News Flash: I’m Not a Systemic Racist

 

The time has arrived when I can no longer tolerate accusations of systemic racism without speaking out against it. It is one of the most hateful, absurd, and propagandistic concepts being spread all over the world. And for some reason, many white people have embraced their supposed hatred of people of color and claim they are guilty of this detestable belief.

I’m here to tell you that I am not only not a part of this misguided theory, but it is a theory that has been created to attack white Americans for the indefinite future and have them begging for forgiveness.

I am going to limit my examination of systemic racism to what I know and my own experience, rather than discuss the lies that have been perpetrated, mixed with a few facts, to discount our Founders and the birth of our nation. I have read some of them myself, and they are so irrational and distorted that I know their trashing of our history is not to be taken seriously. Instead, I am going to look at systemic racism through my own personal prism: my history, my belief system, my self-reflection, and my self-knowledge.

My History

I grew up in mainly white Orange County, California. Now and then I would come across black people, and of course they looked different than most of the people I encountered. By different, I mean the kinds of things we notice about others: unusual hairstyles; friends who limped from experiencing polio as a child; people with scars from tragic accidents; all of them looked different, which made them unique.

Once I went to college at California State University, Long Beach, I encountered more black and Asian students. I was a loner, so I wasn’t much friendly with anyone.

My Belief System

My folks never made judgments about other races or religions. We didn’t have meaningful discussions over the dinner table. It’s just not what we did. I can say that they had many black artists that they loved, Sammy Davis Jr. and Harry Belafonte for two, but their color was never mentioned.

But once I stepped into the big bad world and I grew up in the ’60s in Southern California, racism was front and center. I was close enough to the Rodney King Riots that I could see smoke drifting in the air. But I never drew conclusions about blacks as a group. Besides, every race was represented in the violence and looting.

I was called a “dirty Jew” as a child a couple of times, but never as an adult. And other people may have disliked, even hated me, because I was a Jew, but they never said so. I did date an anti-Semite for a very brief time (I dated him because I was curious about his thinking), but eventually he stopped asking me out. I suspect he found me repulsive. So be it.

My Self-Reflections

I’ve reflected on my beliefs about the races. I’ve actually had a lot of interaction with people from Asian cultures and their race didn’t matter to me (nor mine to them). I’ve worked with Latinos and we all did just fine; I remember one fascinating discussion with a group of supervisors who were Latinos and were bilingual. I asked them if they spoke English or Spanish at home and it was a great discussion. (They spoke English to their siblings but sometimes Spanish to their parents.) I have made a few friends who are black, and lost a very dear friend a couple of years ago. We would talk about racism, but not about my own beliefs on race.

* * * * *

So let me digress for a moment to offer a definition of systemic racism :

Systemic racism is both a theoretical concept and a reality. As a theory, it is premised on the research-supported claim that the United States was founded as a racist society, that racism is thus embedded in all social institutions, structures, and social relations within our society. Rooted in a racist foundation, systemic racism today is composed of intersecting, overlapping, and codependent racist institutions, policies, practices, ideas, and behaviors that give an unjust amount of resources, rights, and power to White people while denying them to people of color.

First, I reject the premise that America was founded as a racist country. It is factually and culturally not true. The racism that was so virulent in our early years as a country has been addressed at all levels of society—culturally, legally, governmentally—and I believe that although it still exists, it is far from being systemic.

What I find especially egregious is that parts of the community accuse every white person in this country of being a part of a belief system that they invented from scratch. And they are prepared to declare that white people are pathetic creatures, victimized by this hateful and pervasive doctrine. They are claiming that we have been indoctrinated by this damaging system that is impossible to escape. (I’ve never heard an explanation for those people who are not purely white, but come from the mixture of many races, but I’m not much interested either.)

Self-Knowledge

The most important point I want to make is that people who embrace the systemic racism theory assume that they know me better than I know myself. That is absurd.

They don’t know my favorite ice cream, the kinds of books I read, my hobbies or my education history, and lots more. In fact, most people don’t know anything about me. But they assume because they believe this is a racist country, and because there have been times, blatant and subtle where they have experienced racism, that every white person must be racist and behave in the same way.

They are wrong.

More than that, I have another news flash. I believe that people have the right to believe anything they wish, no matter how misguided and hateful. I have a liberal friend who likes to say that if people have hateful thoughts, they will act on them.

She’s wrong.

