Developed by University of Florida sociology professor Joe Feagin, systemic racism is a popular way of explaining within the social sciences and humanities, the significance of race and racism both historically and in today’s society. According to Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice entitled “ Moving the Race Conversation Forward,” the systemic forms of institutional and structural racism are covert and less apparent. Institutional racism is
“The racist policies and discriminatory practices in schools, workplaces and government agencies, that routinely produce unjust outcomes for people of color” whereas structural racism is “ The unjust racist patterns and practices that play out across institutions that make up our society (Jay Smooth 2014).”
Many have wondered, is this really “a thing” or is it just that the group affected is being sensitive in certain circumstances? Yes. Systemic Institutional racism is definitely “ a thing.” As aforementioned, this particular form of racism is covert, so it is likely that if you are not affected, you may not notice it at all. Racism doesn’t always involve extreme acts of bigotry such as hate crimes, but more often than not involves micro-aggressions such as being ignored, ridiculed or treated differently because of ones racial background.
So, what exactly does in systemic institutional racism look or sound like in everyday practice?
“ The lady told me that if I wanted to work for her company, I couldn’t wear my hair in its natural state,” Harrell said.” Not even braids.’ She said.’ Nappy isn’t happy here.”
That is what Dana Harrell education and sociology major at Claflin University in Orangeburg, S.C., was told by her future employer during an internship interview, that if she wanted to move forward, she would have to straighten her hair (The Hair Hierarchy: Natural Hair Wearers still face discrimination 2016).
Here are a few of the numbers:
When charged with an identical crime, a black male is six times more likely to go to jail than a white male. In spite of being only 12 percent of the population, black people make up 38 percent of arrests for violent crimes. They are twice as likely to be victims to the threat or use of force by the police.
In the school system, Black children are three times more likely than white children to be suspended are. Even among preschoolers, of which black children make up 18 percent, they are nearly half of all out of school suspensions. Black students make up 39 percent of all expulsions, and over 70 percent of students referred to the police are either black or Hispanic.
In the workplace, Black college graduates are twice as likely to be unemployed as the college graduates overall. The jobless rate for black people has almost doubled that of white people for the last 60 years, and people with “black sounding names” need to send 50 percent more job applications than people with “ white sounding name” to get a call back.
To eradicate racism, its important to understand the different forms of racism that affect society whether you’re experiencing racial micro-aggressions or helping someone overcome the effects that it could have, staying educated on the issue can make a difference. Therefore, when someone says “Black Lives Matter,” it is not to say that “All Lives” do not matter. Nevertheless, it is bringing attention to those whose lives have been statistically proven to matter less than or not at all by society.