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The claim of “systemic racism” is not merely a vicious slander against a great country. It’s also a terribly damaging fiction, an excuse that prevents us from looking for the actual causes of failure within our at-risk communities.
Those who invoke this fiction are culpable in the perpetuation of real human suffering. They need to be called out on it, accused of wittingly or unwittingly abetting violence and injustice. Because that’s what they’re doing.
They aren’t simply mistaken (though they are certainly mistaken), they’re destructive. They’re hurting people, just as surely as a quack doctor advising people to forgo medical care for a serious illness and, instead, take some ineffectual nostrum would be hurting people.
It isn’t enough to respond to the systemic racism charge as I’ve habitually responded to it, with a “no, that’s not true, we really aren’t a racist country.” This isn’t a rarified academic discussion, something about which reasonable and unreasonable people can agree to disagree. People are dying, lives are being wasted and ruined. Human potential is being extinguished. Young women are trying to kill other young women with knives (watch the video). Young men are kicking young women in the head as the women lie on the sidewalk (again, watch the video). And morons, including elected morons, are calling for the police to be taken off the street because they’d rather win political points than look for real answers to deep and serious problems.
We need to tell people to stop making excuses for violence, to stop turning a blind eye toward murder, shootings, abuse, addiction, horrible schools, and broken homes. That’s what saying “systemic racism” does, and we have to figure out how to communicate to the people who say it that, far from having the moral high ground, they’re a big part of the problem.Published in