As a journalist, I notice that the phrase “systemic racism” is being presented as fact by most media outlets I am looking at. It is not “reputed,” not “alleged,” not “believed.” Adopting the phrase was not a decision made by a Grand Wazoo. It is the result of Leftist group think found in most large newsrooms.
They give a mass murderer the presumption of innocence, but not the United States.
Approaching cliche status, “systemic racism” has been adopted by even the “better” newspapers and news organizations, but what does it mean, actually? Isn’t a “system” something designed to produce a desired result?
If “systemic racism,” as claimed by many, is a system designed by racists to enshrine white supremacy, to oppress Black people and to deny them fame, power and wealth, it is the biggest failure since “new” Coke.
At the same time, few would deny that, like termites in a house, within our democratic system there is historic and present racism. There are real inequities in health, wealth, incarceration, employment, education, and more. That is a fact, but not all are explained solely by race, and the defects, which are repairable, do not define the entire system as racist.
A 48% plurality of Blacks, according to Pew Research, believes bias comes more from individuals than from laws and institutions.
Belief in “systemic racism” would be depressing to Black people who might wonder why they should sit at a table with a dealer using a marked deck. Pew Research found the percentage of Blacks who feel America will make more changes toward equity was matched by Blacks who said America won’t.
The doubters are wrong, because America has changed mightily in recent decades. American racism is the worm in the apple, not the apple itself. American streets are filled with people chanting, “Black Lives Matter.”
No federal law supports racism. They all prohibit it. That is the voice of the system.
Bias in action — in housing, employment, voting, accommodations — is suppressed by our law, by most Americans and by our culture. At recent protests measured by Pew, 46% of the marchers were white.
Is our system perfect? No. No system is. A race-neutral America remains an aspiration, but we will never be race blind. We shouldn’t, because that would deny Black people.
When I heard a woman I admire, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, talk about “systemic racism,” I did a double take. How could she possibly become the mayor of a major American city if the American system is designed to oppress African-Americans?
My definition of “systemic racism” is not just playing with words, which have power. The mayor of Chicago is female, gay, and Black. The mayor of Los Angeles is Latino. The mayor of Dallas is a Black man. The New Jersey state attorney general is Sikh. These are not one-offs. These are products of the system, as are the dozens of Black members of Congress.
In the expanding African-American middle class, there are thousands of Black elected and appointed officials across America — mayors, police chiefs, state attorneys, superintendents of schools, university presidents (plus a U.S. president), even a couple of Black billionaires. All of this was unthinkable in my youth, when you wouldn’t see a Black on TV. Now African-Americans are used as endorsers of dozens of products. Racists don’t use Blacks as endorsers.
A “systemic racist” culture would never tolerate that, nor Oprah Winfrey, Denzel Washington, Maxine Waters, Michael Jordan, Beyonce, Don Lemon, Spike Lee, Audra McDonald, Clarence Thomas, RuPaul, Toni Morrison. Every one a millionaire.
South Africa under apartheid was “systemic racism.” Nazi Germany. Maybe a few others. Those are indisputable. In America, by contrast, the U.S. Supreme Court has a customary “Black seat,“ 11.11% of the court. 13% of Americans are Black.
When “systemic racism” is unleashed as a concept, here’s what many whites hear: “The system is racist, and since you created the system, you are racist, your racism is probably hereditary, you believe in white supremacy, you benefit from white privilege, when you deny you are racist that is proof of racism, so sit down, shut up, agree with everything we say or we will call you racist.”
It has been effective. Many gullible white people have been convinced of their guilt, or cowed into silence.
But not here. Collective guilt is unAmerican. Our legal system holds individuals responsible for their acts.
Part of the guilt some whites feel is rooted in America’s original sin — slavery. It is an unquestioned evil,.
It’s “fashionable” to think of slavery as a white, or European, invention when in fact it pre-dated Biblical times. Africans themselves kept slaves and sold other Africans to slave traders. Some Native American tribes kept slaves. Some free Black Americans held slaves.
In the broad sweep of human history, few emerge with spotless hands.
Those who promote the reckless exaggeration of “systemic racism” harm their own cause.
The facts say otherwise, and the supply of white guilt is not unlimited.