Continued from Sytematic Racism in America (Part 1)
by Le'bert A. Gordon
Institutional RacismInstitutional Racism can be defined as the collective failure of an organization to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their color, culture, or ethnic origin. This kind of racism is currently taking place in the form of the senseless killing of unarmed minorities by police officers without there being any criminal consequential results. Police officers are literally getting away with murder. And despite the fact that communities and individuals have risen up to shine the spotlight upon this injustice, (e.g., Black Lives Matter) day after day we hear about another Trayvon Martin, Antwon Rose, Autumn Steele, and Stephon Clark, etc. Unfortunately, this kind of racism has become an intrinsic part of our society today and is occurring more frequently with the targeting and discrimination against a certain group based upon their race.
People who are affected by Institutional Racism experience it in both the social and political institutions of society, in such disparities as those regarding Employment, Housing, Health Care, the Criminal Justice System, and Education.
I have a theory: every now and again, someone has to set the reset button and that is exactly what happened. Prior to the crash, low and middle class Americans were enjoying their greatest prosperity since the great depression. The employment rate was at an all time high, the economy was booming, and low and middle class individuals had saved enough money to make a down-payment on their first home. The interest rate was at an all time low making loans more readily available to minorities. As a result, the Federal Reserve extended credit to the banks and lenders in the form of Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMS) and instructed them to offer this particular type of mortage to the low and middle class. The initial introductory rate on these ARMS were about 3% with an adjustment of up to 12% within 3, 5, or 7 years after the individual purchased their home. What made this dangerous was that the spike in interest rate would also increase the home owner's mortgage payment.
Today, thanks to the new, innovative advancement in technology, America is rebounding and Americans are going back to work. But still existing just below the surface is the threat of this same kind of institutional racism, recurring.
When is comes to health care, insurance companies were often in the practice of charging minorities a higher rate to obtain coverage than Caucasians. Minorities were sometimes turned down because they were perceived by the insurance companies as high risks for contracting diseases, such as, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer, or lived in a high crime neighborhood, etc. However, Obama Care came to the aid of minorities and low-income citizens stating in effect that they could no longer be denied health care insurance solely due to a preexisting condition, nor could they be treated unfairly because of an insurance company's bias against a particular race, nor have their existing coverage cancelled - leaving them uninsured. Now-a-days, the safeguards established by Obama Care are under a vicious attack mechanism and soon, minorities may find themselves right back in the very state they were pre- Obama Care.
Len Bias had been drafted the number one overall pick of the Boston Celtics and died from a drug overdose. His death spurred the lobbied and calculated enactment of a war on drug bill that has spawned a 700% increase in the incarceration rate, the highest since 1970. However, as members of Congress and even our former President Obama admitted that politicians and legislators got it wrong, minorities are still suffering inadequate representation and disproportionately lengthier sentences than Caucasians in similar situatuations in our Criminal Justice System.