Racial Profiling and Systemic Racism, Its Roots and Evidences in Modern Society

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 2009 |

Pages: 4|

11 min read

Published: Jan 28, 2021

Words: 2009|Pages: 4|11 min read

Published: Jan 28, 2021

Racism in the 21st century is not as same as in the Colonial Era, while in the Colonial Era racism concerned as supremacy over a race today with the globalization it is more like an ethnic prejudice and aftermaths of past racist acts. Indeed, there are still people believing that they are superior than others but it is in decline, yet still alive. There are some major issues concerning racism from the beginning of the century to today like racial profiling, after effects of racial redlining, and systemic racism. Racial profiling, a long-lasting problem for people of color in United States is, in general, “when law enforcement and private security target people of color for humiliating and often frightening detentions, interrogations, and searches without evidence of criminal activity and based on perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion.”

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In July 2000, George W. Bush, in his NAACP speech, mentioned the importance of taking lessons from the past and promised on enforcing civil rights and after he declared the racial profiling was wrong “End Racial Profiling Act of 2001” was introduced by Russell Feingold but declined several times and the bill died in 2007, even though the bill died out in 2003 Department of Justice released a guide named “Guidance Regarding the Use of Race by Federal Law Enforcement Agencies” in 2003. Through this guidance D.O.J. suggest that the use of racial profiling ineffective yet we can see examples where police officers continues profiling people of color. David A. Harris a professor from University of Pittsburgh makes emphasis on the ineffectiveness of the racial profiling saying “... if you want to know whether somebody might be up to no good in an airport, you should watch with unrelenting intensity what they are doing, not what they look like — because that’s the only good predictor,'.

One of the examples for racial profiling happened in July 2009 when Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. get arrested by a police officer after police received a report on robbery while he was attempting to enter his house. Even though he had his driver’s license and the Harvard ID card on him, the police officer refused to believe him and arrested Henry Louis thinking that he was a criminal just because his skin color. Cases like this even more violent ones like the shooting of Michael Brown and the death of Eric Garner in 2014 lead to movements like Black Lives Matters, an organization created against police violence towards black people. Second issue about racism dates back to the early 20th century.

Racial redlining started in 1930’s when the neighborhoods color-coded by government to define best and hazardous areas and defining their potential incomes in the process, most of the hazardous tagged neighborhoods housed color of people, Jews and Muslims, loans were unavailable or were too high for a low-income family to get until the Fair Housing Act in 1968. Yet after 50 years, it is observable that; 91 percent of areas classified as “best” in the 1930s remain middle-to-upper-income today, and 85 percent of them are still predominantly white Researchers found that redlined neighborhoods in the South and the West are more likely today to be home to a largely minority population. Neighborhoods in the South and Midwest display the most persistent economic inequality.

Tracy Jan’s article about racial redlining illuminates us about how an Act can set the stage for the future for all minorities and their generations income levels. When its asked to White Americans in the 2000 General Social Survey 51% “stated that blacks’ low social position was due to lack of motivation and willpower...” meaning that 32 years later from the abolishment of the racial redlining, majority of white people thought that the reason why there are still black people with low-income is because of their lack of work. The last but not least major issue concerning racism is the systemic racism. What is systemic racism? Systemic racism can be identified as institutional racism rather than daily life racism which someone can receive from his neighbor, such as the wealth gap or employment rates between white and colored people.

2013 Survey of Consumer Finances revealed that a middle-class white family has estimate of $130,000 net worth while a Hispanic family has $17,530 and for a black family numbers dropping to $9,590 and since 2000 there are no record for Native American households. It is important to note that “Between 1983 and 2013, white households saw their wealth increased by 14 percent. But during the same period, black household wealth declined 75 percent. Median Hispanic household wealth declined 50 percent”. What caused this wealth gap dates back to the Colonial Era. It wasn’t until the 13th Amendment that black people started to build up wealth, but even then, it was hard for them to save money due to segregation continued in the south. We can also spot the systemic racism through unemployment rates.

From 2002 to 2019 data provided from Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals us that unemployment rates for the black community is always 2 times worse than white people even when overall unemployment rates are dropping for example, 5.9% whites were unemployed in 2002 whereas 10.7% blacks and 7.2% Hispanics suffered from unemployment and in 2019 whites has 3.7% while blacks have 7.1% and Hispanics have 5.1% unemployment rates. One of the reasons for this situation is because the prejudices employees have against people of color, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research after sending 5000 resumes to employment ads “Job applicants with white names needed to send about 10 resumes to get one callback; those with African-American names needed to send around 15 resumes to get one callback.” Another reason is that the difference between educational degrees, why there are lower people of color with high educations than white people is because their families are poorer, more uneducated, and they are dealing with police force more than white people.

