread for the sole reason of allowing those who want to claim it doesn't their say without derailing the separate topic on its causes, effects and what to do to solve the problem.

(For clarity: The first twenty or so posts were originally in the other thread.)
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Is there racism in the U.S., yes, but is there "systematic racism," absolutely not. Did that police officer murder that man? Yes. That said, I don't want to have anything to do with this forum after reading some of the most disgusting posts by those who run this forum. Please delete my account.
• 1.8k
is there "systematic racism," absolutely not

One can affirm each instance that goes to support the notion that there's systematic racism in the country, and yet deny the inference at the end of it all.

What would motivate such a denial?

It's not like George Floyd's case is unique in the most important way for a belief in systematic racism -- that he was killed when he should not have been killed because he was black. And it's not just the unjust and racialized treatment of the criminal justice system to supports the notion. It's a social fact -- so we don't need to look into the intents of individual officers or ideologies propogated, though those are bound to also be there. But we don't need to. We need only look at the social treatment of blacks vs. whites in the United States, and the inference is supported. At the very minimum we cannot just declare that there is absolutly no systematic racism, like it's a fairy tale to be dismissed and disgusted with.
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But that would still be a systemic problem, and still a problem that would disproportionatiely affect black people, so it could reasonably be called institutional racism.

I don’t agree with that leap from the systemic problem of cops becoming hardened and disconnected from those they are meant to serve to institutional racism. Institutional racism suggests a practised, conscious act by those who employ the cops. I don’t doubt there are people who dislike blacks for all sorts of reasons, but cops behaving badly does not equate to institutionalised racism to me. But what it does suggest is a lack of proper management. All across the world we saw overreach by cops in regard to social distancing and the Covid virus. It varied from state to state or city to city. The police seem to have forgotten how to talk to people, what their job is and just who it is they serve and protect. Maybe the force attracts a particular type, but even if that was the case that person should be managed better. I wouldn’t want the job of a cop. If you’ve worked out there on the street you’ll know what I mean. It takes a special kind of person to handle that day after day. So maybe, like teachers, we need to make this a special kind of job, led and managed by unique individuals. If poverty is behind the tension among black communities, something that is not going away over night, then it’s the police force that can change and respond to the situation sooner than economic change.
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What would motivate such a denial?

The search for the core problem.
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Here’s some sobering evidence that kind of throws doubt on the whole claim of “systemic racism” among the police shootings.

https://www.pnas.org/content/116/32/15877
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That’s interesting research, but it doesn’t address the permanent, general harassment of blacks and black neighbourhoods by the police, which may be unquantifiable.

Edit: what I mean is the manner in which the two interact with each other on that level.
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One study stripping away history and using statistical methods on a database covering a single year while denying the "benchmark method" because of a supposed assumption does not throw doubt on the whole claim of "systematic racism" among police shootings, especially when said database is primarily focused on fatal shootings alone, when a gun isn't the only method police use to kill.

I'd say this is cherry picking. Maybe something interesting in there, but I can play that game too by traveling down your articles citations, which I did take a gander at, but figured it was better to just point out what it is we're doing.
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To be fair that research is not just about fatal shooting numbers but about the race of officers involved in incidents and how that relates to issues of racism.
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That has nothing to do with the fact of systematic racism. Just because an officer is black that doesn't mean he's not an officer. The race of the police officer doesn't matter for the claim that there is systematic racism -- the race of those effected by the criminal justice system does. And that is disproportionate.
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I just don’t know how an act can be considered racist if it is mostly perpetuated by a member of the same race. What is the evidence that an officer holds a racist outlook when he unjustly kills a man of another skin color? Maybe I haven’t quite fully grasped the concept of “systemic racism“.
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Maybe I haven’t quite fully grasped the concept of “systemic racism“.
• 10.7k

