The Exceeding Prevalence of Systemic Racism | Article

Written By Samantha Gibbons, Age 16

Arizona, USA




“From 2013 to 2017, white patients in the US received better quality health care

than about 34% of Hispanic patients, 40% of Black patients, and 40% of Native American

patients” (National Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in the U.S. Department

of Health & Human Services). First off, what is systemic racism? By dictionary

definition, systemic racism, also known as institutional racism, is a form of bigotry that

is embedded as normal practice within society or an organization. This idea has been

occurring in the United States for quite some time, but has become exceedingly

prevalent in modern-day society. This form of prejudice drastically affects the way

people live their lives and are treated by people, specifically when it comes down to even

the basic necessities of life. The status of systemic racism today consists of

discrimination, in the places where people need the most help, including both

healthcare quality and education.


In regards to healthcare aspects, it is statistically shown how minority groups are

treated with less care than white citizens. This in itself is an issue since it can

legitimately determine one’s life. Because people of color and other minority groups are

systematically oppressed, sociologists have a term that explains the triggers and mentality of it all: self-fulfilling prophecy. Self-fulfilling prophecy is an expectation that

becomes true because it leads to behavior that then causes the expectation to become a

reality. For instance, if a black man has implicitly received the message that he will not

succeed in life primarily due to his skin color, then he will most likely turn that implicit

message into a reality for himself. This is a typical outcome of the lives of minorities,

concerning that they will become less successful in life. This can potentially lead to the

placement, if not already, in a lower socioeconomic class. Consequently, an implicit bias

is made against the minority figure and therefore treated with poor quality. This process

ignites the systemic racism that is present in the United States in the healthcare system.


National data revealed that “black people had an overall mortality rate that was

1.6 times higher than the white persons in 1995 -- identical to the black/white mortality

rate in 1950” (Williams). While 1.6 may not seem like a high number, it has a significant

meaning. The fact that within a forty-five year time span the death rate of black citizens

has not decreased goes to support that systemic racism is one of the many factors

contributing to prejudice against them. The sociological paradigms arise a multitude of

questions. Is there an undefined conflict for authority between white versus black

people? Is the capitalistic society, which drives America to attain specific functions for

each person to take, considering skin colors? What interactions between different races

symbolize the effects of systemic racism? Of course, there is no “right” answer to any of

these questions because it is nearly impossible to draw a fine line for who is the

deciding factor. There is always a bias that is present, however, it is now a matter of

basic human rights and the opportunity people are granted that will determine their

future.




Not only is systemic racism illustrated in the healthcare system, but it is also

present concerning education quality: “In the US, Black workers are less likely than

white workers to be employed in a job that is consistent with their level of education”

(Black women endure persistent racial disparities in employment outcomes). As briefly

touched on in the previous statements, the education one receives will dictate the

socioeconomic placement of an individual. Minority groups are notorious for receiving

a quality education that is detrimental to their future. This defines a societal boundary

in which has not been altered throughout history. However, while bigotry and systemic

racism stay an issue in America, it can be reduced through the powerful usage of

education in regards to racial awareness through programs in schools and corporate

foundations. People are now recognizing this systemic oppression against people of

color and other minority groups, which is a great first step. However, the status of

systemic racism will remain unchanged if people do not acknowledge its existence and

become aware of the reality of modern-day society.


Works Cited


@megkesh, Meghana Keshavan, et al. “Covid-19 Lays Bare How Racism Fuels Health

Disparities among Black People.” STAT, 9 June 2020,

www.statnews.com/2020/06/09/systemic-racism-black-health-disparities/.

“11 Facts About Racial Discrimination.” ​DoSomething.org,

www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-racial-discrimination.

Carl James Professor. “Ending 'Streaming' Is Only the First Step to Dismantling

Systemic Racism in Ontario Schools.” ​The Conversation, 12 Aug. 2020,

theconversation.com/ending-streaming-is-only-the-first-step-to-dismantling-sys

temic-racism-in-ontario-schools-142617.

Report • By Jhacova Williams and Valerie Wilson • August 27. “Labor Day 2019: Black

Workers Endure Persistent Racial Disparities in Employment Outcomes.”

Economic Policy Institute,

www.epi.org/publication/labor-day-2019-racial-disparities-in-employment/​.

Williams, D R, and T D Rucker. “Understanding and Addressing Racial Disparities in

Health Care.” Health Care Financing Review, CENTERS for MEDICARE &

MEDICAID SERVICES, 2000, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4194634/.

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