Racism in American is not new, but with events this past year, the racism debate has kicked into high gear. Civil right has come a long way since the 60s. But despite these strides, America is completely built more on systemic racism than pocket racism.
An NBC New York website article, “What is systemic racism?” by Kate Slater (February 2021) states, “A heartbreaking example of systemic racism is that health outcomes for black women are dismal compared to their white counterparts. A 2015 study from the Department of Health and Human Services reported that a baby is more than twice as likely to die during childbirth if the birth mother is black. Furthermore, a black mother is 3-4 times more likely to die during childbirth than a white mother. A 2016 study reported that black people were significantly less likely to receive adequate pain management medication, because of the false belief (held by almost 75 percent of medical professional participants in the study) that black people have a higher pain tolerance than other races.”
From the justice system and how doctors treat black people, to wages and ways of living, everything that was built and set up in America was made to only benefit white people and those who “pass” as white. Time and time again it has been proven by stereotypes created to demean the way black people and other people of color are treated that black people have to struggle much harder than white people. The reason behind the struggle is systemic racism and white privilege.
As Dr. Crystal Fleming writes in on NBC New York article, “how to be less stupid about race”: “The major insight about systemic and institutional racism is that there is no such thing as ‘a little bit of racism’ or ‘pockets of racism’ or ‘random incidents of racism’ isolated from the rest of society. Whether you realize it or not, racism is systemic, pervasive and embedded within the core of all of our major institutions.”
People often say that America as whole is not racist and that there are few “bad apples”, or certain pockets of racism. There are some people who think that America has progressed far away from racism, that it is not as bad as it looks. They may bring up the fact that America elected a black president and there are successful black people, such as entertainers, performers and businessmen/women. Non people of color will say that because of all of these amazing things that America is not as bad as it was and that things are better. But America is quite the opposite.
A simple explanation of systemic racism, for example is this: A black child is born in a neighborhood saturated in poverty. Because of the history of red lining (the separation of the suburbs and the “ghetto” created by the government), that neighborhood gets the bottom of the barrel funding and the left over books and computers from the richer neighborhoods. This leads a child to grow up to go to school where the books are out of date and the computers never function correctly. The state does not pay the school enough to pay teachers or have the right materials, which means the child must be taught by unqualified teachers without the proper materials. This leads to the child not getting the best grades and barely making it to graduation.
The child most likely will not make it to college because he/she does not qualify. It might be harder to get a job and harder for them to move out of the poor neighborhood. Because of that, they will be labeled with the stereotypes that the children in the rich neighborhoods are taught. The children who were privileged enough to grow up with proper funding and materials will grow up to be policemen, doctors, lawyers, teachers and other well-paying jobs The problem plays out from there. The fact that these are things that are happening to our youth today and have been happening for decades does not show the great accomplishments that America preaches about.
To say that there is only pocket racism is blatantly ignoring the fact that there is a huge problem within America with the pain and struggle minorities have to go through. All of these systems, including to but not limited to the medical field, the police/justice system, red lining/underfunded schools, were built in America and ingrained with racism and prejudice.