Why We Have to End Systemic Racism

Andrea Benito Chino, Staff Writer

Systemic Racism. Surprisingly, not many people know the term, but more people should. Systemic racism is racism that has infected, been integrated into, and institutionalized in our government, laws, and society. Systemic racism is everywhere and has been affecting the lives of people of color for centuries. As a community, we have to work together to end it, but first, we have to educate ourselves on what systemic racism is and why it’s negatively affecting the futures of many citizens of color and the future of this country.

Systemic”, according to Wikipedia, “refers to something that is spread throughout, affecting a group or system, such as a body, economy, market or society as a whole.All the definitions I found said pretty much the same thing, so Wikipedia is okay for now. The definition of “racism”, according to Merriam Webster Dictionary, is “a belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.” So, in summary, racism means you get put into a group based solely on what race you belong to and what you look like, AND NOTHING ELSE, you are judged and/or discriminated against. That is not fair in ANY WAY. 

Today, inequalities can be seen in education, employment, healthcare, criminal justice, and so much more. Although some laws have been eliminated that were based on racial discrimination, we still have a long way to go. As long as systemic racism still exists, we cannot advance as a community and civilization. 

Now let’s look into some examples. In education, black students are three times more likely to be suspended than white students, even if the infractions were similar in every way. Surprisingly, even in preschool, African American children make up 50% of suspensions. In preschool! What could a 4-5-year-old do to get suspended? I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of a single reason. There was also a study that found that African American boys as young as ten years old are seen to be much older and more “dangerous” than white boys of the same age.

In addition, unemployment rates for African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans are distinguishably higher than the national average. In fact, the black unemployment rate is double that of white people and has been that way for the last 60 years. 60 years! Also, one study showed that people applying to jobs had a 50% rate of being called back if they had a white-sounding name, rather than a black-sounding name. This would happen even if their resumes were exactly the same. How could anyone see that happen and think, “Yeah, that’s fine.” This is clearly not okay. 

Furthermore, African Americans in particular, face a lot of discrimination in healthcare. A 2012 study showed that doctors sometimes had biases against black patients, and so they faced discrimination when they were being treated. Black doctors also face discrimination and are less likely to receive government grants for research.

Despite the fact that different ethnic groups commit crimes at about the same rate, African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans are much more affected on every level of the criminal justice system. It’s sad to know that if an African American and a white person commit the same crime, the African American person has a greater chance of being arrested. In addition, if an African American person is convicted of a crime, they are 20% more likely to see longer jail time than if the same exact crime were to be done by a white person

Furthermore, in today’s society, suspicion of culpability can follow people of color for the rest of their lives. I’m mostly talking about inequalities faced by African Americans, but these issues and problems impact all minorities. If discrimination and racism continue, we won’t be able to grow and advance as a country. It’s disgusting to know that these types of things are still happening in today’s world. It’s the 21st century! We’re all supposed to be equal. So WHY aren’t we being treated as such? Why don’t people respect the lines that say, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.” ALL MEN. Not just white men, but African Americans, Latinos, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asians, and Pacific Islanders! Not just men, but women too. And people of all genders and identities. We should all be treated equally. As part of Generation Z, we have to work together to end systemic racism once and for all. We can do this. We have the power to change the world and we are history in the making.