Racism Has Inhabited Our Institutional DNA

A few things I didn’t learn in History class about social justice

  • Compromise of 1877: A controversial  election was resolved by an agreement that Union soldiers protecting blacks and their rights in the South would be removed and resulted in ending Reconstruction. 
  • The above resulted in the Jim Crow Laws including laws jailing the unemployed, which provided slave-like labor to former slave owners.
  • President Wilson purged the Federal government of black workers upon taking office.
  • The Chinese who built our railroads were barred from citizenship between 1882 and 1943.
  • Japanese families in internment camps during WWII were separated from each other.
  • In 1939, Hattie McDaniel won an Oscar for her supporting role as Mammy in Gone With the Wind. She wasn’t allowed to sit with the white cast at the Awards.
  • In the 1950s, the neighborhood around McClaren Park in San Francisco was built with federal loans, which didn’t allow Black owners nor new owners to sell to Blacks. (Think about how many people have been able to build equity  in a home that they can pass on to their children and in turn the grandchildren. No such ability for blacks with the same income. These same people think they’ve pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, but the system gave them boots denied to others.)

I understand I have white privilege, but OTOH I take for granted when I walk into a store I won’t be followed by a security guard, that when I go into a bank to cash an outside check its authenticity won’t be questioned, that when my husband and I apply for a mortgage, I don’t worry about whether the loan officer wears a pointy white head cover outside of work, when I encounter a jerk I don’t have to worry whether my treatment is because of my skin color, if I’m stopped for going over the speed limit I don’t fear the police officer, when I apply for a driver’s license, college, job, grant, whatever, I assume the decision depends on my merit.

Read more here about institutional racism.

And here’s the Science: The DNA within a given race varies more than averages between races. Further, the number of genes that determine our external features is .01 % of our total number of genes. That’s one out of ten thousand, a miniscule amount on which to base judgment.

 

 

 

 

 

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