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Commentary

Social Justice 101: Debunking the Left's New Favorite Boogeyman, 'Systemic Racism'

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In America in 2020, everything is accused of being racist thanks to a new term created by the far left — “systemic racism.”

Unless you follow the strict set of codes laid out by left-wing academics, according to the neo-Marxist left, you are either racist or complicit in protecting the forces of modern-day racism.

Although racism is traditionally defined as prejudice or discrimination against a person based solely on their race, in more recent years, left-wing activists and academics have given the word a new definition, describing it as an unseen force that is “systemic” in society.

Here’s everything you need to know about the philosophy behind the concept of “systemic racism” and its many logical fallacies:

Defining “Systemic Racism”

“Systemic racism” is essentially a blanket term that covers any institutions, policies or practices of any sort that create disparate outcomes for racial or ethnic minorities.

Robin DiAngelo, perhaps the most prominent left-wing academic promoting the philosophy of “systemic racism,” defines the term in exactly this way.

In an interview with The Guardian, DiAngelo, the author of “White Fragility,” explained her redefinition of the word. It isn’t just racial prejudice; it’s prejudice plus her perception of group power.

“We have to stop thinking about racism simply as someone who says the N-word,” she said. “This book is centered in the white Western colonial context, and in that context white people hold institutional power.”

New Discourses, a site created for those opposed to political correctness and the various ideologies of social justice, explained why this redefining of the word is so troubling.

Is America an inherently racist society?

“A key point to register here is that, while the usual definition of racism is partially recognized within Critical Social Justice, under its purview, ‘racism’ means something different, or at least something more — and more vague. Racism has been re-defined as a system. It’s not an action or a disposition,” the article read.

“‘Racism,’ then, is a Trojan-Horse term because it is a powerfully morally salient term — one of the most morally salient in contemporary society — and yet it doesn’t mean what most people think it means. It is very different to be associated with some vague system of power than it is to intentionally engage in bigoted attitudes and actions against someone based upon facts about their racial, ethnic, or national origin.”

The article also noted that according to this definition, racism is “explicitly connected to white people” and that “white people cannot possibly escape” being racist. Even agreeing with the term and becoming an active “antiracist” only begins with a white person “engaging with one’s own inherent complicity in racist systems.”

“For DiAngelo, the goal isn’t to cease being racist, which is impossible; it is to ‘be less white.'”

Examples of Supposed “Systemic Racism”

For academics such as DiAngelo, any achievement gaps between white and black Americans are examples of “systemic racism.” They don’t take any time to examine these problems for any other possible causes; in their minds, every problem uniquely faced by minority communities is the fault of white America and historical racism.

Perhaps the most prominent example used today is the higher percentage of police shootings of black Americans than white Americans.

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This disparity, however, is not caused by racial bias or a racist system. Instead, it is due to the fact that African-Americans have a higher number of encounters with police, as the previous installment of Social Justice 101 covering Black Lives Matter pointed out.

Another example of “systemic racism” often cited by progressives is the lending practices of banks and other financial institutions. Thomas Sowell, a prominent economist and philosopher, explained why this reasoning is faulty in an article for the Los Angeles Daily News.

“The practice of not lending in some neighborhoods was demonized as ‘redlining’ and the fact that minority applicants were approved for mortgages only 72 percent of the time, while whites were approved 89 percent, was called ‘overwhelming’ evidence of discrimination by the Washington Post. Some people are more easily overwhelmed than others, especially when they find statistics that seem to fit their preconceptions. But if we do what politicians and the media seldom bother to do – stop and think – an entirely different picture emerges,” Sowell wrote.

“In our personal lives, common sense leads us to avoid some neighborhoods. If you want to call that ‘redlining,’ so be it. But places where it is dangerous to go are often also places where it is dangerous to send your money. As for racial differences in mortgage loan application approval rates, that does not tell you much if you are comparing apples and oranges. Income, credit history and net worth are just some of the things that are very different from one group to another.”

Sowell went on to point out that while white people are more likely to receive a mortgage loan than black people, Asian-Americans are more likely to obtain a loan than white people.

Most proponents of “systemic racism” would not likely cite this as an example of “Asian privilege,” however, even though that would be logically consistent.

“Systemic Racism” Is An Easy Answer to a Complex Problem

Every ethnic community in America faces its own unique problems; the black community is no different.

When looking at the problems that afflict the black community, social justice scholars and racist white supremacists make the same mistake: They blame a multi-faceted problem on one unproven, dogmatic belief.

Whereas white supremacists believe that black underachievement is due to genetic deficiencies, social justice scholars believe that the same underachievement is due to unseen forces of racism that are inherent in white people and any institution that is made up mostly of white people. Both of these analyses are incorrect — and racist.

Every ethnic group in America has its own advantages and disadvantages.

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Charles Negy, a psychology professor at the University of Central Florida who studies behavioral differences between different racial and ethnic groups, told The Western Journal as much back in June, explaining that pointing out these differences is not racist, but rather a means of finding solutions to the various problems that each community faces.

The term “systemic racism” ignores these differences and blames America’s supposedly racist institutions for every single problem that the black community faces.

In doing so, the scholars and activists pushing this strange redefinition of racism are only making it harder for the rest of us to find real solutions to those problems.

Come back next Sunday for another installment of Social Justice 101 — how members of the far-left use the term “privilege” to promote racism, sexism and other forms of bigotry.

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Michael Austin joined The Western Journal as a staff reporter in 2020. Since then, he has authored hundreds of stories, including several original reports. He also co-hosts the outlet's video podcast, "WJ Live."
Michael Austin joined The Western Journal as a staff reporter in 2020. Since then, he has authored hundreds of stories, including several original reports. He also co-hosts the outlet's video podcast, "WJ Live."
Birthplace
Ames, Iowa




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