Systemic racism obtains when a system(s) function (regardless of explicit rules) to favour certain racial groups over others. It doesn't require overt individual racists (though it may protect and even reward them) nor does it necessarily require any conscious acts of racism at all (and obversely you could have conscious acts of racism in a system where no systemic racism exists, only rather than being performative of the system, they would be antithetical to it). Systems are culturally contextual, they're embedded in cultures and how they function depends on their relationship to the culture they're in. So, often it's what the system allows rather than what the system demands that's important. E.g. if you've got a justice or policing system embedded in a culture that's only recently emerged from the acceptance of explicitly institutionalised racism, you need extremely strong safeguards to avoid the continuance of implicit racism in whatever ostensibly non-racist institutions are substituted. Not having those safeguards in place means the explicit racism of before doesn't just disappear but finds footholds in the new institutions and festers there looking for opportunities to express itself.

Systemic racism occurs in all areas of social life, policing, housing, education etc. And again, it's not primarily about explicitly racist acts or explicitly racist policies or legislation but how things work in practice to disadvantage communities of color. Here's an example relating to housing.

https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/race/reports/2019/08/07/472617/systemic-inequality-displacement-exclusion-segregation/

"For much of the 20th century households of color were systematically excluded from federal homeownership programs, and government officials largely stood by as predatory lenders stripped them of wealth and stability.

