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
Feb. 11, 2022  Cultural Appropriation
Jan. 22, 2021  Corporate D&I
Oct. 30, 2020  Systemic Racism
Oct. 16, 2020  Monument Protests
Oct. 09, 2020  Police Under Scrutiny Updated
Aug. 23, 2019  Reparations for Slavery
Sep. 07, 2018  The STEM Gender Gap
Jan. 19, 2018  Future of Puerto Rico
Nov. 17, 2017  Affirmative Action and College Admissions
Jul. 28, 2017  Muslims in America
Mar. 10, 2017  Charter Schools
Sep. 23, 2016  Women in Leadership
Aug. 05, 2016  Diversity in Hollywood
May 13, 2016  Women in Combat
Jan. 08, 2016  Racial Conflict
Dec. 11, 2015  Transgender Rights
May 01, 2015  Community Colleges
Apr. 24, 2015  Native American Youths
Apr. 03, 2015  Latino Voters
Dec. 12, 2014  Police Tactics
Sep. 14, 2007  Racial Diversity in Public Schools Updated
Dec. 12, 2003  Black Colleges
Oct. 10, 1997  Diversity in the Workplace
Jan. 20, 1971  Ethnic America
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