A few months ago, when my dad was looking over a draft of my post on the racist writings on my family’s car and in my neighborhood, he said something along the lines of, “This post is fine, but one thing you haven’t addressed on your blog is institutional racism.”
He was right. I haven’t addressed that topic yet. It’s also a topic that’s important to address, in large part because institutional racism is often ignored or denied.
But what is institutional racism, and how do I plan to address this topic?
Most definitions, including mine, would describe institutional racism as racism that is practiced and sometimes even normalized by social, economic, governmental, and other institutions. Institutional racism could be subtle or overt, but one reason why I think many people deny the existence of institutional racism is because it is often so subtle.
My blog post series hopes to show that institutional racism exists, and that it exists in so many areas of our daily lives. I hope to do this through a series of four posts over the next few months: one on how it affected where my family lives, one on how it changed where my brother and I went to school, one on how it affected how I was policed (especially compared to most people in the majority-minority neighborhood I’m in), and one on how it affected my college experience.
I believe in making the case for the existence of institutional racism through parts of my own experiences because I believe that my stories, and the larger factors that play into my stories, are a few examples of the institutional racism I frequently hear about.
While institutional racism has affected me, I emphasize that, by-in-large, the institutional racism has been to my advantage as a white person, and to the disadvantage of people who are not white or are not labeled as white.
Some of my readers may already be on board with the idea that institutional racism exists, and some of my readers may even be able to cite personal examples of institutional racism helping or hurting themselves (or people they care about). However, I also hope that people who are skeptical of, or deny, the existence of institutional racism can see through my personal experiences that it does exist in the 21st century, in the United States of America.