Racism perpetuated through social and political institutions, such as schools, courts, or the military, is institutional racism. Institutional racism, often known as systemic racism, differs from individual racism in that it can negatively affect the majority of persons in a racial group. Institutional racism can be found in various sectors, including wealth and income, criminal justice, employment, health care, housing, education, and politics.
The term “institutional racism” was introduced in 1967 by Stokely Carmichael (after known as Kwame Ture) and political scientist Charles V. Hamilton in their book “Black Power: The Politics of Liberation.” The book explores the root causes of racism in the United States and how traditional political procedures may be modified for the future. They claim that whereas individual racism is typically apparent, institutional racism is more difficult to detect since it is more subtle.
Slavery in the United States
Slavery, more than any other occurrence in American history, has made a significant impact on race relations. Enslaved people worldwide battled for independence by staging rebellions before the legislation to end slavery was implemented. During the civil rights struggle, their descendants fought against attempts to preserve racism.
Slavery persisted even after such legislation was passed. Black people in Texas were still enslaved two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
Racism in Medicine
Systemic racism has influenced health care in the United States in the past and remains so today, resulting in racial disparities. The Union Army denied many Black soldiers disability pensions in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Without the patients’ informed consent and providing sufficient treatment for their sickness, the Tuskegee Institute performed a syphilis study on 600 Black males in the 1930s (399 men with syphilis, 201 who did not).
Institutional racism in medicine and health care, on the other hand, is not often as well defined. Patients are frequently wrongly profiled and denied health treatment or medications. Monique Tello, M.D., MPH, a contributing editor to the Harvard Health Blog, wrote about a patient who was denied pain medication in an emergency room and blamed it on her race. “It is well-established that Blacks and other minority groups in the United States endure greater disease, worse outcomes, and earlier death than whites,” Tello said, that the woman was utterly right.
Race and World War II
In the United States, World War II marked both racial achievements and failures. On the one hand, it provided an opportunity for underrepresented groups such as Blacks, Asians, and Native Americans to prove that they have the skills and intellect required to flourish in the military. In response to Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, the federal government ordered the removal of Japanese
Americans from the West Coast and the imprisonment of those who remained loyal to the Japanese empire.
Years later, the US government issued an apology for the mistreatment of Japanese Americans. No Japanese Americans were found to be involved in espionage during WWII.
In July 1943, Vice President Henry Wallace spoke to a crowd of union members and civic groups as part of the “Double V” campaign. The Pittsburgh Courier’s Double Victory campaign, which began in 1942, served as a rallying cry for Black journalists, activists, and citizens to victory in the struggle against fascism abroad and racism at home.
Profiling based on race
Racial profiling has grown common, and it affects more than just the individuals involved. Three examples of racial profiling were revealed in a 2018 CNN report: the police being called on Black women who were supposedly playing golf too slowly, two Native American students who reportedly made a mother and her children frightened, and a Black student sleeping in a Yale dorm.
Racial profiling is “nearly second nature now,” according to Darren Martin, who worked in the White House under President Barack Obama. Martin described how a neighbor called the cops on him when he attempted to move into his apartment and how he is frequently requested to show what’s in his pockets when leaving a store, which he finds dehumanizing.
Furthermore, states like Arizona have been chastised and boycotted for seeking to pass immigration laws that civil rights activists claim have resulted in Latinos’ racial profiling.
• Racial Profiling in Policing
Researchers studied data from 4.5 million traffic stops in 100 North Carolina communities, according to Stanford News. Their study found that when stopping white or Asian drivers, police were “more inclined to search Black and Latinx motorists, employing a lower threshold of suspicion.” Despite the increased number of searches, the data revealed that officers were less likely to find illegal substances or weapons when searching for Black or Asian drivers.
• Racial Profiling in Education
In a 2019 article for Talon, Ernesto Bowen noted the publication of Colonial Forge High School in Virginia, “Regrettably, African-American youngsters encounter racism from preschool through college.” This assertion is supported by research. U.S. News & World Report quoted an ACLU research in 2020, which found: “Black pupils missed 103 days per 100 kids enrolled due to out-of-school suspensions, 82 days more than their white peers.” “Black boys lost 132 days per 100 enrolled pupils, and Black girls lost 77 days per 100 enrolled students.” “In Missouri, black children lost 162 days of school compared to white students. Hispanic pupils in New Hampshire lost 75 days more than white students. Native American pupils in North Carolina lost 102 days more than white peers.”
The Church, Race, and Intolerance
Racism has affected religious institutions as well. Several Christian groups have apologized for supporting Jim Crow and slavery, which discriminated against Black people. Christian organizations like the United Methodist Church and the Southern Baptist Convention have apologized in recent years for fostering racism.
Many churches have apologized for abandoning Black people and other minority groups and have moved to diversify their communities by appointing Black persons to significant positions. Despite these attempts, churches in the United States are still primarily segregated by race.
Many individuals and company owners use religion as an excuse to refuse service to specific groups, and churches aren’t the only ones in this situation. According to a poll conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, 15% of Americans feel that business owners have the right to refuse service to Black people if it conflicts with their religious views. 1 Man was more likely than women to favor this discrimination, and Protestants were more likely than Catholics to support it. Protestants who support race-based service denials have more than doubled since 2014, from 8% to 22% in 2019.
Abolitionists and suffragists, for example, have long been successful in overturning various forms of institutional racism. Several 21st-century social movements, such as Black Lives Matter, aim to address institutional racism in all aspects of society, from the law system to schools.