Updated: Jan 25
Institutional racism, also known as systemic racism, is a form of racism that is embedded as normal practice within society or an organization. It can lead to such issues as discrimination in criminal justice, employment, housing, health care, political power, and education, among other issues.
Racism has haunted America for hundreds if not thousands of years, and the effect of racism still continues to be felt today in 2020. Our economy, justice system, employment, health care, political system, and education system are still severely impacted by racism. This is not merely opinion but there are statistics, data, personal stories, and history to back this claim up. This does not mean that other races can not or have not experienced racism but, being black in America is a completely different experience for a number of reasons. Also, do not get me wrong, we have come a very long way but, that does not mean that the fight is over or that we have reached a point where we can stop. Read on to continue to understand how Racism in America specifically affects the black experience.
To start at the very beginning we would have to take it back to a point in America’s darkest point in history:American slavery. Now American Slavery is different from any other form of slavery throughout history and this is for a number of reasons but, the main one is because it was a form of slavery formally known as Cattle Slavery. Cattle slavery is slavery where human being are owned as though they are property, which means that anything can be done to them and it is legal by law. This introduced and welcomed many new forms of inhumane torture that white slave and plantation owners participated in. The Atlantic Slave trade brought Africans from all parts of Africa, and brought them to not only America but Great Britain, France, Brazil, and many other parts of the world. Once enslaved in a new, unknown part of the world Africans were treated horribly to say the least. There were beatings, tortures, rapes of women, men,and children, hangings, malnourishment, over working, long cruel dyas, and terrifying nights. And those are just a few of the factors that slavery brought to the Africans, not to mention ones that are not listed and most likely many more that are unknown. Once Africans had kids in the New World, whether they were theirs, or the product of a rape, they were born into the Cattle slavery system and belonged to the white family that owned their parents. This was a system that was able to last for hundreds of years. Before the civil war took place, which was the war that ended slavery, if a slave was caught trying to escape to the North (after most Northern states outlawed it) and they unfortuanately and unsuccessfully failed they would be returned to their masters (which were what the slave owners forced slaves to call them, and were referred to in the time period) and have God knows what done to them as sick form of “punishment.” And even worse? Slaves could legally be sold because, as mentioned before, they were thought of as property and not human beings. So, they could be sold and separated from their families, and the only life they knew. As well as that, they could be sold to a master who was even harsher, then the one they previously had. A master could not logically be thought of as good spirited or kind of course, but it is fair to say that some would be less harsh than others. Being sold could mean experiencing one who is much more inhumane and evil then the previous one. This is just one of the horrible and disgusting things that slavery brought on to families. Imagine being separated from your children, mother, father, husband, wife, friends, and other family members and brought into a new world and are at the mercy of completely new strangers. Just think of that you lived free or your ancestors lives free then all of a sudden you are kidnapped and brought to a new world that you never knew existed, and you and your people are incredibly mistreated there to say the least, you can be separated from the only life you have ever known at any given moment and there is nothing you can do about it, and when you try to escape you end up being punished in a sick inhumane way, and not even being thought of as human when all you want is your freedom, basic human rights, and life before you knew before this one. This was the reality that slavery brought to Africans enalved as well as their descendants. America has been built on the backs, torture, and intense work of slaves. And, then did not even look at them as human beings, and treated them as if they were less than nothing, when America not have even thrived the way it did if it were not for them, and the sick benefits that they brought to this country. It is quite fair, reasonable, and plausible to say that slavery is one of if not the most disgusting, disturbing, and sick parts of America´s history. Slavery in the United States is dated to have started in the year of 1776 and finally ended in what is dated to be the year of 1865 however, the injustice of blacks in America was and is still far from over.
Here a slave is shown being forced to beat another slave, while other slaves watch. One way slave owners instilled fear into the slaves who worked on their plantation.
Here it shows a family being sold and separated at an auction. This was one of many ways that slavery tore families apart, in the most inhumane way imaginable.
Here slaves are shown harvesting sugar, which was one of three crops that were mainly harvested on plantations. Tobacco, and cotton were the other two, with cotton being the most common, and most harsh to work with. Tedious and harsh hours and backbreaking FREE labor were required for all three crops, showing how horrible and disturbing a day in the work life of a slave could be.
By: Thuri Amor