Institutional Racism – Miscellaneous



Chris Matthews talks with Dr. James Peterson and The Grio’s Perry Bacon about how the issue of racism remains present in society—from politics to sports on MSNBC.


Institutional Racism – Refutation


On June 28, 2016, Tomi Lahren, host of the conservative television show TheBlaze critiqued the notion of institutional racism and prejudice in America. She referred specifically to actor Jesse Williams’ speech at the at the 2016 Black Entertainment Television (BET) Awards, where he received a Humanitarian award for his work in under-served communities of color and fight against institutional racism. Lahren insisted that the issues Jesse Williams brought up had no merit, because it was made to a room of wealthy Black Americans. Her claim was that if the institution was racist, those individuals would not be in the positions they are in. In reality, the speech was that of empowerment and driven by a need to couple information with the desire for change. His speech catalyzed the audience, and made them reflect on their own privileges, in order to further the fight towards justice and freedom.

Lahren also made statements that these individuals are not experiencing institutionalized racism, but it is white people fighting for their rights. Lahren used the Civil War as proof that whiteness fought against racism and slavery. This statement disregarded the known facts that while white people fought on the side of the North, there were many people who financially benefited from the mistreatment of Black Americans. From the days of slavery to present-day American, Black people have had a recorded history of being mistreated on an institutional level. From the War on Drugs, the lack of funding for schools in predominately Black neighborhoods , to the use of criminal justice policies like stop and frisk, American institutions have continuously worked against the benefit of Black Americans.

One of the most overlooked instances of modern institutional racism aforementioned is the lack of funding for schools in Black neighborhoods. The evidence on racism in the education system is clear. Data scientist David Mosenkis studied 500 different school districts in Pennsylvania and found conclusive data that supports this theory. In an article in The Atlantic, author Gillian B White explains these findings; “If you color code the districts based on their racial composition you see this very stark breakdown. At any given poverty level, districts that have a higher proportion of white students get substantially higher funding than districts that have more minority students. That means that no matter how rich or poor the district in question, funding gaps existed solely based on the racial composition of the school” (White, 2015).

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Source: The Atlantic

In another piece of evidence confirming the existence of racism among schools, Senior Education Reporter Joy Resmovits exposes the truth in a Huffington Post article. “Seven percent of black students attend schools where as many as 20 percent of teachers fail to meet license and certification requirements. And one in four school districts pay teachers in less-diverse high schools $5,000 more than teachers in schools with higher black student enrollment” (Resmovits, 2014). Besides the education system, there is also much more evidence regarding the abundance of other instances of institutional racism in America; the evidence just provided is only a sliver into the truth of it’s existence. That Lahren could even say that institutional racism has no merit is just plain inaccurate.

Sources Cited:

  1. Lahren Speaks On Jesse Williams’ BET Awards Speech! “Sounds Like You Prefer Special Treatment”
  2. – Racism in school funding Mosenkis
  3. – Education racism White

Institutional Racism – Affirmation

Image result for institutional racism

Institutional racism (also known as institutionalized or systematic racism) is a form of racism in social and political institutions. Institutional racism is also racism by individuals or informal social groups, governed by behavioral norms that support prejudice thinking.

The enactment of Jim Crow laws created a system that prevented blacks from equal status to their white counterparts. The laws enforced segregation from 1877 until 1954. In 1954, the Supreme Court case ruled segregation in public schools unconstitutional; the ruling then started to apply to other public facilities. However, even with the end of these laws, blacks continue deal with the plague of institutional racism.

In a study on children who are enrolled in school from grades K-12, it was found that black children are three times more likely to be suspended than white children. Black students make up almost 40 percent of all school expulsions, and more than two thirds of students referred to police from schools are either black or Hispanic, according to the Department of Education.

According to the APA, African American children are also 18 times more likely to be sentenced as adults than white children, and make up nearly 60 percent of children in prisons.

Systematic racism is prevalent in our judicial system as well. Racial bias is extremely common in the jury selection. Qualified black jurors are illegally turned away as much as 80 percent of the time in the jury selection process. Black people are also more likely to stay in prison longer than white people, up to 20 percent longer than white people serving time for essentially similar crimes. African Americans receive much harsher sentences. In fact, people of color are 38% more likely to be sentenced to death than white people for the same crimes.

In the workplace, black college graduates are twice as likely to struggle to find employment than white graduates. The jobless rate for blacks has been double that of whites for decades. A study even found that people with “black-sounding names” had to send out 50 percent more job applications than people with “white-sounding names” just to get a call back.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, in 2015 all races saw an increase in income but the inequality gap between earnings by race increased as well. Black men make 31% less than their white counterparts, while black women make 19% less. One of the major reasons for this gap is the lower graduation rates in the black community. Blacks graduate from high school and college at a significantly lower rate than whites. This may be due to the fact that schools in urban areas with high populations of blacks have less resources, programs, and faculty. Starting from Elementary School, blacks are at a disadvantage compared to their white peers. At the college level the disadvantages worsen. Black college students take on more loans than white students, this may be due to the fact that African American families earn less than other races so they have less money to pay for college. So, blacks are not only facing disadvantages in the working world but there are factors that can make them fall far behind before they even enter it.

Not only are blacks discriminated against institutionally, they are discriminated socially as well. This summer the release of Pokemon Go started a short-lived craze that had thousands of people walking around their neighborhoods searching for Pokemon at Pokestops, or battling others in gyms. While some areas were experiencing more traffic because of the game, others were unaffected because there were no Pokestops at all. On Twitter, minorities users consistently shared the same story: their areas had little to no Pokestops. After noticing this trend across many cities around the country, Eric Fisher decided to look into where Pokestops are placed. He found that areas with larger populations of blacks have fewer stops. When Niantic, the creator of the game, was asked why the distribution of Pokestops is so uneven, their answer was that the locations were crowd sourced so this was not done intentionally. This means they were put in areas with the most smart phones and children.

Institutional racism alters the lives of black Americans drastically, yet some don’t even realize it. Institutional racism exists in nearly every corner of American society – we may not like it, but pretending that it doesn’t exist isn’t right, either. Today we are still affected with the results from a social caste system that was sustained by – slavery and racial segregation. Although the laws that enforced this caste system are no longer in place, its basic structure still stands to this day.



Institutional Racism – Miscellaneous

captureThe Washington Post discusses the systematic racism in Baltimore’s police force. In the news conference, when speaking about a report, it was clear to all those involved that there had been two different law enforcement regimes: one for African Americans (often unlawful and unconstitutional) and the other for everyone else. Check out the story with the link above.