Yep, you read that right. I’m tackling the subject of systemic racism in a mini episode. There are a few things you should know before listening, though. First, I’m white. Maybe you already knew that, but I wanted to point it out in case you didn’t. Second, I was en education major in college, not a history major – so, if you hear anything that doesn’t sound correct to you, go easy on me! Last, I recognize that I’m not aways correct and that I can sometimes say things that don’t accurately represent the experience of people of color or that can be hurtful. That being said, please listen with an open mind, be gracious, and educate me when you can! Just like you, I am here to learn.
With so much attention on the injustices that racial minorities are facing right now, I wanted to continue this conversation. I have heard some confusion surrounding the term “systemic racism” and some disbelief that this is a real thing. In this episode, I am attempting to explain what I know systemic racism to be in layman’s terms. Rather than just give the definition, I am attempting to explain it through one of the most prime examples that I have come to recognize – the American housing industry. What you’ll hear today is a brief history of America’s suburbs, projects, and home loans and the discrimination that people of color have faced within this system. This is one example of many that I was able to choose from, but it’s one that I think illustrates what folks are referring to when they use the term “systemic” or “systematic” racism.
My hope for today is twofold. I hope that, if you are a white person listening, that you see things from a new perspective; that you recognize that you may have stereotypes based on unfair circumstances for certain people groups; that you recognize the advantages you have had that others did not simply because of the the family you were born into; and that you don’t feel guilty learning about these advantages and disadvantages, but that it enlightens you to live a little better and continue to listen to other’s stories and leverage those advantages when you can. Also, I hope that, if you are a person of color listening, that you feel like I have brought to light something that has been kept in the dark; that you feel heard and seen; and that you feel comfortable enough to tell me if I’ve missed something. Everyone is welcome here.
Links from the show:
The Atlantic article:
The New Yorker article:
National Center for Education Statistics report:
Adam Ruins Everything – History of the Suburbs:
“Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates:
“White Rage” by Carol Anderson:
“The Color of the Law” by Richard Rothstein:
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