If I get angry at you, I may have the impulse to strike at you. But I am a human being with a brain. I can choose not to hit you and take responsibility for my anger. I may be angry at you for a long time. But my feelings are my business, not yours. I am the one who gets to decide how I feel about all aspects of my life, from chocolate chip ice cream to white supremacy. And whatever my feelings are, they are none of your business.

Even if I hate you.

For a person who believes in systemic racism to say that in spite of their not knowing anything about me, they know the feelings and beliefs that I hold in the deepest recesses of my mind is beyond ridiculous. I am not a victim of my environment; instead, I am a mature, curious, loving person who can decide what I believe in my life.

One of the biggest problems with “systemic racism” is that it ignores agency. That means I have choices in my life about what to believe, how to feel, what to learn and how to act. It is an amazing gift that every human being receives. And as a result, I can choose how I want to feel about anything or anyone.

That choice is mine and mine alone.

No proponent of systemic racism can tell me otherwise.

Published in Culture
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 39 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Susan Quinn: First, I reject the premise that America was founded as a racist country. It is factually and culturally not true. The racism that was so virulent in our early years as a country has been addressed at all levels of society—culturally, legally, governmentally—and I believe that although it still exists, it is far from being systemic.

    Another thing people need to be told over and over again was the Founding Fathers intentionally set up a system whereby slavery could be ended legally and without bloodshed (didn’t happen, but there you go).  A lie associated with the founding was that the Fathers only viewed slaves as 3/5 of a human being.  This compromise had to do with representation, and it actually crippled the Southern states who wanted slaves to be counted as whole persons – not unlike modern Democrats who want to count illegals . . .

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    The lies are abundant, aren’t they Stad. Not only facts misrepresented, but just plain lies. Including systemic racism. I think that it’s time that people refuse to give in to this sick ideology and own their freedom and agency instead. Thanks, Stad.

    • #2
  3. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    I say it over and over. Look at every law in every state and federal government. You will not find one that exhibits systemic racism except for Affirmative Action in hiring, contracts and education. These laws go back three or four generations now. They should end. All they do is show racism in the from of low expectations. As a conservative every discussion of systematic racism should be prefaced with that thought in mind. Don’t concede  to a fringe mentality.

    • #3
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    I say it over and over. Look at every law in every state and federal government. You will not find one that exhibits systemic racism except for Affirmative Action in hiring, contracts and education. These laws go back three or four generations now. They should end. All they do is show racism in the from of low expectations. As a conservative every discussion of systematic racism should be prefaced with that thought in mind. Don’t concede to a fringe mentality.

    Absolutely right! Will they ever learn that they have brought hardships upon themselves by alienating themselves through special advantages and unfair judgments of the right? Thanks, PH.

    • #4
  5. KevinKrisher Inactive
    KevinKrisher
    @KevinKrisher

    There has been a lot of discussion about “systemic racism.” But there has been very little in the way of a clear definition of it. As Socrates pointed out, the most basic thing — and therefore ideally the first thing — that can be said about anything is to simply and clearly define it.

    NAACP President Derrick Johnson probably came closest last year. He defined systemic racism as “systems and structures that have procedures or processes that disadvantage African Americans.” But this is not very clear and specific at all. What “systems” and which “structures” are we talking about? And exactly what “procedures” and “processes”? All of these should be put on the table where reasonable people of good will (of whom there are many of all races) can examine them.

    Unless a little clarity can be injected into the discussion, the idea of “systemic racism” will remain, as Harvard professor Harvey Manstein has called it, a term that “describes a society that is so little racist that no one can respectably advocate racism, yet so much racist that every part of it is soaked with racism.” This results in “the paradox of a racist society without racists.” 

     

    • #5
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Excellent comment, @kevinkrisher. I believe they intentionally keep it vague so that no one can contest it. How can you challenge something when you don’t know what it is?

    KevinKrisher (View Comment):
    This results in “the paradox of a racist society without racists.” 

    I especially appreciated this quote. Thanks!

    • #6
  7. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Good piece, Susan. All the voices in my head agree.

    • #7
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Percival (View Comment):

    Good piece, Susan. All the voices in my head agree.

    Do they have names? Or do you just share “Percival”?

    • #8
  9. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Good piece, Susan. All the voices in my head agree.

    Do they have names? Or do you just share “Percival”?

    They don’t really need names. They are like cats; they don’t come when you call them.

