Does Systematic Racism Exist in America Today?

Systemic racism is definitely impacting this world, but it may not be the way that you think.

Systemic racism is definitely impacting this world, but it may not be the way that you think.

Nick Sauers, Writer

Systemic racism. This phrase is thrown around all the time by many journalists, news sources, and other people to describe the current situation in the United States. Certain events that happen in our country are said to have supposed roots to systemic racism and implications of discrimination against a certain race or ethnic group.

What is systemic racism? Definitions of this term vary, but the basis is set on racism that is applied to everyday institutions. Some examples of systemic topics include employment, income, and housing.

Anyone can claim systemic racism is occurring in a situation that involves the status of a person of one race compared to the status of another. But is systemic racism really occurring just because one person’s current wellbeing is better than that of a singular person of a different race?  

The most widespread idea that relates to this topic is that African Americans are being discriminated against in society and that caucasians, because of their skin color, get more out of life. Radical organizations, such as “Black Lives Matter” will argue that the Black population needs more because they have been suppressed by Whites. 

But does race really determine opportunity? Perhaps the greatest part about our country is that anyone, regardless of background, can become anything they want to be. Under our wonderful system of capitalism, your successfulness in life is determined by how much work you put into your goals. We live in a country that was built on the principle of equal opportunity for all, which means that if you have dedication and determination to achieve your dreams, there are no limits to what you can become.

Some may argue that whites are better off because they have more access to essential things in life, such as education and employment. However, there may be evidence to prove this idea false, when affirmative action is considered. Affirmative action is defined as allowance for certain groups that have been discriminated against in previous times.

The most common example of affirmative action is differences in scores on college tests. Some universities will make allowances for the scores on the SATs, arguing that certain minority groups need the extra points because of their past discrimination. A 2009 book created by Princeton sociologists featured a study about affirmative action and the points given to different races because of background. For instance, according to the study, African Americans will usually get around a 310-point bonus, along with Hispanics who will usually get a 130-point bonus. But what about the Caucasian and Asian populations? The Caucasian population will not get any points added or deducted and Asian population can actually receive a 140-point penalty.

There are still such allowances that are being made at certain colleges. In 2019, Harvard actually had a lawsuit filed against them for making these allowances. Some may argue that this is acceptable because African Americans and Hispanics are benefitting over Whites and Asians, but by definition, this is still racism because certain groups are being discriminated against because of their ethnic background. Some people fail to understand that racism can still occur even if its direction does not fit the current narrative. This is evidence of systemic racism, however not so much on the groups that are being emphasized by the media.

Whether you believe systemic racism is occurring or not, this should not stop you from exercising your right in pursuit of happiness. Success is not about what you have, it is about how much you are willing to work to get what you do not have. The idea that a certain race cannot achieve what another one can is extremely pessimistic because it implies that a certain race is better than another. If you start every day feeling like you cannot accomplish what you want because of someone else’s status, you are only letting yourself down, because you are giving in to the false notion that a certain color of skin is essential for success. 

It is true, however, that some people may have to work harder than others to get where they want to be in life. The fact of the matter is that everyone starts from a different place. For instance, a person who grows up in poverty may have to work harder than a person from a more economically stable area. In reality, though, you cannot control where you start, but if you start welcoming your unlimited opportunity, you can definitely control where you are going.

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