Over the last year, the Left has popularized the phrase “systemic racism.” What exactly does this mean? It doesn’t mean racism is widespread throughout America, or even that there are some racist individuals within the power structures of various social systems. Rather, it means that the very systems of our society and government are rooted in racist ideology, and thus necessarily result in discrimination against non-whites. That’s why some of those who claim there is systemic racism are also calling for us to tear down these power structures and start anew. They don’t want to eliminate the racist people from the systems, but eliminate the systems themselves. The systems are deemed irredeemable.

What is the evidence for this supposed systemic racism? One should be able to point to a current institution or law that is explicitly or implicitly based on racist ideology or has policies that treat people differently based on their race. I would be the first to condemn such institutions/laws, but I have yet to hear any identified. Typically, those who claim systemic racism still exists (there is no question that systemic racism existed in the past – the debate is over whether it still exists today) in this country appeal to differences in outcomes by race. For example, black people as a group make less money than white people as a group, and black people are overrepresented in our prison population compared to whites. It is assumed that differences in outcome are due to racism. This is a hasty conclusion, however. It could only be justified if racism was the only possible explanation for the disparities, or if it was the best explanation of the data. Neither is the case. Consider income inequalities. While it’s true that white people make more money than black people, if this is due to systemic racism, the system isn’t working very well because white people don’t make the most money in this country –18 other nationalities do, all of whom are non-European people of color, including those with black skin.

There are several more plausible explanations for disparities in racial outcome than racism. To demonstrate racism is the cause of income inequalities, one would have to show that (1) the inequity is due to specific laws/systems/policies, and (2) those laws/systems/policies were created in order to advantage whites and/or disadvantage non-whites, and (3) that personal behavior or life choices cannot account for at least part of the disparity. Why should we even expect income equality among all races? As black economist Thomas Sowell noted, “If you cannot achieve equality of performance among people born to the same parents and raised under the same roof, how realistic is it to expect to achieve it across broader and deeper social divisions?” At the end of the day, systemic racism has to be proven, not merely assumed.

The only law I can think of that is both racist (in that it treats people differently based on the color of their skin rather than their merits) and systemic (in that it is part of the power structure of society) is affirmative action, but affirmative action is an example of systematically discriminating against whites, not against minorities.

Oddly enough, in recent days, some additional examples of systemic racism have surfaced, but once again, the discrimination is against whites, not against minorities.

  • In Oakland, CA, they are testing out a universal, basic income for the poor. However, it’s only for people of color. White people are not eligible because of the color of their skin. This is coming from a social power structure, and it is treating people differently based on race, and thus it is an example of systemic racism against white people.
  • The governor of Vermont based Covid-19 vaccine eligibility on the color of one’s skin. Minorities can get the vaccine, but not whites. Once again, this is coming from a social power structure and treats people differently based on the color of their skin. As such, it is an example of systemic racism against white people.
  • Senator Tammy Duckworth publicly stated that she would only confirm the President’s cabinet picks if they were racial minorities or LGBT, until he nominated Asians or Pacific Islanders for a cabinet position. She singled out one race to vote against, and that was whites. As a member of Congress, surely she is part of a system of power and is determining how she will treat people based on their race. That is systemic racism against whites.
  • President Biden’s American Rescue Plan has a provision to forgive the loans to socially disadvantaged farmers, which means white farmers do not qualify.

So no, there is no systemic racism in this country unless you are talking about racism coming from the Left against whites. Call me old school, but I am opposed to all racism, systemic or not, and all racial discrimination, no matter which race it is directed against. Those in power should not be using their power to favor or disfavor any race of people. Personal merit, not the color of one’s skin, should be all that matters.