None Dare Call This Institutional Racism

Here’s how the James Madison Center for Civic Engagement web page defines institutional racism (my boldface):

Institutional racism is distinguished from the explicit attitudes or racial bias of individuals by the existence of systematic policies or laws and practices that provide differential access to goods, services and opportunities of society by race. Institutional racism results in data showing racial gaps across every system. …”

I presume by “opportunities of society,” JMU includes access to jobs. Now, let’s look at the faculty employment patterns at JMU, as detailed in JMU’s 2019 Fact Book (showing percentage of each race/ethnicity in Virginia’s population in parentheses).

Instructional faculty
White — 79.3% (61.2%)
Asian — 5.5% (6.9%)
Hispanic — 3.0% (9,8%)
Black — 3.0% (19.9%)
The percentage of blacks and Hispanics in the JMU faculty is way below that of black and Hispanic percentages in Virginia’s population. This is as clear an example of institutional racism as one can find. Perhaps one reason faculty members perceive so much institutional racism in society at large is because they are so immersed in a system that, by their own definition, is the textbook definition of institutional racism. Seeing it up close and all around them, they assume it’s everywhere.

I don’t know what percentage of JMU faculty members also happen to vote Democrat or champion liberal and progressive causes, but it seems safe to say that many faculty members are political progressives who embrace social justice dogma.

To borrow a quote from a fellow who was considered quite the social progressive in his day:

 Judge not, that ye be not judged.

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

In more contemporary language: Give us a break. Clean your own house before you lecture others about their’s. Maybe the dynamics at work are more complex and nuanced and intractable than commonly acknowledged. Or consider this: Maybe your definition of “institutional racism” is fundamentally flawed.


The JMU Factbook also provides these numbers for administrative and professional staff:

White — 52.0% (69.4%)
Asian —  5.5% (6.9%)
Hispanic —  31.4% (9.8%)
Black —  1.9% (19.9%)

I wonder what the Hispanic percentage would look like if those performing landscaping, janitorial, and other menial jobs were excluded.

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