Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Is this Systemic Racism?

Systemic Racism: Examples

In recent years, the term “systemic racism” has become popular, due to how it enables you to go around calling more and more things “racist” even in the absence of any people who actually have any racial prejudice. Be that as it may, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a valid concept that picks out a real aspect of the world.

The basic idea is that it is not only people that can be racist; social systems and institutions can also be racist. Sometimes, it sounds like woke people are saying that we have institutions and policies that were specifically designed, by racists in the past, to harm blacks; other times, it sounds like they’re saying that policies and institutions are “racist” whenever they disadvantage minority races, whether or not that was their intent. The part in italics is important, because that greatly expands the scope for calling things “racist” (which is of course a key goal for SJW’s).

Now, what would be an example of systemic racism? This may be the most prominent example: In the American drug laws, the penalties for crack cocaine are much higher than those for powder cocaine. It happens that crack cocaine is more popular among black drug users, whereas white drug users tend to prefer powder cocaine. So black users and sellers tend to face much harsher punishments, for a very similar crime, than white users and sellers. Sounds super-racist. When you hear about this, you might even think it is an instance of regular old-fashioned racism, wherein someone was deliberately trying to disadvantage blacks out of racial animosity.

Btw, the drug laws more generally are sometimes cited as systemic racism, due to the devastation they have wreaked on black communities.

Why We Did It

You can call that “racism” if you want. But let’s tell the truth about why we have these policies. No, it wasn’t because white supremacists pushed for them to put blacks in jail because they hated blacks. We have these policies largely because black leaders pushed for them, to help black communities.

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