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Editorial

Institutional Racism or Individual Acts

 

 

The only problem with institutional racism is that it does not exist in the United States today.  The ante-bellum South is the closest this country has ever come to institutional racism and it was destroyed.  Racism is an individual problem, however, collect enough racists and racism can be come institutionalized as we have seen here and various places around the world.  Contrary to the repeated assertions by various individuals and groups, the numbers show a different narrative.  At worst, society has individual racists acting within institutions

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The buzz of institutional racism focused on the deaths of young black menFreddie Gray brought the deaths of young black men at the hands of police to the national front burner.  George Floyd boiled the pot over.  As Jacoby Frey, the mayor of Minneapolis said, “Being black in America should not be a death sentence.” And he is right, but it is not a death sentence.

The fact that young black men are being killed with no, or little, provocation by police, as well as by one another, as reported by the FBI, is  appalling.  But it does not mean there is institutional racism.?

Institutional or systematic racism requires a program of racism that is supported by law and enforcement.  No city in this country, has laws or rules, stating “shoot young black men” and there is no evidence that police are enforcing such non-existent laws.

The numbers do not support the erroneous assertion of institutional racism.

What do the numbers show?

 The Washington Post, keeps a Fatal Force database that tracks police shootings.  Since 2015, 1298 blacks (total, not divided into categories of age or sex) have been killed by police.  These killings have taken place in every state in the Union.

There are over 800,000 police officers serving in those states.  Annually, there are 240 blacks, of all ages, killed by police.  Assuming that each death is caused by a different police officer, only three out of 10,000 police officers are responsible for killing a black person.  If there is institutional racism resulting in the death of young black man, it is being carried out by a very, very small group of police officers.  Nonetheless, there are no officers coming forward saying there is a mandate to shoot young black men.

The underlying tragedy of death should not be minimized.  There is terrible heartache associated with death by any means.  However, emotions do not validate the assertion of systematic or institutional racism.   Black males number over 21 million in the United States. Only 1 of every 100,000 black persons has been killed by police. To believe that the deaths are because of systematic racism is folly.  To believe that each death is the result of a racist officer is certainly more plausible and likely, but not necessarily true either.

Racism is a problem

Racism is a problem and it is an individual problem.  While it is maybe experienced throughout various parts of society (education, commerce, religion) it is not an institutional problem.  The solution is not to blame institutions that support a peaceful society by protecting liberty and private property. The solution is to prosecute individuals that commit lawless acts of violence against individuals and their property.  Hold individuals accountable for individual acts.

 

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