    • #9
  10. Caltory Thatcher
    Caltory
    @Caltory

    I was a Navy brat and travelled the country with my family before the Interstate Highway system. I remember my Dad pointing out the “Whites Only” signs on restaurants. I witnessed the segregated drinking fountains in the South. Among the many things that make me proud to be an American is how the country had both the ability and the will to change such things.

    Systemic Racism is a phrase employed by political opportunists eager to prey on tribal divisions. It is a notion used by careerists to gain power and position. It is a slothful fallacy of composition that knaves sell as they fiddle (and enjoy $800.00 lunches) while watching cities decay, mental health facilities vanish, educational systems atrophy, and citizens looking to drug abuse for relief.

    If there is systemic racism in America today, it is manifested in the people who make the accusation.

    • #10
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Caltory (View Comment):
    If there is systemic racism in America today, it is manifested in the people who make the accusation.

    Indeed. And they have no clue and don’t care. Your seeing those signs and the segregation early on must have made a deep impression.  Thanks for your comment, @caltory.

    • #11
  12. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Susan Quinn:

    So let me digress for a moment to offer a definition of systemic racism :

    Systemic racism is both a theoretical concept and a reality. As a theory, it is premised on the research-supported claim that the United States was founded as a racist society, that racism is thus embedded in all social institutions, structures, and social relations within our society. Rooted in a racist foundation, systemic racism today is composed of intersecting, overlapping, and codependent racist institutions, policies, practices, ideas, and behaviors that give an unjust amount of resources, rights, and power to White people while denying them to people of color.

    Where is Wolfgang Pauli when you really need him? It’s not even wrong.

    There can be but one response to such a word salad.

    • #12
  13. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    KevinKrisher (View Comment):
    He defined systemic racism as “systems and structures that have procedures or processes that disadvantage African Americans.”

    So, there’s no such thing as “systems and structures that have procedures or processes that disadvantage Asians”?  Talk to Ivy League college admissions.  There’s no such thing as “systems and structures that have procedures or processes that disadvantage whites”?  Talk to any white person who didn’t get a job/promotion/admission because a less qualified black got it to meet a quota (this goes as far back as the Bakke case).

    Leftists have been changing the meaning of words and phrases to suit their needs for ages . . .

    • #13
  14. tigerlily Member
    tigerlily
    @tigerlily

    From your post – the definition of systemic racism is below. Every aspect of this definition is false. As you noted the US was noted founded as a racist society – any reading of our founding documents and internal arguments (the Declaration, The Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, etc) make clear the founding ideas and ideals. Of course, we had both slavery and racial discrimination at the founding and for decades thereafter. However, the abolition of slavery and the diminishing of racial discrimination to today’s minuscule levels are affirmations of our founding ideals. Indeed, the abolition of the slave trade, was anticipated in the Constitution (Article 1, Section 9) and came about twenty years later almost to the day.

    At the time of our founding circa 1776, there was no politically viable anti-Slavery movement anywhere in the world. However, that changed rapidly. In the US, the northern states began to abolish slavery, the US under the Articles of Confederation enacted the Northwest Ordinance (1787) which prohibited slavery in those territories/future states, and in England, Thomas Clarkson and Granville Sharpe founded the Society of the Abolition of the Slave Trade in 1787, and in 1792 William Wilberforce put forward his first slave trade abolition bill which eventually also pass in 1808.  I believe three things, our Judeo-Christian ethic, the ideals of the Enlightenment and the more practical ideas of the US founding, were necessary to call into question the morality of slavery for the first time in human history. Also, even if the country was founded as a racist society (again, it wasn’t), it does not, or would not follow that racism is thus embedded in all social institutions, structures and social relations. Is Christianity inherently racist? Of course not. It (systemic racism) is essentially all a lies – one piled on top of another.

    “Systemic racism is both a theoretical concept and a reality. As a theory, it is premised on the research-supported claim that the United States was founded as a racist society, that racism is thus embedded in all social institutions, structures, and social relations within our society. Rooted in a racist foundation, systemic racism today is composed of intersecting, overlapping, and codependent racist institutions, policies, practices, ideas, and behaviors that give an unjust amount of resources, rights, and power to White people while denying them to people of color.”

    I too am sick and tired of the systemic racism trope. For the record, the only systemic racism I’m aware of in modern-day America is Affirmative Action in which Blacks get benefits based solely on their race and others (Whites and Asians) are discriminated against.

