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America Has Always Been Racist, But The People, Not Politicians, Can Fix That

by Todd A. Smith

 

 

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), you are wrong.


Vice President Kamala Harris, you are wrong.


And President Joe Biden, you are also wrong.


America is, and has always been, racist.


The entire country was built on racism and oppression, from the treatment of Native Americans, who had their land stolen away to African-American slaves who built this country free of charge.


I already know what you are going to say; that oppression happened centuries ago.


Even the days of Jim Crow happened decades and generations ago.


I know what else you are going to say.


You have African-American friends don’t you.


You do not see color at all do you.


But you do not have to see or experience racism to prove that it exists.


Ask your so-called African-American friends about their daily experiences with racism and discrimination and I guarantee you that they have horror stories for days.


Racism is defined as racial discrimination of persecution.


Let’s break that down even further.


Discrimination is defined as to distinguish or show partiality.


Persecution is defined as to torment continuously for one’s beliefs, etc.


Despite what Sen. Scott said in his response to President Biden’s first address to Congress, and despite what Biden and Vice President Harris said to corroborate Scott’s take, instances of discrimination and persecution still exist.


And often, those instances of discrimination and persecution occur because of someone’s race.


In many American courtrooms, African-Americans are treated more harshly than their White counterparts, despite having similar criminal records and committing similar offenses.


The United States Sentencing Commission reported, “Black male offenders continued to receive longer sentences than similarly situated White male offenders. Black male offenders received sentences on average 19.1 percent longer than similarly situated White male offenders during the Post-Report period (fiscal years 2012-2016), as they had for the prior four periods studied.”


Even in American classrooms African-American students receive harsher punishment for similar behavioral incidents than their White classmates.


Forbes reported, “Black students are four times as likely to be suspended from school as White students, almost three times as likely to be removed from the classroom but kept within school, and almost three times as likely to be expelled.


“They are almost three times as likely to be referred to police for an incident on the school grounds, and three-and-a-half times as likely to be arrested for an incident either on school grounds or during school activities.”


Often when African-Americans apply for loans to buy homes or start or expand businesses, they receive higher interest rates on their loans despite having the same credit scores as their Whiter peers.


CBS reported, “Latinos and African-Americans paid almost one tenth of a percentage point more for mortgages between 2008 and 2015, the study found—a disparity that sucked hundreds of millions of dollars from minority homeowners every year.”


And sometimes African-Americans are just denied loans to buy homes in certain neighborhoods because of redlining, even if they meet all of the qualifications.


While the government has outlawed redlining, African-Americans can tell you that it exists, and people from that community battle its effects on a daily basis.


When African-Americans put their homes up for sale, the home is often appraised at a much lower value than if a White person put the same home up for sale, in the same condition.


Paul and Tenisha Austin of Marin City, Calif. purchased a home in 2016.


The African-American couple then completed approximately $400,000 worth of renovations, and then the couple put the home on the market.


Insider.com reported, “The Austins added an entirely new floor, a deck and updated appliances…An appraiser who visited the home to assess the value of the property said it was only worth $989,000, just $100,000 more than when they originally purchased it, despite the renovations adding an additional 1,000 square feet to the home...


“So the Austins decided to perform an experiment: A White friend of theirs posed as the owner of the home, adding photos and personal touches to make it seem like she lived there, and called in another appraiser to evaluate the house. The second appraiser said the house was worth $1,482,000—about 50% more than the initial appraisal.”


If that is not racism, then what is?


Sure, those instances of racism and discrimination are not actually sanctioned by the state.


However, it still represents a systemic problem.


And despite the government not sanctioning legal segregation and discrimination in writing, we know that the state still sanctions discrimination.


When African-Americans could not vote in the South in the 19th century and the first six decades of the 20th century, the laws did not always explicitly say that African-Americans could not vote.


The government used code words that made it impossible for African-Americans to vote.


African-Americans were disenfranchised by methods like poll taxes, literary tests and grandfather clauses.


The same type of discrimination exists today to make it more difficult for African-Americans to vote.


Instead of saying that they do no want African-Americans to vote, many Republicans allege voter fraud and enact rules such ID requirements, limiting early voting, eliminating voting locations in minority neighborhoods and making it illegal to hand out water and snacks to voters waiting in line.


If that does not work, many Republicans gerrymander voting districts to dilute the power of minority voters.


Politicians do things like seek a citizenship question to the census so that Latino people might be afraid to fill out the decennial census.


With less Latino residents accounted for, that means less money and less political representation for those Latino communities.


Racism exists from the top down in American government as a former president blamed an entire nationality for the COVID-19 pandemic, calling it Kung flu and the Chinese virus.


That type of rhetoric has led to an increase in anti-Asian violence throughout this so-called non-racist country, which meets the definition of persecution in my opinion.


In spite of what some of highest-ranking politicians erroneously said this week, many people of color and many White allies know that America still has a problem with racism.


As long as the American people know about the problem, we can do something to fix the problem because politicians rarely fix what truly ails American society.

 

The people do.


This article was published on Friday 30 April, 2021.
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