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What is 'Systemic Racism'?

4 ½ min

If there is one thing which is currently obsessing large swathes of the ideologically globalized world, it is the scourge of systemic racism. It is a matter of unquestioned dogma that such systemic racism is widespread and that it must be purged from society. To question this unquestionable dogma is a heresy which is punishable by the unleashing of the lynch mob. This being so, and playing the fool who rushes in where wise men fear to tread, let’s investigate the matter employing the lost faculty of dispassionate reason and commencing with the forgotten art of defining our terms.

Let’s begin with racism itself. It is the judging of a person on the basis of his race or skin color, or the judging of a whole people on the basis of its race or skin color. It is, furthermore, the allowing of such judgment to transcend, subvert, or supersede all other considerations. Racism, as defined, is an unmitigated evil. From a Christian perspective, it violates the inviolable dignity of every human person as being made in the image of God, and breaks the great commandment of Christ that we love our neighbor.

So far, so good.

Systemic racism is the systemic practice of racism by institutions. Examples of systemic racism would be slavery, segregation in the South, and apartheid in South Africa. Examples of systemic anti-racism would be the abolitionist movement, the civil rights movement, and the anti-apartheid movement. Examples of enforced systemic anti-racism would be the Civil War, insofar as this was a conflict fought on the issue of slavery, and the busing of students in the 1970s to enforce the desegregation of schools.

Having differentiated between systemic racism and systemic anti-racism, it is clear that we live in a systemically anti-racist culture. Racism is illegal within the systems and institutions of this country, and, for that matter, in many other countries in the world. If a police officer or a school teacher behaves in a racist manner, the rules require him to be summarily dismissed. Insofar as there is systemic training, in police departments, schools, and businesses, it is anti-racist training. There is no police department, school district, government department, or business which condones racism, and it is preposterous to suggest that any of these institutions have racist training programs.

Insofar as there is systemic discrimination on racial grounds, it is what is called positive discrimination or affirmative action in favor of minorities. In its mildest form, it is choosing to employ the non-white candidate for a position over equally qualified white candidates; in its more potent form, it is choosing to discriminate in favor of non-white candidates, even if they are not as qualified as their white counterparts. This sort of systemic racial discrimination in favor of minorities has been widely practiced in both the public and private sectors of the economy for many years.

It is no doubt true, of course, that racism still exists in individuals in police departments and other institutions, but it does so in spite of the systemic anti-racism which does exist and not because of the systemic racism which doesn’t.

The real problem is that those who cry loudest about systemic racism are not referring to real concrete systems, in the sense of real institutions that exist, but about the whole “system” of civilization as defined by Marxist ideological dogma. The only difference from old school Marxism is that this new-breed of Marxists is comfortable with global capitalism, in the sense that they hate those who resist globalism, and have directed their hatred instead against anything tainted with the “European” past. Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms are racists because they are part of the European cultural “system”; every artist from Giotto to Cézanne is a racist because they are also part of the “system”; Dante, Dickens, and Dostoyevsky are racists. The “systemic racism” which these radicals seek to destroy is nothing less than the past itself, or at least any aspect of it which can be accused of the heinous crime of being tainted in any way with the unforgivable sin of being “European.”

At the root of this arrant nonsense is an inhuman understanding of history and the human person derived from philosophies that see reality in terms of systems and deterministic processes. Hegel and his disciple Marx saw history as an almighty mechanism and people merely as disposable cogs in the machine. This is why Marxists have happily killed tens of millions of people in the quest to perfect a social “system.” Another inhumane philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, hated Christian humility and advocated the Pride which reinvents the image of the self into the Übermensch, the superior person of the future who sees himself in his Pride as better than the inherently inferior Untermenschen of the past. Today’s revolutionaries have mixed Marx with Nietzsche to make a philosophical Molotov cocktail with which to set the world on fire. They will happily kill anyone who gets in their way.

Let’s end with the words of a former socialist revolutionary who advocated Pride and greatly admired Nietzsche, whose words, though spoken almost a century ago, sound strikingly similar to those enunciated by the Pride movement and its stormtroopers on the streets of Seattle and other cities. This revolutionary made “a declaration of war against the order of things which exist, against the state of things which exist, in a word, against the structure of the world which presently exists.” Like today’s revolutionaries of Pride, he had a mind animated by hatred. His name was Adolf Hitler.

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This article has been republished with permission from The Imaginative Conservative.

