Individual, Institutional, and Systemic Racism

18 Jan

We had an auspicious beginning to our course this year. And, understandably, it is difficult to understand how whiteness functions. Can you think of ways that whiteness perpetuates racism at the institutional and systemic level, while remaining invisible to individuals who are White? You may need to do a bit of research, but I am attaching a presentation from a dear colleague, Eileen O’Brien, who is one of the leading scholars of whiteness studies:

Critical White Studies

4 Replies to “Individual, Institutional, and Systemic Racism

  1. Whiteness is used so white people can gain an advantage over black people. An example of invisible whiteness is mandatory minimums. Black people have suffered a lot from the “1 to 100 rule”. This rule makes 1 gram of crack cocaine and 100 grams of powder cocaine receive the same sentence. Crack cocaine is typically associated with black people because it is cheaper, while powder cocaine is almost exclusive to white people. This rule disproportionately affected black people and gave them longer stints in prison.

  2. An example of invisible whiteness is job/privilege opportunities. For example, in the NFL, seventy percent of the players are black out of 32 teams. There are zero black owners in the NFL, while there are only seven black people that are head coaches in the NFL. I can understand that everyone regardless of the color of their skin, works hard to achieve success in life, but white people are presented more leadway and opportunities more frequently than black people. It has been that way for so long in America, sometimes white people are blinded by the fact that they can get a high class job much easier just because of the skin of their color and who they are perceived to be. That is why the NFL does not have an equal amount of black and white head coaches and owners.

  3. One major issue that has been going on in New York for the past couple of years is the Stop and Frisk. Many cases of Stop and Frisk have gone to court because many of the people that have been harassed by Stop and Frisk have found themselves treated unconstitutional by police. For those that are not familiar with Stop and Frisk, Stop and Frisk is the practice used mainly by New York Police that allows them to stop any person briefly and search them for weapons or drugs. The reason that this topic came to me me when thinking about whiteness is because white people are rarely ever stoped by offers for stop in frisk. I believe the police normalize stoping and searching a black men that just because there skin color matches the suspect that they are looking for when in fact no white people are stoped because they are white.

  4. I agree with Joel and how whiteness is very prevalent in the judicial system and how blacks are penalized more harshly and at a higher rate than whites are for the same exact crimes. But also whiteness is very prevalent within the United States education system. In most elementary, middle, and high schools the white people are presented as clear cut, innocent people who founded this nation through diplomacy. The reality of it is that the U.S. has a very violent history and the white man is the culprit of the violence. The Native Americans were massacred throughout the beginning of this nation. This nation itself was built off of slave labor. The people in power today present this false narrative that the white founding fathers built this nation but in reality, black people are the ones who built it. The only thing taught in our education system is the history of white people. Very rarely is black history taught.

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