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Systemic Racism Is Long Gone
Regarding Paul Majkut’s letter concerning systemic racism (“Consider the Evidence,” Bar News, June 2022), he does not define systemic racism. Therefore, I will offer a definition.
Systemic racism is an organized structure of laws, rules, regulations, and institutional practices that enforce racism throughout the entire society. We have none of that today.
Instead, we have systemic anti-racism. There is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, fair housing laws, and a line of court cases exemplified by Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), and Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1 (1948), striking down racist discrimination. Shelley v. Kraemer nullified racist restrictive covenants in deeds by forbidding state courts from enforcing them. That was in 1948. Most people alive today were not even born then. We are a long way past any systemic racism.
It has been argued that disparity of income is evidence of racism. But there are other more likely reasons that explain disparity of income such as personal preferences for various jobs, aptitudes, work ethic, and cultural values.
There is disparity of income in the United States among racial groups. According to [recent PEW Research Center and] U.S. Census Bureau figures, there are racial groups of Americans who have higher median household incomes than white Americans. They [include] Indian (India) Americans, Filipino Americans, Japanese Americans, Chinese Americans, Pakistani Americans, and Korean Americans. So much for “white supremacy.”
African Americans are lowest at a median household income of $45,438, according to the Census Bureau figures. Thai Americans, Bangladeshi Americans, Nepali Americans, and Hispanic Americans are all ahead of African Americans. But does this mean that these groups of people of color are all practicing systemic racism against Black [people]? Probably not.
I am a white American and I left the practice of law some years ago to return to the family farm. My income fluctuates from year to year and often does not meet the national average. But does this mean that the groups ahead of me are practicing systemic racism against me? Probably not.
Income disparities alone do not support the argument for systemic racism.
Tom Stahl, Ellensburg
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