Facing Systemic Racism: Does it Exist?

By: De’zha Boyton

Systemic racism is racism within the government. It has to do with how people are treated compared to other races in regards to the government and how people with power treat African Americans to ensure that they are oppressed in America and aren’t able to get out of poverty. Ta-Nehisi Coates, and the NAACP say institutional racism is so deeply embedded into  our society that it has become the way of life.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, and the NAACP believe that systemic racism is an issue in America and should be fixed. Ta-Nehisi Coates believes that systemic racism is deeper than we think. It’s always been there and nothing will ever change about it.  Systemic Racism is important because it is the root of all problems that Black Lives Matters focuses on. It is the reason for police discrimination and media discrimination.

This narrative will talk about systemic racism and the people who are against Systemic Racism, and what Black Lives Matters should focus on. The Black Lives Matter movement should focus on systemic racism in society because that is the root of all the other problems, anything else cannot create a long-lasting solution, and contributes to the poverty cycle.

Ta-Nehisi Coates is an American  author, journalist, and educator. In his book, Between the World and Me, he speaks of systemic racism in society and how society treats young black men. As a correspondent for The Atlantic, Coates writes about politics, culture, and current social issues. He believes that systemic racism is a very serious problem in America. He is outspoken about his beliefs and tries to instill all of his knowledge into his 15 year old son, Samori Coates. He also is an Alumnus of Howard University, a historically black university.

Coates  speaks in his book about seeing a library full of books about and by black people which caused him to realize just how eurocentric our society is. Every other library in America, Not including the Historically Black Colleges/Universities (HBCU), is filled with books focusing solely on white people. Coates believes that systemic racism exists in America and should be corrected.

In his article, School as Wonder, or Way Out, for The New York Times, Coates describes his experiences with education growing up. He wrote: “I was a black boy at the height of the crack era, which meant that my instructors pitched education as the border between those who would prosper in America, and those who would be fed to the great hydra of prison, teenage pregnancy and murder.”At a young age, Coates was forced to face the fact that the people in power around him expected him to fail as an adult because of his relationship with the education system in his neighborhood

His motivation came from where he lived. It came from what he had been through as a young child. The willfulness to help his son understand that being a black man in America comes with the discrimination, comes with the target on his back because of the color of his skin, and that racism lies deeper than the surface.

Ta-Nehisi Coates is influenced “largely by but not totally, historians”  as he said on Twitter,  six months ago. These people are powerful, as he states in his books. He’s read every book in the Moorland-Springarn Research Center at Howard University written by Black Historians. This is important because it shows how a system such as a University can also be biased based off its history. Normally it would be a library full of books written by white authors but this library was full of books written by black authors and historians.

An organization that is against systemic racism is the National Association for the Advancement of  Colored People (NAACP).  An organization that started in 1909 by W.E.B Dubois, the NAACP focuses on the advancement of colored people specifically blacks in America, And racial equality in America.

According to the Tennessean, The NAACP believe that systemic racism is “a system of advantage and privilege based on one’s race, it is systemic in nature and is interconnected and intertwined with other systems.” This is proof that systemic racism is from one race believing that they are inferior in different systemic settings such as: Economic, Social, Housing, Education and Healthcare. Systems that should be totally unbiased have been biased and racist.

NAACP’s motivation comes from the slavery times. With the struggles of the Black community, The NAACP was founded on making african americans feel equal within biased systems.

In media such as the news, stories of traumatic events are covered differently. As another part of our societal system, so the news also can be very biased. The Charleston Shooter, Dylann Roof, Killed nine African American people in a historically black church after he was taken care of and accepted into their church home. After the shooting, Roof was taken out of the church home in a bulletproof vest.

On the other hand, Trayvon Martin was walking down the street completely unarmed, only had skittles along with an Arizona in his hand and with his hood on his head and was shot and killed By a “Security Officer” named George Zimmerman. Fox News covers each story completely different.

Trayvon’s case gets absolutely ignored by Fox News. While the Dylann Roof vs. South Carolina case was “scrambled to be justified as not a hate crime” by the one and only Fox News. This is clearly a result of racial bias. A black man gets gunned down in a city for being suspicious or accused of having a weapon and their news story is either bogus, fake, or doesn’t exist. Martin, who did not even commit a crime, is blamed for his own murder, because he is black. But when Roof, a white man, shoots up a historically black church, he gets special treatment and a bulletproof vest strapped across his chest to protect him, because he is white.

In Ferguson, blacks are more likely to be stopped, searched, and arrested more than whites. A systemic form that should be completely unbiased and is designed to protect and serve its community is racist and feeds off of discrimination




Another form of discrimination is blacks being killed during/or after arrest by police officers. Systemic racism has a lot to do with police officers and how blacks are treated by police officers.


In New York,  Blacks are stopped and frisked  more than any other race. Again, a system that’s meant to protect and serve the community is protecting and serving one race and completely forgets about the other races. Stop and Frisk is when an officer stops a person and asks to search them. Mostly because they are suspicious. Blacks are stopped by officers sometimes for walking down the street with a hoodie on. This is connected to systemic racism because Police is a form of a system in America and is one of the most noticeable systems within communities all over the USA.
In conclusion, the Black Lives Matter movement should focus on systemic racism in society because that is the root of all the other problems, anything else cannot create a long-lasting solution, and contributes to the poverty cycle. Systemic racism is what started it all. The way news coverage is being covered, and the way police are treating African Americans. If the Black Lives Matter movement focuses on systemic racism, the movement will combat all the other underlying issues.


Artist Statement


The Media Portrayal of Young Black Men: Victim Blaming

Facing Systemic Racism: Does it Exist?

Exposing Injustice: The Role of the Police

Annotated Works Cited: What should the Black Lives Matter Movement Focus On Next


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Amanda Levin says:

    As a result of your research and readings , what do you think would be the most effective way for the Lack Lives Matter movement to address systemic racism in our society?


  2. Jae says:

    You did a good job researching this topic.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s