Thoughts on Racism in America

Racism isn’t a cohesive ideology, but a set of backwards policies and systems that don’t have anyones best interests at heart.

I recently opened the morning newspaper to see an article titled:

“Mayor [Blank] vows to take a stand against Racists”

And it suddenly hit me how incredibly absurd that statement is. So I thought I would run with it and try and unpack why I think that is in the following post.

The fundamental thesis I want to impress upon you guys in this post is as follows:

‘Racism’ is not an ideology with ardent followers, and ‘Racists’ are not a cohesive group of people. ‘Racism’ in the 21st century USA is a system built up over many years, with a myriad of political and economic drivers.

We need to target those drivers to effectively accomplish anything. Take a stand against policies, not a word.

I am certainly not saying that people who are really racist don’t exist, nor that groups like the KKK don’t exist. What I mean is that in the current cultural context, being actively racist is a fringe position with very few actual followers, and the impact of the followers of this ideology absolutely pales in comparison to the impact of twisted policies that institutionalize class immobility and police brutality.

Listen, I WISH it was simple, I wish that there was a discrete ideology that could be stamped out to erase racial prejudice and give everyone an equal footing in America, that there was a way to effectively stand against all of ‘racism’ or ‘racists’ in a meaningful way. I do not think this is the case.

Democrats are spreading a narrative that Republican or Trump = Racist, but that’s just not the case. Electing a democratic president clearly won’t erase racism. Eight years of Obama did not end racial prejudice in America, so clearly the issue is not a partisan one.

Other leftist groups are painting a narrative that White Person = Racist. There is no simple sociological line that could be drawn in the sand where on one side stand racists and on the other non-racists, but it’s not like that. White folks are grandfathered in to a system that cares about them, for the most part, and so they are at worst being complicit in allowing our government to continue creating antiquated and unfair policies.

Being ready to ‘Take a stand against Racists’ is like taking a stand against climate change, rape, or heart disease. In the case of heart disease, there is no cohesive force going around giving older adults heart disease, no gang of dangerous enemies poisoning the water and infecting our hearts in such a way that we are slowly killed. Instead, there is a network of factors that conspire to create an environment in a city, state, country, that creates higher levels of this condition. There might be less focus on healthy eating in that area, less filtration in the local reservoir, lack of resources and economic retraction. Racism and Racial prejudice is the same thing — a complex system of harmful variables, ironically one that similarly eats at our hearts over the years.

It comes from systems, it comes from the social contract that is governing America. Our government, arguably for the last 65 years, has been actively perpetuating a culture of racial prejudice through supporting systems that are built for economic maximization and not for wellbeing of our population. If you do not have the money and the time to go and vote, then you are not considered a valuable member of society in the US. If you do not have the money to pay for your own healthcare essentially out of pocket, then you will die or be ejected from society in a 3rd rate nursing home. This is why our society is in upheaval, because our societal contract has been exposed as not benefiting the majority of Americans, African Americans primarily so.

This isn’t about race. It’s about the same thing humans have been fighting with each other over since we drew the first line of charcoal in a fire-lit cave. It’s about property. Money. Power. Options. Freedom. Our current government does not care about African Americans because they simply put, do not represent an active or affluent voting block.

Take a stand against some of the policies and systems that have stripped many people in our society of freedom and a real chance at happiness. Support programs and politicians that have the wellbeing of all Americans at heart. That, I believe, is how you can take a stand against racism or racial prejudice.

Thanks for reading. Alex Zito-Wolf

Product Manager + Software Developer. Interested in Travel, Culture, and the Internet.