Letter to the Editor: Racism is a hard malady to face
Systemic racism is rooted in laws and policies that are discriminatory. No society is perfect. A healthy society works together for the good of all. Denial is the sustaining strength of systemic racism.
In the Sept. 22 Echo Journal, a writer said: “America is not systemically racist.” I believe the writer said racism ended when slaves were freed at the end of the Civil War.
However, since that war, he noted that the racist “Ku Klux Klan and Jim Crow laws” were the fault of Democrats, not Republicans.
Apparently, racism did not end after the Civil War.
To be called a “racist” really is offensive. It should be. Sadly, I am a racist and will no longer deny it or hide from its damning indictment. I am a racist because I am white and have had privileges (like education, employment, housing, transportation, etc.) because of policies and laws that favor my skin color.
More troubling than an individual racist is a systemic racist society. Over time, when one race holds most of the decision-making power, it’s dominance gets to be institutionalized.
Robin DiAngelo in her book, “White Fragility” (p. 31), lists the percentage of white people who control our institutions (percentages are from 2016-17). Here is a sample: 10 richest Americans (100% white); U.S. Congress (90% white); U.S. governors (96% white); top military advisors (100% white); who decides which TV shows we watch (93% white); teachers (82% white); college professors (84% white); professional football team owners (97% white).
The basic driver for me in this conversation is the Apostle Paul’s observation about community. He said, “When one member suffers, we all suffer. When one rejoices, we all rejoice together.” (I Corinthians 12:26ff).
Systemic racism is rooted in laws and policies that are discriminatory. No society is perfect. A healthy society works together for the good of all.
Denial is the sustaining strength of systemic racism.