Does systemic racism exist?

Debate and discussion on racism and related issues

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Does systemic racism exist?

Post #1

Post by otseng »

Institutional racism (also known as systemic racism) is a form of racism that is embedded as normal practice within society or an organization. It can lead to such issues as discrimination in criminal justice, employment, housing, health care, political power, and education, among other issues.
"The collective failure of an organization to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture, or ethnic origin. It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour that amount to discrimination through prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness, and racist stereotyping which disadvantage minority ethnic people."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institutional_racism
Just as many Americans see no signs of “systemic racism” in our society. They feel no personal racial prejudice and point to civil rights legislation and court decisions that outlawed racial discrimination in government and the private economy. Although these Americans recognize that there are a few white supremacists in the country, their number is insignificant and that they are especially rare in our law enforcement agencies. In the rare instance when a law enforcement officer is found to be racist, that officer is normally disciplined and removed from the force.
https://calcoastnews.com/2020/09/the-my ... ic-racism/
I’ve had multiple conversations with white friends and acquaintances over the past several weeks and many of them have told me about their white friends, family members, neighbors and co-workers that don’t believe systemic racism is real. They thinks it’s a hoax, that it is a tool to blame white society for the ills of communities of color. They think we live in a colorblind society and that real racism died in the 1960s.
http://www.milwaukeeindependent.com/fea ... at-you-do/

For debate:

Does systemic/institutional racism exist in the US?

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Re: Does systemic racism exist?

Post #41

Post by otseng »

Purple Knight wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 2:47 pm Note: I don't believe any of this and it hurt me physically a little bit to write it.
There is a lot of truth to what you wrote. Probably the only major thing I would disagree with is that you don't believe it, because actually I do believe it.

Yes, systemic racism exists. But, as you pointed out, prejudice exists across the board, not just with race. More often, our collective prejudice is so accepted as normal that we don't give any thought to it or feel there's nothing that can be done about it. For example, at all the places I've worked at, the tendency is to promote the tall people. Yes, there exist some short leaders, but as a general rule, the ones that advance up the ladder tend to be the taller people. Is is fair? Probably not. But do people seem to really object to this? Not really, except for the short qualified people, who often are just dismissed anyways.

I think at the root of the problem is our concept of fairness. What is fair? Should things be fair? Who defines what is fair? Why should things be fair anyways? Probably an issue to be debated in another thread...

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Re: Does systemic racism exist?

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Post by Purple Knight »

otseng wrote: Sat Nov 14, 2020 8:48 amShould things be fair?
No; things should not be fair; things should be right.

This is at the root of why I don't believe any of that. I'm sorry that discrimination happens to redheads and fat people and ugly girls, and I understand that it sucks to be on the receiving end, but in discriminating against a redhead or a fat person or an ugly girl, you may have been rude or even hurtful, but you have committed no moral wrong. If it upsets you, just don't engage in it. If you think someone is ugly, and you own a business, it isn't wrong to hire someone else simply because you don't want ugly people around you. But it also isn't wrong to hire him if he's the best candidate.

Some things that hurt others are immoral, like murdering or stabbing them, and some things that hurt others are merely rude. (If this is not the case, you would be hard-pressed to argue that every time someone hurts someone else, no matter how, he has committed a moral wrong.)

I don't deny that the rude can rise to the level of truly horrible and it even goes without saying that some acts of rudeness are so horrible that the victims would obviously prefer getting stabbed or even murdered. Again, I'm sorry that it happens, but the honest truth is that you have to draw the line somewhere and this is it:

Discrimination on the basis of race is evil. Discrimination on the basis of minor qualities (like appearance) is rude, but it isn't morally wrong.

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Re: Does systemic racism exist?

Post #43

Post by otseng »

Purple Knight wrote: Sat Nov 14, 2020 11:54 pm Discrimination on the basis of race is evil. Discrimination on the basis of minor qualities (like appearance) is rude, but it isn't morally wrong.
But, isn't racial discrimination primarily based on appearance (skin color, hair, etc)? We identify race based on color (black, white). If I see someone, the only way I can guess their race is solely on appearance. Skin bleaching is used among blacks around the world in order to look more white. If a black person looks white, would she even experience racism?

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Re: Does systemic racism exist?

Post #44

Post by Purple Knight »

otseng wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 8:04 amBut, isn't racial discrimination primarily based on appearance (skin color, hair, etc)?
No. Frankly racists aren't that stupid. If you showed them an albino black person, they would treat him as a black person, not a white person.

Even so, discrimination based on appearance that results in racial discrimination is still evil. For example, if you didn't like black hair type and so you ended up discriminating against people with the wooly hair mutation and all black people. Arguably you could be ignorant of what you're doing (and perhaps not culpable for it if that's what you believe about ignorance) but you'd still be doing it.

It's about the nature of the act. If you took sand baths in kryptonite and hugged people it wouldn't be a problem until you hugged a Kryptonian and he was harmed or died.

