Racism is a social structure that organizes access to resources and assigns worth based on superficial characteristics, such as complexion and hair texture. Some people and groups are disadvantaged by this system to the detriment of their physical and mental health, which is not fair. Everyday racial interactions and access to resources like schools, apartments, jobs, and more are all impacted. Disparities may be seen in various areas, including but not limited to healthcare, finances, access to justice, and political participation. It also favours those of the more politically and socially powerful racial groupings. With all its evils, racism has existed in the U.S. for ages, and very few signs signal its end. This paper purposes to expose the twisting effects of racism as a requisite to launch a strategy towards its end. Racism of any kind is against human rights, and it ought to be every person’s duty to ensure that they are not perpetrators of this vice that molest the community.
Systemic racism and prejudice are inextricably related to imbalances of power in society. Racism and prejudice that are structural are embedded in systems at the institutional, organizational, and governmental levels, limiting access to resources for certain groups of people because of their outward appearance. For example, the police as an institution has greatly perpetuated actions linked to racism. It is threatening to look at some statistics linked to racism by the police. According to Statistics, in the U.S., there have been 429 civilian shootings, 88 of whom were Black, as of 2020 (Schwartz, 2020). This demonstrates how living in America for people of colour is unsafe and the brutality extended to them is against human rights.
Similarly, justifications for crimes against African bodies date back to at least the 1400s. These excuses, couched in the language of science, have taken many forms throughout the years to support and perpetuate racial inequity. One of the most powerful tools to legitimate and spread anti-Black racism and White supremacy has been scientific racism via comparative anatomy or eugenics (Locke et al., 2021). A prominent figure in the history of economic thought is the English scientist and philosopher William Petty. Petty argued that racial distinctions extended beyond outward appearances to include inherent behavioural and mental makeup differences (Jones, 2020). He created a social pyramid in which White people were on top and worms, and Guinean Blacks were at the bottom. This gives the background for scientific theory witnessed in America and dictates as far as services, location, and opportunities available for Americans. The whites are thought to never equal other people of the race.
Moreover, as tempting as it may be to see racism as an issue of the past, structural racism endures in the U.S. via cascading consequences of past policies and the persistent implications of present race-neutral laws and beliefs. In his assessment of Dinesh D’Souza’s The End of Racism, Paul Finkelman writes, “In turning away from scientific racism, the ‘new racism’ lumps African Americans in a manner that looks uncomfortably like the old racism (Jones, 2020).” Interpersonal and institutionalized or structural racism, cumulative and compounding racism ingrained in laws, rules, and regulations that systematically benefit White persons and communities, has damaged BIPOC mental and physical health (Roberts et al., 2020). Racism is so ubiquitous and omnipresent that its consequences are ingrained in many aspects of life, including numerous socioeconomic determinants of health.
In conclusion, it ought to be everyone’s priority to foster and enhance antiracism campaigns. In all its forms, either structural, environmental, or scientific, racism is antihuman development and a vital human rights violation. The greatest question to be asked is why racial discrimination has existed for so long in the U.S. Once the loophole perpetuating this vice is identified, a solution can be achieved. Though several attempts have been made toward the end racial discrimination, very little has been achieved. However, the lack of political will among the implementing agencies is the greatest hindrance to achieving equality in the states.
Jones, C. P. (2020). Levels of racism: A theoretical framework and a gardener’s tale. American journal of public health, 90(8), 1212. https://doi.org/10.2105%2Fajph.90.8.1212
Locke, D. H., Hall, B., Grove, J. M., Pickett, S. T., Ogden, L. A., Aoki, C., … & O’Neil-Dunne, J. P. (2021). Residential housing segregation and urban tree canopy in 37 U.S. Cities. Npj Urban Sustainability, 1(1), 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1038/s42949-021-00022-0
Roberts, J. D., Dickinson, K. L., Koebele, E., Neuberger, L., Banacos, N., Blanch-Hartigan, D., … & Birkland, T. A. (2020). Clinicians, cooks, and cashiers: Examining health equity and the COVID-19 risks to essential workers. Toxicology and Industrial Health, 36(9), 689-702. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0748233720970439
Schwartz, S. A. (2020). Police brutality and racism in America. Explore (New York, NY), 16(5), 280. https://doi.org/10.1016%2Fj.explore.2020.06.010