    Medallion of the British Society to Abolish Slavery 1795

    • #14
  15. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    tigerlily (View Comment):
    From your post – the definition of systemic racism is below. Every aspect of this definition is false.

    It’s gratifying to get your resounding validation of my outrage and accusations against this ideology, @tigerlily. I think whenever we hear a person on the Right accepting this “theory” and related ideas, we have to make a very firm pushback. And if I bump into someone on the Left who spews these lies, they will get the same. We can’t give the Left the impression that these ideas are acceptable on any level. And we should be proud and grateful for our leaders’ persistent efforts to remove slavery from the land. My question continues to be: how did we let them get this far?? Thanks

    • #15
  16. Bob W Member
    Bob W
    @WBob

    It’s easy to think that the obsession with racism is an essential ideological feature of liberalism. But it serves a very utilitarian purpose and will evaporate if and when the political circumstances that necessitate it change. White Americans, particularly the white working class, are the only demographic group of any size that hasn’t mostly or completely pledged fealty to the Democrat party. It is the only thing that stands between the Democracy and total power. Therefore, it must be demoralized, demonized, and dehumanized to make it easier to destroy. The accusation of white supremacy, which is less of a force now in America than at any time in history, is the means of doing this.

    It’s hard to imagine how quickly their obsession with race would disappear if for example blacks began to become Republicans in large enough numbers. There’s always hope.

    • #16
  17. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Bob W (View Comment):
    It’s hard to imagine how quickly their obsession with race would disappear if for example blacks began to become Republicans in large enough numbers. There’s always hope.

    I think I’ll just rest in the possibilities, Bob, even if they are remote. Aahhhhh…..

    • #17
  18. Mountie Coolidge
    Mountie
    @Mountie

    Susan Quinn:

    I believe that people have the right to believe anything they wish, no matter how misguided and hateful.

    And there I think is the crux of it. Most conservatives that I know are live and let live people. I got my stuff, my stuff doesn’t hurt your stuff, I’ll leave you alone, you leave me alone. Conservatives by and large are not ones to join a angry mob self righteous zealots  group of concerned citizens to riot express their demands concerns to a terrified community their elected officials. 

    Most conservatives, when confronted with a truly outlandish opinion will smile, shake their head gently and say “well, guess it takes all kinds”. In the south we would say “well bless your heart”. They take the fact that we don’t get into a fist fight push back on them as a sign the we are weak and spineless in agreement with them. 

     

    • #18
  19. MiMac Thatcher
    MiMac
    @MiMac

    It is not just America, they claim the entire Western Civilization is inherently, systematically, irredeemably racist. In fact, the only thing unique about Western Civilization and racism is that the West ENDED slavery. I love the fact that the Ibram Kendi types of the world imagine that the European slave traders ran thru the African jungles with nets catching slaves, when in fact they bought them from other Africans. Their incredibly limited curiosity about the origin of the word “slave” is also highly instructive- since it is derived from a word referring to WHITES- ie Slavic people- ie slavery was widespread and not unique to the West.

    • #19
  20. KCVolunteer Lincoln
    KCVolunteer
    @KCVolunteer

    I opened up my email this morning @susanquinn to find a Yahoo news link (side note, these started showing up unsolicited) with the headline Texas pastors under fire for referring to Kamala Harris as racist trope.

    Apparently they had the temerity to call her Jezebel. They’re pastors, so no doubt they have made a biblical reference. Jezebel to my knowledge was a strong controlling woman, who brought pain to the Jewish people through deceit and worship of false gods. She was a Sidonian. A Phoenician from the coast of Lebanon. It would seem anything but black.

    In fact the article quotes one of the pastors as saying, “My problem is her Godless character.”

    Only near the end does the article slip in, “since the age of American slavery, Jezebel came to be understood as an overly sexual Black woman.” Not that there’s any evidence the pastors were using it that way. And strange that they would use an accusation against the pastors to remind us that she got her political start by having an affair with a married man.

    But how many will read the article? Most will be satisfied the pastors are guilty by acclamation of the headline.

    • #20
  21. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    MiMac (View Comment):
    Their incredibly limited curiosity about the origin of the word “slave” is also highly instructive- since it is derived from a word referring to WHITES- ie Slavic people- ie slavery was widespread and not unique to the West.

