Supreme Court: Institutional Racism Is Real

First, racists are usually not dumb enough to leave records of their prejudice. They find some other reason to fire the employee, or keep the family out of the neighborhood.

Second, and more importantly, discrimination is often systemic and structural, not individual. Often, not only is there no smoking gun, but there’s often no individual “bad actor.” Even neutral requirements—a high-school diploma for employment, a family-size limit for housing—can have huge de facto discriminatory effects, which may or may not be intentional.

For example, why is it that, even today, there is a 33 percent economic differential between blacks and whites? Is it because corporations are racist and won’t hire African Americans for higher paying jobs?

Mostly, no. Over 80 percent of the time, as Harvard economist Roland Fryer has shown, it’s because black applicants lack the very specific skills to get the better job—and that’s because communities of color are woefully undereducated in underperforming schools. Indeed, the best predictor of one’s subsequent economic success is one’s skill level in eighth grade.

That’s the kind of structural racism that disparate impact reasoning addresses. You might not find any individual racist, but the system is stacked against people of color. That’s how privilege and oppression are maintained—not by villains like Dylann Roof, but by silent, macroeconomic factors that are structural in nature.

More here (Daily Beast)


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