Systemic racism is the racist effect that arises from bias built into the structure of a system. It’s the rules, policies and practices of a system that create such bias. In such a system, if you were able to get rid of all of the racists within it, you would continue to have a negative impact on a racialized group.
In the justice system, for example, we emphasize the importance of having a place to live in order to get bail, but if you’re homeless, or move from relative to relative, the easy conclusion is that you have no fixed address, and therefore have few ties to the community, and will be difficult to find if you miss court.
You will more likely be kept in custody pending trial, and therefore more likely to plead guilty to a criminal charge (even if you didn’t do it), and develop a criminal record early on in life, which will result in your being denied bail or being sentenced to incarceration more easily in the future.
The result…higher incarceration rates for the group to which you belong.
Murray, that is so insightful and is an example that no one would ever think of. Thank you for helping me to think more clearly in everything I do.
By the way, I would love to have lunch or dinner with you sometime if you ever have the time when you were in Winnipeg. I am looking forward to hearing your son, Niihau, speaking at the Rossbrook House fundraising dinner on January 24. I understand that’s your birthday.
Proud Manitoban and Canadian
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