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 type 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: 2nextprezAfrican-AmericansDiscriminationHealthcareOkemos High Schoolpolicebrutality
Institutional Racism by Ariel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.