ew York Times in which he discusses institutional racism and particular studies that enforce that it does exist.
A study conducted by Harvard University sent young white and black men out into the job market with identical resumes to see what the findings would be when applying for the same positions. The answer? White people were twice as likely to get called back for a second interview.
“A majority of whites believe that job opportunities are the same for whites and blacks, according to a PBS poll, but rigorous studies show that just isn’t so,” Kristof said in the New York Times article.
When speaking about race, it’s important for white people to be aware that racial discrimination isn’t something they can fully understand. The truth is that no white person can fully understand what it’s like to be black.
As a conservative, too often I’ve noticed a strange and downright stupid part of the conservative movement. Some pretend racism doesn’t exist. David Marcus, writer for The Federalist, an online conservative magazine, puts it bluntly: “Too often, people of color find themselves trapped between a left that exaggerates racism and a right that pretends it doesn’t exist.”
There can be no dialogue about unconscious bias when many members of one major U.S. political party pretend it’s not a real thing. Racism is something conservatives should care about. There is no denying its existence.
Once you look at the public sphere, such as the job market and the criminal justice system, it’s impossible not to acknowledge the racial injustice in this country.
One of the more well-known examples of institutional racism in the U.S. relates to prison sentencing.
“The U.S. Sentencing Commission found that black men received sentences about 20 percent longer than white men for similar crimes,” Kristof said in the article.
There are countless examples of instances where young black men and women have their lives ruined because of a mistake made when they were young. One example is that of drug conviction where black people receive harsher sentences than whites, even if it’s for the same drug or amount.
“There are staggering racial disparities in life-without-parole sentencing for nonviolent offenses,” according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
Data provided to the ACLU by the U.S. Sentencing Commission and state Departments of Corrections estimates that 65.4 percent of prisoners nationwide serving life-without-parole for nonviolent offenses, such as drug use, are black.
However, this racism extends to all parts of life, including — as we began with — employment.
“In one study, researchers sent thousands of resumes to employers with openings, randomly using some stereotypically black names, like Jamal, and others that were more likely to belong to whites, like Brendan. A white name increased the likelihood of a callback by 50 percent,” Kristof said in the article.
Overt racism is nowhere near as big a problem in our society as it was even 50 years ago. However, “unconscious bias” is a big problem in this nation. Unconscious bias is a phrase used to describe a society of “racism without racists,” coined by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, an eminent sociologist.
We all have some biases, whether we want to admit it or not.
Institutional racism is not a political issue. It is an issue of human decency and deserves to be treated as such. It should not be brushed off as lazy college students with nothing else to complain about. It can only be solved by individuals and groups. It can’t be eradicated by the very government that perpetuates this problem.
“Conservatism demands that we overcome this problem ourselves,” Marcus said in his article.
I agree with him. The first step to solving a problem is admitting there is one. The next step? Do something about it.
Email Joseph Bochichio at firstname.lastname@example.org