Although there is a recent increase in the number of non-white students that attend university in the UK, white students are more likely to attend elite universities and to continue with their postgraduate studies. This stems from the policy-driven restrictions that affect every aspect of a person of colour’s life from the moment they are born. In 2016, white men made up 70 per cent of UK university professors. Eddo-Lodge says this is ‘an indication of what universities think education looks like.’ If a white advantage and white preference is normalised throughout a person of colour’s life – even when they enter higher education – this is going to have a significant impact on how they perform in their adult lives; the qualifications a student receives during their postgraduate study will influence how they are received within the labour market.

Therefore, because minority groups are less likely to attend postgraduate studies, they are in turn less likely to succeed as well as white people in the workforce. A decrease in the probability of their success is directly influenced by the existence of white privilege and the way it impacts the dynamic of the workforce. England and Wales have an employment rate of 72.8 per cent; of those people, 74.3 per cent are white, 61 per cent are of black groups, 51 per cent are of Asian groups, and less than half are Pakistani, Bangladeshi or Arab individuals. Unemployment for all minority groups is more than double that of white groups. People of colour are more likely to be unemployed, while white people are represented in the workplace the most out of any race.

A study conducted in 2009 job applications to varying workplaces, all with common qualifications. There is evidence that individuals with white British names ‘were called to interview far more often than those with African- or Asian-sounding names.’ If the hiring process was based off of merit, there would be no room for statistics such as these. However, meritocracy has been abandoned because the people in charge do not care if a person of colour is more qualified than a white person. There is an unfair advantage that buries its roots in the structural racism that has permeated the workforce; the people who are in high-paying and high-status jobs use their privilege only to ensure their position remains. If the people in these positions – mostly white, middle-aged, educated men – are always the ones in charge, then they have the power to decide the work atmosphere and transfer their set of ideals.

A post-racial society poses an idealistic blueprint for humanity, one free of the bias and hatred that can form from the existence of race. Our current society is not post-racial. Acting as if racism doesn't exist anymore is ignorant and a way to remove people of colour from the conversation; it is a way to avoid talking about racism and continue living in a world powered by white privilege. Race may bring with it the ability to separate us as humans; however, there is importance in its existence as well. Race can be a source of identity and a way people can relate to each other. If we remove race, we are asking someone to abandon their race-identity. It is unfair to ask anyone to forget about what makes them who they are – it isn’t that simple. Therefore, I do not think an entirely post-racial society is possible; we must try to separate what is beneficial about race and pair it with the helpful aspects of post-racial thought. Even then, it may be impossible to eliminate racism entirely, since it is so ingrained within humanity. However, that does not mean that we should stop acknowledging the issues that causes widespread racism to persist. White privilege is the root of modern-day systemic racism; it is an easy way for white people to stay in power. In order to dismantle racist institutions, one must be consistently anti-racist to avoid perpetuating the wrongful advantages of white privilege. Ignoring its existence won’t make racism magically disappear; it is through conversation that humanity will encourage anti-racist ideals. As Eddo-Lodge says, ‘it doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you’re doing something.’

Race still impacts the way humanity thinks and acts. Race should not be a deciding factor in anything that may limit the individual. Because reverse-racism does not exist, racism can sometimes be an uncomfortable conversation for white people because they do not directly experience it. The only way society can progress is to have the conversation and acknowledge the impact that racism has on humanity. Speaking about white privilege and its contribution to modern-day racism can be difficult when some white people do not acknowledge their privilege. In order to work towards an anti-racist future, white people must strive to understand their privilege and learn to use it to help minority ethnic groups. White privilege has its effect on many areas of our society, but the way it affects people of colour is through power.

The people in power are overwhelmingly white and overwhelmingly men; they have the power to decide the future and wellbeing of a person of colour, whether it be their location, their education, or where they work. White privilege directly equates to white power: a world in which white people are at the top because the majority doesn’t acknowledge it as privilege. White privilege is one of the main reasons for the perpetuation of systemic racism; acknowledging and condemning this racism will be one step towards a world more closely related to a post-racial society. If we do not acknowledge racism there will be no possibility for change. A post-racial society may not be the most realistic scenario for humanity; however, this does not mean we can’t use it as a guideline for a society that strives to better understand race and to live with equal opportunities for everyone.

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  1. Bhopal, Kalwant, White Privilege: The Myth of a Post-Racial Society (Bristol: Policy Press, 2018)
  2. Eddo-Lodge, Reni, Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People about Race (London: Bloomsbury, 2017)
  3. Jargowsky, Paul, The Architecture of Segregation (New York: The Century Foundation, 2015), pp. 1-16
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Racial Profiling And Systemic Racism, Its Roots And Evidences In Modern Society. (2021, January 25). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 23, 2024, from
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