Image Credit: 

Flickr-Becker1999, CC BY 2.0

Joseph Pearce

Joseph Pearce

Joseph Pearce is Senior Contributor at The Imaginative Conservative. A native of England, Mr. Pearce is Director of Book Publishing at the Augustine Institute, editor of the St. Austin Review, editor of Faith & Culture, and series editor of the Ignatius Critical Editions. He is the author of numerous books, which include The Quest for Shakespeare, Tolkien: Man and Myth, The Unmasking of Oscar Wilde, C. S. Lewis and The Catholic Church, Literary Converts, Wisdom and Innocence: A Life of G.K. Chesterton, Solzhenitsyn: A Soul in Exile and Old Thunder: A Life of Hilaire Belloc.

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Zwolle1836
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I'm near 61 years old and I was raised, along with other of my time, with a different definition of racism. It was the belief that through God's creation, one race or group of humans were made inferior to another by God's own hand. No amount of human effort could ever overcome that defect. A modern real life example come from Yusra Khogali, a snippet of her comments follow: "[W]hite ppl have a higher concentration of enzyme inhibitors that [suppress] melanin production. White people are “genetically deficient” because, among other things, “melanin is present at the inception of life … directly linked to the strength of the nervous system … directly linked to the strength of neuro systems affecting capacities like intelligence, memory and creativity." The comment goes on, but you get the idea. What most people deem racism today, was taught to us as discrimination against a person-by what ever characteristic used- in this case race or color. Of course, finally there was prejudice. Exampled by Thomas Sowell as "not opening the front door for the 500 pound lion' because because he is prejudged to be a danger, well, because of his reputation. My point is changing the definition of words over time create what the Progs want, control of the language and relative truth. Both are unacceptable to the consistent communication of ideas over time. It is way too 1984 for this ol' Texan. Thank you for the good article Joseph. Much obliged.
 
 

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bigfish92672
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"Systematic Racism" is the government treating two different people applying for he same government service differently because one has money and the other does not. It's systematic because the poor person has no other option. It is racist because poor people are disproportionately minorities.
 
 

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Va_Highlander
Your comment makes no sense. What if the minority has money and the non-minority doesn't? Poor people come in all colors, so do rich.
mdk4130
More fundamentally systemic racism is precisely "the system" , the system we call civilization. It's the way we live. Systemic racism can no more be eliminated than to expect water will not be wet. It is only troublesome to those who are caught in a trap of having migrated from one continent to another by force of circumstances and lacking the power the comes with numbers will Sisyphean-like resort to periodic spells of frustration.
Zwolle1836
bigfish- I'd have to disagree. Your definition is for "Systematic Discrimination." It also does not have to do with money directly. It would have to do with a characteristic of the person (ie., skin color or race).
kkant
Hey man, it's not true that the poor person has no other option. Poor people can always just make more money!! Then, they would no longer be poor :)
A_M_D1126
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Reducing systemic racism to "Marxist dogma" misses the point of the utilitarian ideals that proponents against systemic racism purport. In the U.S. for instance, white people are overrepresented when it comes to constituent-legislature relationships and this hinders policy responsiveness for underrepresented communities across gender, race, and sexual orientation. Just because racism is "illegal" on paper doesn't mean it's not a problem. This article is actually well-written conservative "dogma" that misses the point on the bad policy outputs in America from the 13th Amendment to Jim Crow and then the 1990s crime bill. I'm all for telling any demographic about personal responsibility in a system that is...somewhat freer than what it was, but that support "rugged individualism" misses the nuance across multiple disciplines of scholarly work that refutes the naysayer's claims about systemic racism.
 
 

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Zwolle1836
This country was not about demographics and outcome based policy. This country was founded on the individual. It was founded on the belief that we all have an equal opportunity to succeed or fail on our own merits. Our form of government was also based on one principle - to protect private property, whether it be yourself or the stuff you own. The fact that government has devolved into a cradle to grave nanny state has gotten us into the God forsaken crap soup. This is Marxism.
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CaesarBrown
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This article almost made me a lose my grip on reality. By all means, we have a right to your opinion – as far-fetched as it may be. Please understand that you have no tangible proof to prove your belief in systemic racism. The rest of us are fine having accepted that each individual has an intrinsic right to be as bigoted or as beautiful as they want to.
 
 

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This Is Not America
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"Systemic Racism" is word salad weaponized by Marxists to create issues where none exist. BTW - The "issue" is the never the issue, the "issue" is ALWAYS revolution.
 
 

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