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Systemic Racism in the United States


Racial discrimination involves discriminating against any person based on their skin color. In many instances, some races are seen to be superior to others. Racism is often invisible and can often be structural or systemic. Therefore, Braveman et al., in their article, describe systemic racism as a type of racism engrained in the institutions, legislations, and policies that promote practices and attitudes that justify and sustain widespread unjust treatment and repression of minority groups. There are policies, laws, and legislations that focus on oppressing minority groups in the U.S. Therefore, understanding the factors promoting systemic racism in the U.S. is the primary way to deal with the issue. The purpose of this essay is to explore systemic racism in the U.S. and its impact on minority groups.

Systemic racism is a type of racism engrained in the institutions, legislations, and policies that promote practices and attitudes that justify and sustain widespread unjust treatment and repression of minority groups (Braveman et al., 2022). The history of systemic racism in the U.S. can be traced to the slave trade. During this period, Africans, Indians, and other races were trafficked to Europe and parts of America to work in farms and mines. It was during the slave trade period that legislations and laws were passed that bared the blacks and other races from education and other basic social amenities such as healthcare, food, and housing.

The whites were more privileged since they got quality education, healthcare, and housing. Therefore, the Native Americans started perceiving the slaves as lesser beings as a result of the push from the government to have legislations and policies that infringed the rights of the minority groups. Not being white was criminalized in America (Banaji, Fiske & Massey, 2021). Therefore, a law was passed by the Rhode Island General Assembly in 1703 that criminalized the movement of the Indians and Negroes across any town past 9 pm without a certificate provided by a white person. Consequently, a Negro or an Indian was only allowed to walk in the towns past 9 pm if they showed proof that they were a family to a white person or faced arrests.

The racism in the 1960s is different from that of today. In the early 1960s, there were laws and legislations that allowed for public publishing of warning signs such as “no blacks allowed” or “whites only. ” There were roads in America that Non-natives were not allowed to use. However, in modern America, even though racism is hidden, it is still obvious that Native Americans feel superior to minority groups (Matamoros-Fernández & Farka, 2021). American society tries to appear to support other races; however, it is clear that the U.S. government is afraid of the increasing number of black communities in the region. The killing of George Floyd in 2020 by the police department is a clear example that institutional and systemic racism is still a major issue in America. The government uses institutions such as law enforcement agencies to incarcerate more non-native Americans than the natives with an aim of reducing their powers. The police are racists and are using their powers to kill innocent black people in the streets.

Regarding the systemic racism statistics in the U.S., the National Urban League’s report indicates that blacks enjoy approximately 74% of the total amount of equality whites get( Warren, 2022). This implies that whites have higher chances of getting anything better in the country compared to any other minority population. Even though black individuals have improved in their economic and health gains, they still lag behind in education, social justice, and civic engagements compared to whites (Bailey, Feldman & Bassett, 2021). Moreover, according to the report, the median house income for blacks is approximately 37% less than that of Native Americans (Warren, 2022). This implies that Non-native Americans, such as blacks have lower incomes than their white counterparts. This is a result of the systemic racism in the country. The whites have higher chances of getting better jobs with higher pay than the non-natives. This is a system that the government has used for several years to ensure that the non-native Americans do not thrive. Based on the sentiments provided by the former U.S. president Trump during and after the campaigns, it is clear that racism is still a major issue in the country.

The U.S. census data shows that non-native Americans are less likely to benefit from home mortgage ownership which is perceived by many Americans as a way to improve generational wealth. Consequently, the blacks are more than twice more likely to be denied house mortgage and home improvement loans than the whites (Warren, 2022). This is a civic engagement strategy that the government uses to broaden the wealth gap between the whites and the minorities. The whites are wealthier than any other minority group as a result of the government’s efforts to deprive the minorities of becoming wealthy.

The life expectancy for the African Americans also declined as a result of inequitable healthcare coverage. According to the census data, the life expectancy of an African-American is 74.4, four years less compared to that of a Native American (Warren, 2022). The data also shows that 59% of the black women are more likely to die during childbirth than the whites. Moreover, approximately 52% of the black males are more likely to die of prostate cancer compared to the whites. These data shows that lack of access to health coverage limits, the minority populations’ ability to seek medication hence increasing their morbidity and mortality. Access to proper housing and healthcare is still a major issue in America. This poses a threat to many minority groups.

While comparing the systemic racism in America and other surrounding nations, there are no massive differences. Racism is evident in European countries since the countries have made systems that prevent the growth and sustainability of the non-native settlers. Just like in America, the blacks in Canada are also decrying, infringement of right and equality including education, healthcare and housing. Even though some people argue that the systemic racism in America is higher than in the Canada since the country did not participate in slavery, the arguments are ambiguous since history shows that slavery was in Canada. It is important for every government to embrace equality and remove systems that hinder other races from happily living in such countries. For instance, let all citizens have access to wealth, quality healthcare, education and proper housing.


Understanding the factors promoting systemic racism in the U.S. is the primary way to deal with the issue. Systemic racism has led to unfair treatment of the racial minorities in the U.S. The use of government agencies such as the police to promote systemic racism has led to the bad relationship between the police and the public. The black lives matter movement saw the government acknowledging the innocent murder of blacks by the police. It is high time the government changed laws, policies and institutions that promote racial discrimination. Every U.S citizen should be given equal opportunities to explore their potentials and build the country. Racism negatively impacts me and my community. It is through systemic racism that other races like the blacks in the community feel offended by the whites. They look at the whites like the cause of all their problems hence causing negativity. This makes it challenging for me to feel free to interact with people of other races.

The research pinpoints the systemic racism in the U.S. and its causes. Therefore, it enables to understand the extent of racism and how it impacts the lives of the victims. As a result I could use this research to help my community by welcoming all visitors in my neighborhood using stickers that say “racially safe zone.” This is an initiative to create awareness about the negative impacts on racism and to embrace people of all races. Consequently, I could use this research to organize a campaign against racism in my community. This can be done through removing signs within the community that promote racism and advocate for the equality of everyone in the community.


Bailey, Z. D., Feldman, J. M., & Bassett, M. T. (2021). How structural racism works—racist policies as a root cause of U.S. racial health inequities. New England Journal of Medicine, 384(8), 768-773.

Banaji, M. R., Fiske, S. T., & Massey, D. S. (2021). Systemic racism: individuals and interactions, institutions and society. Cognitive research: principles and implications6, 1-21.

Braveman, P. A., Arkin, E., Proctor, D., Kauh, T., & Holm, N. (2022). Systemic And Structural Racism: Definitions, Examples, Health Damages, And Approaches to Dismantling: Study examines definitions, examples, health damages, and dismantling systemic and structural racism. Health Affairs41(2), 171-178.

Matamoros-Fernández, A., & Farkas, J. (2021). Racism, hate speech, and social media: A systematic review and critique. Television & New Media, 22(2), 205-224.

Warren, M (2020). Annual report shows systemic racism continues to bring down Black people’s quality of life. PBS.


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