    The Jewish people had slaves but the relationships and expectations were much different than the 17th century. But of course, that doesn’t fit their narrative, either.

    • #21
  22. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz
    @drlorentz

    If you’re yelling “I am not a racist!” you’ve already lost. At the very least, you’ve associated yourself with being racist, even as you deny it. It’s like saying, “I am not a violent sex offender.”

    The larger point is that you have allowed your opponents, people who hate you and want to see you crushed into dust, to set the terms of the argument. Listing your race bonafides concedes the field to the enemy. The most effective and cogent response to “When did you stop beating your wife?” is to ignore the implicit accusation. Qui tacet consentire videtur does not apply.

    • #22
  23. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    drlorentz (View Comment):

    If you’re yelling “I am not a racist!” you’ve already lost. At the very least, you’ve associated yourself with being racist, even as you deny it. It’s like saying, “I am not a violent sex offender.”

    The larger point is that you have allowed your opponents, people who hate you and want to see you crushed into dust, to set the terms of the argument. Listing your race bonafides concedes the field to the enemy. The most effective and cogent response to “When did you stop beating your wife?” is to ignore the implicit accusation. Qui tacet consentire videtur does not apply.

    If someone accused me of being a systemic racist, I’d say there is no such thing. Or as you say, ignore it.

    • #23
  24. Linc Wolverton Member
    Linc Wolverton
    @LincWolverton

    With one in ten marriages now occurring between the races, moving toward racial classifications seems counterproductive (if you believe that such mixing is beneficial). American society has seen the mixing of European national origins — Poles, Irish, Italians, Germans, Swedes, etc. — to a good end, and I would expect no less from the mixing of ethnic origins — Japanese, Blacks, Chicanos, Whites, Chinese, Vietnamese, other Asians — to the extent that when we look at Yo Yo Ma, we see a cellist, and Patrick Mahomes or Russell Wilson, we see a fine leader and athlete.

    • #24
  25. Fritz Coolidge
    Fritz
    @Fritz

    @KevinKrisher (View Comment):

    snip

    Unless a little clarity can be injected into the discussion, the idea of “systemic racism” will remain, as Harvard professor Harvey Manstein has called it, a term that “describes a society that is so little racist that no one can respectably advocate racism, yet so much racist that every part of it is soaked with racism.” This results in “the paradox of a racist society without racists.”

    Further paradox: in the modern USA the progs’ demand for “racists” to condemn so far exceeds the supply, that nearly all the alleged incidents turn out to be hoaxes. Tawana Brawley/Al Sharpton decades ago, Jussie Smollett, the various campus “nooses”, and on and on. Pathetic.

     

     

     

    • #25
  26. Paul Schinder Member
    Paul Schinder
    @PaulSchinder

    As far as I can tell, the only places where there is “systemic racism” are the organizations and institutions that are controlled by Democrats.  I’m told that systemic racism is endemic in universities and colleges (controlled by Democrats), cities (controlled by Democrats), etc.

    • #26
  27. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Paul Schinder (View Comment):

    As far as I can tell, the only places where there is “systemic racism” are the organizations and institutions that are controlled by Democrats. I’m told that systemic racism is endemic in universities and colleges (controlled by Democrats), cities (controlled by Democrats), etc.

    But Paul, the victim class that is part of the university setting can’t be racist. Haven’t you heard?? <sarcasm off> You are correct, and it’s so sad.

    • #27
  28. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    I find it hard to be systematic about anything, so don’t think i can be accused of being a systematic racist. 

    • #28
  29. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    But I’m also reading that systemic racism is a good thing that needs to be encouraged.

    The Coca Cola company proudly requires its legal work to be done by workers divided by race and sex. Law firms must assign black attorneys to at least 15% of the company’s work. White male attorneys are permitted to do no more than 70% of the company’s work. Coke says that within two years white male attorneys will be permitted to do no more than 50% of the company’s work. 

    https://legalinsurrection.com/2021/01/coca-cola-imposes-racial-quotas-on-outside-counsel-staffing/

    If you prefer a source that is more aligned with the idea that racism is a good idea:

    https://news.bloomberglaw.com/business-and-practice/coke-gc-tired-of-good-intentions-wants-law-firm-diversity-now

     

    • #29
  30. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Good grief. Just when I think things can’t get any worse, these kinds of decisions are made. Sigh. Thanks, @fullsizetabby. I think. 

    • #30
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.