And yes, I admit it's unfair that the person with wooly hair that suffers the exact same discrimination has had no moral wrong done to him. But a small amount of harm results from every action we might take, and you really do have to draw the line somewhere, and you can't protect everyone. Every time we draw a line we give some people recourse and leave others who suffered the same high and dry. And some people are going to disagree. Some people are going to fall back on their autistic "it's not fair" when we can't possibly be fair. Tough. Sucks to be them.

I may take a lot of flak for this position from the people who are actually on my side because the accepted argument is that the line is necessarily there because the black person suffers worse. The argument of choice is that a white person can't possibly understand how horrible it is to be discriminated against for being black. It's the stronger argument but the flaw is that it allows redheads and fat people and ugly girls to say the same. When they say they suffer some unimaginable degree of horror, you can't disprove that anymore than you can disprove the accepted argument that black people suffer worse.

My personal opinion is that the ugly girls suffer the worst. They will never be loved. They might be liked, but never loved. And more of them have committed suicide over bullying than people in any of these other categories.

Doesn't matter. One act is evil (racial discrimination) and one is not (discrimination based on appearance).

I find myself in a difficult position because I'm actually not sure if the other qualities that are protected, should be. In Michigan fat people are protected and that's wrong. I find myself also thinking sexual orientation shouldn't be protected because if you got fired for it, maybe you shouldn't be blabbing about all the sex you have while you're at work. I find myself thinking that if everyone does what they ought in the workplace, no one knows if you're gay or not.
otseng wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 8:04 amIf a black person looks white, would she even experience racism?
Yes. And it goes beyond the article where people express their racism to her even though they're putting her on the inside of the circle.

She still experiences discrimination, and it's still evil, because when they discriminate against her for something they think is an innocuous reason, they discriminate against a black person, and that's morally wrong.

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Re: Does systemic racism exist?

Post #45

Post by Tcg »

otseng wrote: Sat Nov 14, 2020 8:48 am
Yes, systemic racism exists. But, as you pointed out, prejudice exists across the board, not just with race. More often, our collective prejudice is so accepted as normal that we don't give any thought to it or feel there's nothing that can be done about it. For example, at all the places I've worked at, the tendency is to promote the tall people. Yes, there exist some short leaders, but as a general rule, the ones that advance up the ladder tend to be the taller people. Is is fair? Probably not. But do people seem to really object to this? Not really, except for the short qualified people, who often are just dismissed anyways.
I found this article to be of interest in light of your observations here:
Religious intolerance is 'bigger cause of prejudice than race', says report

Attitudes to faith said to drive negative perceptions more than ethnicity or nationality

Religion is the “final frontier” of personal prejudice, with attitudes to faith driving negative perceptions more than ethnicity or nationality, a report to be published tomorrow will say.

How We Get Along, a two-year study of diversity by the Woolf Institute, is due to conclude that most people are tolerant of those from different ethnic or national backgrounds, but many have negative attitudes based on religion.

Religion is a “red line” for many people, the study – based on a survey of 11,700 adults in England and Wales – will say. This is particularly so in the case of Muslims.

Almost three-quarters of non-black or Asian respondents said they were comfortable with a close relative marrying a black or Asian person, but only 43% were comfortable with a close relative marrying a Muslim.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/ ... ays-report
Of course in many cases an individual's religious adherence can be confused. Shortly after 911 a gas station in a small town not far from me suffered a short lasting boycott because the owners wore turbans. Residents assumed they were Muslims. They were in fact Sikhs.


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Re: Does systemic racism exist?

Post #46

Post by otseng »

Tcg wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 6:24 pm I found this article to be of interest in light of your observations here:
Created a separate thread to discuss this:
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=37829

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Re: Does systemic racism exist?

Post #47

Post by otseng »

Purple Knight wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 12:30 pm
otseng wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 8:04 amBut, isn't racial discrimination primarily based on appearance (skin color, hair, etc)?
If you showed them an albino black person, they would treat him as a black person, not a white person.

If he saw an albino black person, how would he tell he's black in the first place? Probably by other visual factors such as hair, facial features, etc. I'm simply saying appearance would be the primary factor in judging another person. It could be a wrong determination, like Tcg's example. But, it's visual cues that people use first to identify another person's race.

Few people would admit to being racist against blacks, esp in today's climate, so yes, racists aren't going to justify their biases based on skin color, but would try to find some other reason.
It's the stronger argument but the flaw is that it allows redheads and fat people and ugly girls to say the same.
Yes, that's what I'm trying to explore here. What is the difference between people who are judged for the color of their skin and any other physical appearance? I have my own ideas about this, but I think it's something worth exploring from different angles.
My personal opinion is that the ugly girls suffer the worst. They will never be loved. They might be liked, but never loved. And more of them have committed suicide over bullying than people in any of these other categories.
I remember in fourth grade, there was this "ugly" girl in the class who was constantly harassed by others. One day, she brought in a record to play. And immediately kids started just blatantly scratching her record. The other kids kept laughing as more kids kept scratching her record. And I don't remember any other kids records getting scratching up by a mob, including black kids.

