Dear Madame/Mr, President,

In this letter, I would like to address institutional racism, one of the largest problems facing America today. While anyone can turn the other cheek when someone makes a rude comment based on their race, or they can “sticks and stones” it, institutional racism is not so easily ignored. Whether it be found in trivial things, (such as that fact that there are fewer Pokemon Go locations in black neighborhoods) or in matter of life and death things (black people wait longer in emergency rooms) it’s there. I would like to know what you plan to do about it. Although you can’t change people’s hearts, you can change policies. In this letter I would like to address three major instances of institutional racism; medicine, public education and our law enforcement system.

Our healthcare system is not what people are usually reminded of when they hear the term “racism”, however it should be. Racial minorities are no longer denied entry to hospitals due to the color of their skin, nor are they used for medical experiments anymore, however they still do not receive the same standard of care as their white counterparts. We see this in the fewer treatment options available for blacks. Physicians who exhibit bias in medicine tend to manage the pain of minority patients inadequately. Many studies have shown that physicians are more reluctant to give narcotics (strong pain medication) to black patients. A study released to 2012, by University of Washington showed that pediatricians with a pro-white bias were inclined to give black children who’d had surgery, ibuprofen (not a narcotic), as opposed to the stronger oxycodone (narcotic). Other studies showed that the pain of black children with sickle cell anemia or men with chest complaints were less monitored.  A University of Michigan study from 2010, found that black patients who were referred to pain clinics received around 1/2 of the medication the white patients got. Together, these studies show us the presence of, racism in our healthcare communities.

Another instance of Institutional racism is our public education system. We see that minority students have less access to experienced or even  fully certified teachers than their white counterparts, according to studies done by the U.S. Education Department. According to the U.S. Education Department’s Civil Rights data collections, five percent of white students were suspended yearly, compared with 16 percent of black students. Black girls were suspended at a rate of 12 percent — much higher than girls of other ethnicities. This type of clear discrimination and blatant inequality, makes for lower academic performance of minority students and a greater risk of dropping out of school.

The last instance I will cite in this letter is institutional racism in our law enforcement. I would like to preface this with, I understand what a=our police offices face on a day to day basis to truly dangerous people they come in contact with (or could potentially come in contact with). However the facts show that black people (mainly men) are disproportionately shot, than white men. The history of the American police system is especially torrid. In the South, the beginning of the modern police system was the “slave Patrol”. Slave patrols had 3 main jobs, 1) to chase runaway slaves and return them to their owners, 2) to be a institutional-racismtype of organized terror in order to deter slave revolts, and 3) to maintain discipline amongst slave who may have broken plantation laws. After the Civil War groups  like this did not go away, they instead evolved into modern Southern police departments by enforcing “Jim Crow” segregation laws.

Today, the statistics are astounding. Black people are 3 times more likely to be killed by police than white people, 30 percent of the black people killed were unarmed as opposed to the 19 percent of whites in 2015, and it’s not about crime. Fewer than 1 in every 3 black people killed by police in America in 2015 were suspected to a violent crime, or allegedly armed.

I hope you take this letter to heart, acknowledge the deep rooted problems we face in this country and work to fix them.

Respectfully, Ariel S.

Tags:
12 Comments
  1. kliton 2 months ago

    Peoples are treated different from each other. Black peoples are also treated different from white peoples when it’s about healthcare institutional and system. Our healthcare system is not what people are usually reminded of when they hear the term “racism”, however it should be. Racial minorities are no longer denied entry to hospitals due to the color of their skin, nor are they used for medical experiments anymore, however they still do not receive the same standard of care as white peoples

  2. donovan 4 months ago

    I like the way you use such common details which helps others relate more

  3. donovan 4 months ago

    I like how you gave evidence to back up what you were saying. This letter is great! The big guys in charge of this country need to hear you out.

  4. Rayvon 4 months ago

    I have noticed a lot of the things going on in this essay from personal experiences.

  5. Kemonjie Smith 5 months ago

    Dear Ariel,
    I am fascinated by the point you brought up about how black people get treated very different you brought up points and real examples of how people (African-Americans) get treated every single day, the points you brought up was so real and deep. The most important thing I like about your points is that they is not just regular examples or even the ones us people see every day you actually bring up points that only African Americans will see and notice one example that really stood out to me was when you brought up how they have to wait longer to get seen in the hospital. I feel that is a strong point, Great work!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Brenda 5 months ago

    I like how you gave evidence to back up what you were saying. This letter is great! The big guys in charge of this country need to hear you out.

