The headline says: “What is systemic racism? Here’s what it means and how you can help dismantle it.” The piece surveys various “civil rights leaders and advocates,” including the head of the NAACP and the president of the “racial justice” advocacy group Race Forward. Between these authoritative sources, the following definitions of systemic racism are offered:
“The complex interaction of culture, policy, and institutions that holds in place the outcomes we see in our lives.”
“Systems and structures that have procedures or processes that disadvantage African Americans.”
“Systemic racism is naming the process of white supremacy.”
To review, systems and structures have procedures and policies which interact with cultures and institutions to create outcomes that lead to shortcomings produced by the process of white power. Well, that clears things up.
The doubt is the point, of course. If “systemic racism” has no clearly apparent definition, then the definition can be whatever the activist needs it to be in any given moment. “System racism,” like so many other terms these days (see: “gender,” “whiteness,” “privilege,” “human rights,” etc.) means anything, everything, and nothing, all at the same time.
If you were not satisfied with the explanation, then perhaps this definition from the Alberta Civil Liberties Research Center will suffice: “Systemic racism includes the policies and practices entrenched in established institutions, which result in the exclusion or promotion of designated groups.”
This is yet verbose and unclear than it needs to be and seems to mislead a bit with the word “includes,” but it gets us closer to the answer. Systemic racism, must mean the clear and focused prohibiting or promotion of designated racial groups by a powerful institution. That is a clear and independent definition, which may reduce it unusable to the “racial justice” activist but makes it useful to those of us who are actually concerned about finding and exposing true examples of systemic racism in our society.
On that note, here’s one that may be worth our attention. Breitbart reports:
Restaurants and venues owned by white men will be last in line for federal relief under President Joe Biden’s “Restaurants Revitalization Fund” (RRF), prioritizing funds for women and minority groups first.
As part of Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the Small Business Administration (SBA) is opening the application process by which owners of restaurants, bars, and other venues can apply for federal relief to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
The plan allows business owners to apply for relief of up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Business owners do not have to repay the funds so long as the money is spent by March 2023.
The relief, though, is being prioritized based on race, gender, and whether or not business owners are considered “socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.”
Down below, it clarifies that a “priority group” is “a small business concern that is at least 51 percent owned by one or more individuals who are: Women, or Veterans, or Socially and economically disadvantaged.”
Who counts as socially and economically disadvantaged? Once again, we are told to see below. Continuing the goose chase, we find this stipulation:
“Socially disadvantaged individuals are those who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias because of their identity as a member of a group without regard to their individual qualities.
Economically disadvantaged individuals are those socially disadvantaged individuals whose ability to compete in the free enterprise system has been impaired due to diminished capital and credit opportunities as compared to others in the same business area who are not socially disadvantaged.”
In other words, as long as you’re not a white man who never served in the armed forces, you get to enjoy priority status. White men can go to the back of the line.
The Small Business Administration doesn’t explicitly state that white people are excluded. On the other hand, the USDA, handing out its own COVID relief under Biden’s direction, is not in the least bit shy about the ethnic prejudice surrounded by the process. As CBS reports:
“A group of Midwestern farmers sued the federal government Thursday alleging they can’t participate in a COVID-19 loan forgiveness program because they’re White.”
According to the lawsuit, the Biden administration’s COVID-19 stimulus plan provides $4 billion to forgive loans for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers who are Black, American Indian, Hispanic, Alaskan Native, Asian American, or Pacific Islander.
White farmers aren’t eligible, amounting to a violation of the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights, the lawsuit contends.
Again, the agency’s website confirms these claims. An article on USDA.gov, titled “FAQs on American Rescue Plan Debt Relief for Socially Disadvantaged Borrowers,” begins:
Whites need not apply. Systemic racism is indeed a problem in the United States. Just not the sort of systemic racism that the racial justice activists want to talk about.