Is the experience ugly girls go through just rude or also on the level of moral evil?
I find myself in a difficult position because I'm actually not sure if the other qualities that are protected, should be. In Michigan fat people are protected and that's wrong.
That's interesting, never heard of that. So I looked it up.... Yep, it's true:

Plus sized? Michigan law protects employees who are overweight.

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Re: Does systemic racism exist?

Post #48

Post by Purple Knight »

otseng wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 10:08 amIf he saw an albino black person, how would he tell he's black in the first place? Probably by other visual factors such as hair, facial features, etc. I'm simply saying appearance would be the primary factor in judging another person. It could be a wrong determination, like Tcg's example. But, it's visual cues that people use first to identify another person's race.
I'm not denying that visual cues are used to help the racist determine who he will discriminate against; I'm saying that if you presented a racist with a black person flawlessly surgically altered to look white and a DNA test, the racist would side with the DNA test. If you doubt this I'll happily post the question on Stormfront and we can all see what they say. (You might get the answer that a black person who would do such a thing and lose access to his privilege - they believe the black people are the ones with privilege - doesn't deserve to be discriminated against, but other than that they will side with the DNA test.)
otseng wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 10:08 amYes, that's what I'm trying to explore here. What is the difference between people who are judged for the color of their skin and any other physical appearance? I have my own ideas about this, but I think it's something worth exploring from different angles.

I remember in fourth grade, there was this "ugly" girl in the class who was constantly harassed by others. One day, she brought in a record to play. And immediately kids started just blatantly scratching her record. The other kids kept laughing as more kids kept scratching her record. And I don't remember any other kids records getting scratching up by a mob, including black kids.

Is the experience ugly girls go through just rude or also on the level of moral evil?
I've seen the same, and unfortunately for them, it's simple rudeness. What was done to that girl, and every other ugly girl, that we've both probably seen a hundred times, is not evil. It's not a "sin" if you will. At some point you have to give that as your answer and it's done. We do this with murder. It's just evil and that's the end of it. I see no problem with doing that same with racism. In fact, in modern day, I would bet good money that more people would say racism is inherently evil than would say so for murder.

This is simply an instance where the morally correct thing isn't fair, and it doesn't have to be. Both religious and secular logic about morality are filled with these instances and this is the one where you'd have the most agreement (if people were being honest, anyway).
otseng wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 10:08 amThat's interesting, never heard of that. So I looked it up.... Yep, it's true:

Plus sized? Michigan law protects employees who are overweight.
And it's wrong. It's not immoral to fire someone for being fat; it's just rude. Granted it's immature playground levels of rude, but you have a right to be rude. That right doesn't disappear just because you're somebody's boss.

Just examine what would happen if you didn't have a right to be rude. Then, everyone who was offended by anything would be able to stop you from doing it. Ultimately no one would be able to do anything because someone can always be upset. I wouldn't fire Rotundo just for being fat, but I can't push my preferences on others and force them to behave like I want them to.

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Re: Does systemic racism exist?

Post #49

Post by otseng »

Purple Knight wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 2:32 pm
otseng wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 10:08 amYes, that's what I'm trying to explore here. What is the difference between people who are judged for the color of their skin and any other physical appearance? Is the experience ugly girls go through just rude or also on the level of moral evil?
I've seen the same, and unfortunately for them, it's simple rudeness. What was done to that girl, and every other ugly girl, that we've both probably seen a hundred times, is not evil. It's not a "sin" if you will.

In fact, in modern day, I would bet good money that more people would say racism is inherently evil than would say so for murder.

It's not immoral to fire someone for being fat; it's just rude.
Disregarding what classifies as evil or sinful, I think we can agree it's not a good thing to disrespect others, esp when it's based solely on appearance, whether it's scratching an ugly girl's record or firing a fat woman or calling a black person a nigger. At a minimum, all these things are rude. But, the question then is why would racism be considered worse than judging fat and ugly people?

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Re: Does systemic racism exist?

Post #50

Post by Kylie »

AgnosticBoy wrote: Tue Sep 08, 2020 12:26 pm [Replying to Bust Nak in post #14]

Like I said before, in a racist system, Blacks could not live successful lives. Many Blacks live successfully, therefore there is no racist system.

You made an absolute claim earlier when you said ALL Blacks are disadvantaged compared to Whites. Will you at least admit that some Blacks are at a better advantage than poor Whites or even uneducated Whites? Why is that so hard to acknowledge?!

In fact not acknowledging that could be considered racist.
No, in a system that is racist against Black people, they can still be just as successful as white people, even more so. But in order to achieve equivalent success as a white person, a black person must overcome more.

Systematic racism doesn't mean that black people can't achieve success. It means they have to work harder to achieve the same success as a white person.

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