Systematic Racism In America
written by Le'Bert A. Gordon; edited by @TheAbeng
Ethnicity, on the other hand, is a cultural phenomenon referring to a person's identification with a particular cultural group (Hinman 1998:473). In a nutshell, race is socially constructed and the notion that persons belong to a particular race was developed in the last century based on the belief that there was a biological basis for categorizing groups of people. Biologically, however, the term race has no meaning, yet society continues to give the notion meaning by using it as a social category. The notion of race gradually took hold in the United States society when the institution of slavery reinforced the idea that one race could be inferior to another (Banks and Eberhardt 1998:58). Focusing on race can be counterproductive, especially when talking about one race receiving special privileges or preferences over another. This serves only to perpetuate the stigma of race. And although it's unfortunate, but true, that our society is not color blind, its effects clouds our thinking and actions, which if left unchecked, can become bigotry and racism.
In the United States, the law has had the effect of distributing benefits and burdens based on race, and the assignment of a person to a racial category has often, in the past, determined his or her rights and obligation; e.g., the "Jim Crow" laws passed at the end of the Civil War. As such, there are "social practices" which (explicitly or implicitly) attribute merits or allocate values to members of racially-categorized groups solely because of their race (Zata and Mann 1998: 3); therefore, a color blind, raceless society is an impossible dream. As you can see, prejudice and racism are not one and the same, and only with frank discussion on the topic when appropriate and relevant will we possibly reduce its effect.
Read More on Systematic Racism in America (Part 2)
Mann, Coramae Richey; Zatz, Marjorie Sue. Images of Color, Images of Crime: Readings. Roxbury Publishing Company, 1998
*The Institute of Race Relations
*CNN Documentary (The System is Broken):2015
*Sociologist Joe Feagin (Systematic Racism)
*May and Sharratt 1994:317
*American Anthropological Association 1997:2
*Banks and Eberhardt 1998:58
*Zata and Mann 1998:3
*Macpherson 1999 Report
*Movie: "The Big Short"
*Department of Justice Bureau of Statistics