  7. Stardazia Hailey 6 months ago

    What if this is just the bystander effect where people don’t do anything unless one person does it. I watched a TED talk and this woman was talking about bias do you think it also had to do with that?

  8. KeJahn 12 months ago

    Dear Ariel

    I am very interested by your letter , “Institutional Racism” because it’s something I can connect too. Many people in my area always experience this racism because where i’m from most are african american people.

    One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is: “A study released to 2012, by University of Washington showed that pediatricians with a pro-white bias were inclined to give black children who’d had surgery, ibuprofen (not a narcotic), as opposed to the stronger oxycodone (narcotic).” I think this is outrageous because this is showing that its racism everywhere even though people think that its not. Doctors are doing this to young kids just do to the color of they’re skin.

    Another sentence that I liked was: “We see that minority students have less access to experienced or even fully certified teachers than their white counterparts, according to studies done by the U.S. Education Department.” This stood out for me because i experience this in school. I see and have experieced a lot of teachers who will happily help other ethnicities but make it a big deal to try and help kids of color.

    I do/don’t really agree with you that pokemon go not being in black neighborhoods have to do with racism. I say this because many people who live in black neighborhoods do have access to it and i know this for a fact because i live in a black neighborhood and a lot of us play it.

  9. Aleah 12 months ago

    Dear Alea,
    I am inspired by your article, “Can people change?,” because your theory on individual thoughts being able to shape our personality is a memo I live by everyday, positive thoughts means a positive day.

    One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is: “ In conclusion, “Thoughts have power.” And no matter what your personality is, it can be changed if you put your MIND to it.” I would love to see one, without agreeing with your theory, explain how a 2.0 student with a very crude personality, doomed for failure, can convert to a 4.0 student with a generous attitude and a bright future.

    Another sentence that I noticed with was: “each person has a unique psychological structure and that some traits are possessed by only one person; and that there are times when it is impossible to compare one person with others,” while “The nomothetic view…emphasizes comparability among individuals.” This stood out for me because it’s a very strong and typical way that personality is portrayed to be shaped but overall people do not realize that they have the ability to change it.

    Your article reminds me of something that happened to me. In younger years, I was made fun of, choosing to constantly think and repeat negative thoughts in my mind causing me to be an insecure individual who was afraid to do anything when in current situations your theory is now my memo and these positive thoughts evolved a confident high school senior who will become a very well known singer and songwriter.

    Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next, because I accept the fact that emotion and personality is a major factor in shaping the world we live in and is not a very significant factor that people acknowledge. #PaveWay

  10. Aleah 12 months ago

    Dear Ariel,
    I am fascinated by the realism in your post, “Institutional Racism,” because it made me realize the racist factor that I live by on a day to day.
    One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is: “ While anyone can turn the other cheek when someone makes a rude comment based on their race, or they can “sticks and stones” it, institutional racism is not so easily ignored.” I think this is applicable because often times people confuse the difference in racism and institutional racism, ignoring the factors that actually matters.
    Another sentence that I contemplated was: “The history of the American police system is especially torrid. In the South, the beginning of the modern police system was the “slave Patrol”. Slave patrols had 3 main jobs, 1) to chase runaway slaves and return them to their owners, 2) to be a type of organized terror in order to deter slave revolts, and 3) to maintain discipline amongst slave who may have broken plantation laws. ” This stood out for me because it’s apparent that our future is a reflection of our past but that fact that racism stream in our present is petrifying.
    Your post is oh too familiar to my surroundings. I can recall as a kid looking outside of the window as my parents drove by local businesses. Nothing but homeless individuals of colors sitting on the sidewalks begging for change or sleeping. I wondered if that’s where my people belonged.
    Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next, because it had a sense of authenticity that I need to constantly remind myself and my peers. #PaveWay

  11. Carrie 12 months ago

    This is such a compelling and well researched letter! Thank you for writing it, and please keep speaking up. People need to hear what you have to say.

  12. Jessyca 12 months ago

    This post is amazing! So much for the next president to examine and to put an effort toward in fixing with this issue. Good work in speaking up about such a pressing issue in our society.

Leave a Reply

CONTACT US

We welcome new members. You can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Sending

Youth Voices is organized by teachers at local sites of the National Writing Project and in partnership with Educator Innovator.

CC BY-SA 4.0All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
Missions on Youth Voices

Log in with your credentials

or    

Forgot your details?

Create Account

%d bloggers like this: