Systematic racism, also referred to as institutional racism, has been ingrained in most of the prominent sectors such as health, education, and the economy and has caused more division than unity. It focuses on how society operates at the systems level instead of the one-on-one interactions of people within the society. The systems encompass the laws and regulations and the deep-rooted social systems that have remained unquestioned. Many people in society think that it reflects the inevitable, natural order of things. The civil rights legislation in the 1960s was meant to protect African Americans against the restriction of the rights to vote, education and work. However, its enforcement has proven to be inadequate, making black people, indigenous people, and other people of color experience discrimination in society. The effects of this type of racism have resulted in adverse health effects, a poor economy, and a lack of proper education for people of color. This kind of racism is prevalent in the education sector and hiring systems. Although state officials claim systematic racism is an utter wash and is not engrained in policing, its adverse effects on healthcare, education, and the economy imply that the government should be stunted in its anti-racism reforms.
Systematic racism has been the root cause of health inequity, disparities, and diseases, especially among people of color. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), racial and ethnic minorities are known to experience high rates of devastating health conditions as compared to their white counterparts. These health conditions range from obesity, asthma, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. Moreover, statics shows the life expectancy of African Americans. It is four years less than that of white Americans (CDC). Therefore, this type of racism causes increased illness to people of color, which interrupts their normal life, hence not living up to their expectations.
The COVID-19 pandemic is one instance that proves the health disparities caused by systematic racism. The pandemic had devastating impacts on people of color and significantly affected their way of life. Research shows that Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, African American, and Alaska Native are the populations that have experienced more hospitalization, some leading to death, than the white populations. According to Holden et al. (2022), their research shows that the Covid-19 cases among Black and Hispanic people were twice those reported for Whites. Consequently, the Covid-19 relative death risk was above 10 for people of color compared to that of Whites. This report shows that the government is still not strict in implementing and enforcing its anti-racism policies.
Furthermore, systematic racism has caused lower standards of care in health care. In 2014, reports show that most people of color did not receive any vaccination of influenza. Notably, for the people of color aged 65 years and above, only 60% of them got vaccinated, while over seventy percent of white and Asian people of the same age got vaccinated. Moreover, the racial groups’ economic state is poor, and they are not able to acquire health insurance that can help them get good medical care. Therefore, if they are supported by the government access the insurance, the health care standards could also be high. In addition, the government has also deployed fewer primary care physicians in Black zip codes (CDC). This causes a shortage and limits physicians’ efficiency because of the voluminous number of people they have to serve in a day. The above-mentioned limitations lower the healthcare standards and increase health problems among racial groups.
Due to increased long periods of discrimination and exploitation, the Black-White wealth gap has widened over the centuries. As a result, black or indigenous people have a rough time transitioning between jobs, moving to neighborhoods, and responding to emergency situations. Consequently, the detrimental financial status has made it difficult for these families to pay for their children’s education and also challenging for the workers to have economic sustainability (Cook). The workers and families become economically insecure and have few opportunities that can sustain their economic mobility. The low-income levels and few chances presented to them cannot enable them to accumulate enough capital that can help their future generations.
Several factors exemplify the economic instability or sustainability experienced by Black Americans. For instance, due to the entrenched employment discrimination in various sectors, people of color have limited access to tax-advantaged forms of savings. Moreover, African Americans have faced discrimination in the mortgage market, limiting their opportunity to own a home. Therefore, they are left with limited access to tax benefits and savings attached to owning a home. In addition, they are discriminated against and segregated in the labor market. The blacks are given few and less valuable opportunities in various hiring systems (Cook). As a result, they find unstable jobs, poor wages, and fewer retirement benefits. Consequently, since they do not have higher incomes, they are exempted from increased tax incentives attached to retirement savings and housing. These factors imply that the government has a huge task of monitoring various hiring systems to ensure discrimination and segregation come to a halt because each person requires equal opportunities despite race or color.
Systematic racism is still evident in the 21st century in the education sector across the globe. Recently, systematic racism has been evident in education, public institutions, and employment. For the victims, action is needed to curb this ongoing racism discrimination. Education in America, for instance, has become dependent on the color of individuals. The sector is seen to be divided regarding either one is white American or Black American. Research reveals educational achievement gaps between white and black American students, which is measured by utilizing standardized test scores. The research that guides this conversation is that unequal opportunities still exist, creating education disparities (Darling-Hammond, 27). Education for the minorities mirrors inequality in accessing education resources, lack of skilled teachers, and curriculum of low quality. United States education system is most unequal in an unindustrialized world, and students usually receive different learning opportunities according to their skin color. In the late 1960s, a good number of African Americans were acquiring education in schools funded way below the whites, and they were further excluded from acquiring higher education. These education disparities lead to unequal job opportunities, which the government should address.
A recent survey in the US shows that minorities’ education experiences have continued to be separated and unequal, creating education disparities. About sixty-six per cent of minority students attend minority schools and receives low funding compared to their counterparts in majority schools comprised the white Americans (Barber et al.). The recent analysis of school finance data prepared in New Jersey, Texas, Alabama, and New York found that schools with a more significant number of students of color had fewer resources than those with white students. A report to Congress in 1991 revealed that inequalities in finance allocation to schools create harm to the minority and disadvantage them economically. Additionally, these economically disadvantaged and minority schools are situated in poor urban districts with low educational expenditure or located in rural districts suffering from fiscal inequality. This inequality in resource distribution to schools results in poor or low-quality education, thereby reducing students’ performance.
Jonathan Kozol 1991, elucidates that white serving schools spend twice the amount of resources per student. Unequal resources allocation makes teachers less effective in teaching. In contrast, word processing courses offered in Mackenzie High School were taught without word processors simply because the school did not have funds to buy them. Similarly, in New Jersey, Peterson school, could not hire qualified personnel to teach foreign languages courses while in Princeton school, foreign languages are taught right from elementary school (Darling-Hammond, 28). This striking difference between schools serving color students and their counterparts serving white students brings inequalities in the quality of education, disadvantaging the color schools. Therefore, it is imperative for the government to exercise a sense of equality to favor all schools regardless of the students’ color without any discrimination whatsoever.
However, some prominent leaders have claimed that there exists no racism in policing. In a report compiled by CNN, the United States national security advisor, Robert O’Brien, claimed that there exists no racism in law enforcement. He asserted that 99.9 percent of the US’s law enforcement officers encompass all Americans, with African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian taking the bigger percentage (Yan and Sam). Notably, he maintained that the few racist police are the minority, which can be regarded as the few bad apples which can be easily uprooted. However, several studies and reports have nullified O’Brien’s claims proving that various races are treated differently.
According to research conducted by Northeastern University, it is evident that despite the likelihood of African Americans making an objective threat, they are at a higher risk of being killed by police. This analysis was done by analyzing shootings of police in twenty-seven states between 2014 and 2015 (Yan and Sam). The unarmed and those who did not pose a threat to the police were Hispanic or Black and accounted for two-thirds of the total victims. Moreover, other studies show that African Americans are reported to file more complaints than whites, but only thirty percent of black complaints are sustained while fifty percent of white complaints are sustained. In addition, the arrest rate of people of color due to drug trafficking is six times more than that of whites. From the analysis, it is clear that racism in policing is high in society, and there is a need for reform in the policing sector.
Various government researchers have maintained that their countries are free from systematic racism. According to a report by a United Kingdom commission on race and ethnic disparities, “the United Kingdom cannot be regarded as a post-racial country but as a model to other white countries.” They claimed that there exists equality in education and the economy. They further posit that racism exists because some people or communities are still entrenched in historical discrimination (Child). However, these claims cannot be substantiated because their research overlooked systematic racism in sectors such as health and crime. In addition, various politicians and campaigners dismissed these claims by the commission, arguing that they were an utter whitewash since they were “written to a script.” The conclusions showed that the government was not even ready to sympathize with the various cases of racism that has happed in the country. They added that the report sounded like insults to the ethnic minority who are victims of systematic racism. Therefore, the government should stop giving biased reports and act accordingly to stop systematic racism.
In conclusion, it is evident that systematic racism has been entrenched in the education and health sector despite the set laws by the federal government prohibiting racism. The victims’ economic levels have also proven to be poor. Therefore, the government should implement reforms in these sectors to restore the economy and unity among the citizens. Notably, there is a need for future researchers on these raging issues to determine whether systematic racism is influenced by the inferiority complex that may exist in the victims or due to historical discrimination passed from one generation to the next.
Barber, Paul H., et al. “Systemic racism in higher education.” Science 369.6510 (2020): 1440-1441
CDC. “Racism and Health.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8 Apr. 2021, www.cdc.gov/healthequity/racism-disparities/index.html.
Child, David. “UK Report Denies Systemic Racism, Prompting Angry Backlash.” Breaking News, World News and Video from Al Jazeera, 31 Mar. 2021, www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/3/31/uk-race-report-says-system-not-rigged-against-minorities.
Cook, Lisa D. “Racism Impoverishes the Whole Economy.” The New York Times – Breaking News, US News, World News and Videos, 18 Nov. 2020, www.nytimes.com/2020/11/18/business/racism-impoverishes-the-whole-economy.html.
Darling-Hammond, Linda. “Unequal Opportunity: Race and Education.” The Brookings Review, vol. 16, no. 2, 1998, p. 28.
Holden, Tobias M., et al. “Structural racism and COVID-19 response: Higher risk of exposure drives disparate COVID-19 deaths among Black and Hispanic/Latinx residents of Illinois, USA.” 2021.
Yan, Holly, and Sam Romano, CNN. “The US National Security Adviser Says There’s No Systemic Racism in Policing. Studies Suggest Otherwise.” CNN, 3 June 2020, edition.cnn.com/2020/06/03/us/systemic-racism-in-policing/index.html.