In the decades preceding the Fair Housing Act, government policies led many white Americans to believe that residents of color were a threat to local property values. For example, real estate professionals across the country who sought to maximize profits by leveraging this fear convinced white homeowners that Black families were moving in nearby and offered to buy their homes at a discount. These “blockbusters” would then sell the properties to Black families—who had limited access to FHA loans or GI Bill benefits—at marked-up prices and interest rates. Moreover, these homes were often purchased on contracts, rather than traditional mortgages, allowing real estate professionals to evict Black families if they missed even one payment and then repeat the process with other Black families.57 During this period, in Chicago alone, more than 8 in 10 Black homes were purchased on contract rather than a standard mortgage, resulting in cumulative losses of up to $4 billion. Blockbusting and contract buying were just two of several discriminatory wealth-stripping practices that lawmakers permitted in the U.S. housing system." Most likely, as with you, objections to the existence of systemic racism turn on a misunderstanding of what it is. As if it's just the type of claim that police are racist or police departments have racist policies. That's really not it. It's usually far subtler than that and, for being so, all the more pernicious. In any case, I don't want to go off on a tangent on this. In asking how systemic racism can be solved (particularly in policing), the OP presumes its existence. If you want to participate you'll need to do so on that presumption (or at least not derail the discussion by making it about something it's not, i.e. stay on topic, please). • 2.3k the OP presumes its existence. If you want to participate you'll need to do so on that presumption Interesting how the mods dominate this discussion. Baden, you’re basically saying that one can’t disagree with the OP, that if you want to participate then you must agree with the OP. Very totalitarian. I think your true colours are showing. You’re probably one of the bigger instigators of tension on this forum these days. You want it one way only, no dissent. You’ll get your way in the end. • 10.7k Baden, you’re basically saying that one can’t disagree with the OP, that if you want to participate then you must agree with the OP. Very totalitarian. No, I'm saying stay on topic. You can start your own topic about the existence of systemic racism somewhere else. This conversation is about how to stop systemic racism (and about racism in general). It's specified in the OP. This discussion is not intended to debate whether racism exists but why it exists and what to do about it. The idea that it's totalitarian to ask posters to stick to the OP topic as defined doesn't hold up seeing as off-topic posts are regularly deleted in OPs. • 2.3k That doesn’t work. If I start an OP saying the opposite, that the OP assumes it, then only those who agree with it can post because otherwise they’re off topic? • 10.7k Not debating this here, Brett. If you really feel strongly that systemic racism doesn't exist in the US and you can reasonably demonstrate that with evidence and data etc, you can attempt an OP on that subject. I expect you won't because I expect you know as well as I do that it does exist. Anyway, right now, we're off-topic. • 2.3k Baden, if I had no one disagreeing with me I could easily prove it doesn’t exist. • 2.3k Baden, you just proved me right. • 739 Baden, if I had no one disagreeing with me I could easily prove it doesn’t exist. You mean you would easily believe right wing propaganda. Baden, you just proved me right. This is just delusional. OP based on an accepted premise happen all the time. You're not making a new OP outlining your claim racism isn't systematic because there's no case to be made. You are simply trying to derail this conversation because obvious truths threaten your identity and you believe power should be enough to determine what the truth is. So you want to flex your trollish power here to frustrate good faith analysis and virtue signal to your cause. Maybe my diagnosis of your fascist psychology is off topic, but I'm glad you don't have a problem with that. • 5k Here's what one would be claiming does not exist, if one was claiming that systemic racism does not exist. • 687 Racism exists everywhere, sadly, in people of all colors. Whether there exists 'systemic racism' is, as far as I am concerned, up for debate. I'm not convinced either way. There's a saying that goes "Whatever you feed will grow," and it seems to me that by telling everyone they're racist, and by labeling incidents as racist incidents prior to this being proven, one creates a climate of self-fulfilling prophecy. Both the news and the social sciences have been treading extremely thin ice in this regard, and seem much more interested in forwarding political narratives than abiding by the rigorousness and neutrality that these fields demand. • 5.9k This was very good. The more people hear and understand the impact of redlining, the better: "The Federal Housing Administration institutionalized the system of discriminatory lending in government-backed mortgages, reflecting local race-based criteria in their underwriting practices and reinforcing residential segregation in American cities. The discriminatory practices captured by the HOLC maps continued until 1968, when the Fair Housing Act banned racial discrimination in housing. But 50 years after that law passed, the lingering effects of redlining are clear, with the pattern of economic and racial residential segregation still evident in many U.S. cities — from Montgomery, Ala., to Flint, Mich., to Denver. Nationally, nearly two-thirds of neighborhoods deemed “hazardous” are inhabited by mostly minority residents, typically black and Latino, researchers found. Cities with more such neighborhoods have significantly greater economic inequality. On the flip side, 91 percent of areas classified as “best” in the 1930s remain middle-to-upper-income today, and 85 percent of them are still predominantly white". It's possibly the biggest injustice in modern American history that almost goes totally unremarked upon. Not that it's all down to redlining of course. But gosh was it terrible (in fact it still exists). Unsurprisingly, it's roots are economic. • 5.9k And if anyone would like a concise definition of systematic racism, this is as good as any: "Social scientists often discuss these disparities as outcomes. However, inequality is probably better understood as a process - one sustained largely as a result of how systems and institutions are structured and reproduced, and the ways in which people act and interact within them across time. Systemic racism is not a product (outcome) of people holding the ‘wrong’ beliefs or feelings. It is a function of behavioral patterns - and (unjust) allocations of resources and opportunities - that systematically advantage some, and disadvantage others, within particular contexts. It persists because it is enacted moment to moment, situation to situation. It could be ended if those who currently perpetuate it committed themselves to playing a different role instead – not merely through their words or feelings, but with action" (source). • 5k This was very good. The more people hear and understand the impact of redlining, the better: It's not a secret though is it? I heard about it in Patricia Williams Reith Lectures in 1997. That's a long time ago and a long way away. You'd think Americans would be familiar... them all being shit-hot financiers an'all. • 5.9k You'd think Americans would be familiar... them all being shit-hot financiers an'all. I don't know. I'm curious. I read about it for the first time in some obscure political economy book. Had to look it up after. Have barely heard about it since. Maybe they do things differently in the US. My impression is that alot of Americans think that black issues came to an end after reconstruction and it's been more or less hunky dory ever since. What say the Americans here? • 5k Is there racism in the U.S., yes, but is there "systematic racism," absolutely not. Did that police officer murder that man? Yes. That said, I don't want to have anything to do with this forum after reading some of the most disgusting posts by those who run this forum. Please delete my account. Sam, I'm sorry to see you go, and it may be too late already. But it would surely be tragic to leave over a typo. Systemic is not systematic. • 5.7k In the decades preceding the Fair Housing Act, government policies led many white Americans to believe that residents of color were a threat to local property values. For example, real estate professionals across the country who sought to maximize profits by leveraging this fear convinced white homeowners that Black families were moving in nearby and offered to buy their homes at a discount. I wouldn't refer to your examples above as systemic racism, but instead as institutionalized racism, where the government officially condones discrimination by allowing such behavior to remain legal. It's without question that it's illegal to put your knee onto a petty criminal's neck who is otherwise offering no resistance until he dies. If such behavior were legal, then we'd have institutionalized racism analogous with the FHA and redlining issues brought up in the video. We also don't need to search deeply to find other examples of historical institutionalized racism, many of which are far worse than unfair lending or redlining practices. Jim Crow laws no doubt played an important role in the American psyche for both blacks and whites. To call them "systemic" racism does a disservice to those oppressed, abused, and murdered. Not affording protections against blacks against such practices (and even explicitly legalizing such practices) denies human beings of their most basic human rights. There is a critical distinction between that institutionalized racism and the fact that the races harbor distrust for one another. I don't group all of that behavior into one big category, as if my subconscious racism equates to the legal institutionalization of racist laws. Moving more to the the video, it speaks of the great disparity in educational funding based upon race. By way of example, Washington DC spends$21,974 per pupil per year for public education. Utah spends \$7,179. https://patch.com/district-columbia/georgetown/how-va-dc-education-spending-ranks-nationwide-census-bureau . The demographics of the DC school system are: 68 percent of students are African American, 18 percent are Latino, 10 percent are white, and four percent identified as other. <a href="https://www.dcpolicycenter.org/publications/landscape-of-diversity-in-dc-public-schools/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">https://www.dcpolicycenter.org/publications/landscape-of-diversity-in-dc-public-schools/</a>
The Utah school system is 1% black (74% white) : https://www.schools.utah.gov/file/89d76231-2165-46e5-b842-4e925c04c700.

