Systemic Racism

October 30, 2020 • Volume 30, Issue 39
Can the structures of inequality be overcome?
By Glen Justice


Black Americans are more likely than white Americans to get shot by police, to contract COVID-19 and to be incarcerated. Anger at a lack of racial equality boiled over after the killing of George Floyd, an African American, at the hands of Minneapolis police in May, igniting possibly the largest civil rights protests in U.S. history. The national conversation that followed Floyd's killing has focused on what many activists call systemic racism and what should be done about it. More than 150 years after slavery's abolition, Black Americans still lag in many common measures of opportunity and prosperity, including income, homeownership, education and health care. Democrats, including presidential nominee Joe Biden, want substantial changes in police practices and more government investment in housing and education. But President Trump and many Republicans say the nation has made considerable progress on achieving equality and that the best way to help Black Americans is to strengthen the economy and lower unemployment. They see the Black Lives Matter movement as divisive.

Photo of a child holding an 'End Racism' sign during a protest in New York City on June 9. (AFP/Getty Images/Angela Weiss)
A children's march on June 9 in New York City calls for racial justice in the United States. Street protests sparked by the police killing in May of George Floyd, an African American from Minneapolis, may have been the largest civil rights demonstrations in U.S. history. (AFP/Getty Images/Angela Weiss)
ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Racism and Hate
Oct. 30, 2020  Systemic Racism
Aug. 23, 2019  Reparations for Slavery
May 12, 2017  Anti-Semitism
Mar. 17, 2017  ‘Alt-Right’ Movement
Jan. 08, 2016  Racial Conflict
Sep. 18, 2015  Far-Right Extremism
Nov. 22, 2013  Racial Profiling
May 08, 2009  Hate Groups
Jun. 01, 2007  Shock Jocks Updated
Jan. 07, 1994  Racial Tensions in Schools
Jan. 08, 1993  Hate Crimes
May 12, 1989  The Growing Danger of Hate Groups
Nov. 05, 1969  American History: Reappraisal and Revision
Mar. 31, 1965  Extremist Movements in Race and Politics
May 13, 1964  Racism in America
Dec. 03, 1958  Spread of Terrorism and Hatemongering
Jul. 10, 1946  Ku Klux Klan
Jan. 09, 1945  Race Equality
Dec. 19, 1933  Lynching and Kidnapping
Air Pollution
Civil Rights and Civil Liberty Issues
Civil Rights Movement
Civil Rights: African Americans
Congress Actions
Consumer Behavior
Crime and Law Enforcement
Criminal Law Procedure and Due Process
Domestic Issues
Freedom of Speech and Press
General Social Trends
Health Insurance and Managed Care
Infectious Diseases
Internet and Social Media
Party Politics
Powers and History of the Presidency
Protest Movements
Race and Hate Crimes
Radio and Television
Segregation and Desegregation
Supreme Court History and Decisions