iSteve commenter Jack D writes:
I guess it depends what you mean by “systemic racism”. If it means “institutional racism” then no, as you and the others have pointed out, there is a thumb on the scale all right, but the thumb is clearly on the black side of the balance, not just in government but in private universities and large businesses and so on, all over the place.
However, it is well documented that, for example, landlords will prefer black tenants – if you send in equally qualified blacks and whites, the landlord will take the white tenant. If you are trying to hail a cab in NY and you are a young black male, forget about getting picked up. And so on. If you are a middle class person with black skin, you will be tarred with the same brush that is tarring your ghetto brothers. BUT, these are just natural human reactions – if you are a Sikh cab driver and not some goodwhite lady who has been trained not to be “racist”, your common sense dictates not to pick up young black males – your life may depend up on it. Losing your life, like that white grad student who worked in the furniture store in LA, is a high price to pay for being “not racist”.
Denying that “systemic racism” exists is not the way to go. At best this feels like gaslighting to black people who live the reality of being black in America, who hear the car door locks click as they walk down the street. I see the same thing here when people deny that anti-Semitism exists in America or that it ever existed or that it only consisted of being excluded from certain country clubs. Oddly enough, the people who deny its existence are the ones who are the most anti-Semitic themselves – go figure. Just because certain blacks get certain benefits such as college admission preference or that there are black entertainers and athletes who are beloved by their white fans and make millions of \$ doesn’t negate the existence of racism for other blacks.
HOWEVER (and this is a big however) , just because systemic racism exists it does not follow that we have to turn our whole society upside down and institute an unfair system of mandatory racial preferences – two wrongs do not make a right. Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease, especially if the “medicine” is bad medicine and the diagnosis is wrong. And the nature of bad social doctoring is that when one dose of the “cure” doesn’t work, instead of changing meds, you just double up on the dosage.
iSteve commenter Sam Malone responded:
Nice try, except that your own examples – such as the landlord preferring non-black tenants, or the Sikh cab driver choosing not to pick up young black males – clearly demonstrate that the prejudice which exists in America today against blacks is the opposite of systemic as that term is meant to be understood by most people.
Far from being coordinated across individuals or groups, or promulgated or tacitly encouraged at the institutional level, this discrimination is entirely the result of billions upon billions of individual decisions made by hundreds of millions of Americans of all ethnic backgrounds based on personal judgment and reasonable self-interest in the privacy of one’s thoughts.
What’s more, these numberless individual decisions are almost always made not due to animus against blacks as blacks, but by an awareness, whether inchoate or data-driven, that blacks are particularly prone to criminal/slovenly behavior and that, by and large, good things don’t come from interacting with them.
Giving in and agreeing to the charge that “systemic racism” exists today against blacks not only is untrue (and a slur on the Americans of all types who justifiably will continue to mostly avoid blacks until their societal behavior improves), but it also opens the door to all the radical demands of the left for the deconstruction of what’s left of the country as we know it.
I’d add that non-systemic anti-blackism is most pervasive among non-Americans resident in America: e.g., Korean shopkeepers, black African cabdrivers and the like. The Establishment has established this antiquarian narrative — 1619 and all that — about how the roots of racism are the evildoing of the ancestors of white Americans, but the biggest crimethinkers about blacks tend to be immigrants who arrived at LAX during the Obama Administration.