I could, if I had the inclination, to go county by county in my home state of Georgia and show you that teacher pay does not vary within any county, as the teachers in the affluent areas make the exact amount as those in the poorest areas. I could also show you that counties within the metro region, even those with large struggling urban populations, pay higher teacher salaries than those in the rural regions. In fact, that is where you see the greatest disparity in spending, which is when you go from urban to rural, with the rural schools simply not having the tax base to offer larger salaries. But of course everything is less affluent among the cows than the high rises, and that applies in the poor almost entirely white Appalachian mountain counties of Georgia and to the southern mostly black rural counties of Georgia.

You simply cannot paint this picture of African American struggles as being entirely or even mostly the result of racism, and certainly not the result of present day racism. It's not even a theory that many African American leaders still adhere to, which is to suggest that the greatest threat to the African American comes from the subtly or openly white racist. Should we take a young African American who now finds himself in prison, for example, we need to honestly ask ourselves, does he owe his plight to past FHA lending practices, the pre-civil rights Jim Crow laws, the amount paid his teachers in salary, or the glass ceiling his father found at work that limited his management opportunities.

I would suspect that if you examined the goings on in that child's home, you'd see drugs, violence, paternal absence, lack of appropriate adult role models, crime, no emphasis on education, and all sorts of other glaring ills that make your reference to subtle or present day racism appear as child's play. Attempting to link all of those ills to past racism is an attempt to absolve a whole lot of people close to that child of some seriously wrong behavior.

An article on this point, by an African American journalist (although that shouldn't be important): https://www.nytimes.com/1997/11/16/opinion/racism-is-not-the-issue.html
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I wouldn't refer to your examples above as systemic racisms, but instead as institutionalized racism

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institutional_racism

"Institutional racism (also known as systemic racism)"
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I just read on fivethirtyeight that, according to surveys, 48% of Americans believe that black people enjoy equal rights and no further changes are necessary. That's compared to 80% of police officers who hold that view.
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"Institutional racism (also known as systemic racism)"

Then I need a different term for what I've described, perhaps legalized racism.
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