Systemic Racism? What’s That?

By Peter Galuszka

At Bacon’s Rebellion there’s a constant, grating mantra debunking the concept that the U.S. has a serious problem with “Institutional” or “Systemic” Racism.

Slavery? Jim Crow? Irrelevant! We’re treated to commentary after commentary that Blacks just need to try harder. They are lazy. They do not support family values. They get too much wasted money in school spending and health care. Their constant abuse by law enforcement is imaginary. Black Lives Matters is a hateful, racist movement. BLM jeopardizes our values. Students interested in the movement were not “indoctrinated” enough. It’s bad enough if it comes up in public schools, but let BLM come up at a toney private institution in a wealthy, mostly White suburb, then it is a blood libel against every private school headmaster in the country.

For a partial list of blog postings with ideas, please see the URLs at the end of this column.

Ok. So what? Well, this morning I saw a small story in The Washington Post that shocked me since it went right to the heart of Institutional and/or Systemic Racism. If you still don’t believe it exists, read on.

One recent July day, two young African-American mothers, India Johnson, 26, and Yasmeen Winston, 25, decided to make an outing of it. They packed up their very young children in a car and drove them to Washington Mall on Constitution Avenue so the kids could splash in a water fountain and take a walk.

The children were in the back seat listening to “the Mother Goose Club” on the car speaker system.

Then, without warning, a U.S. Secret Service cruiser raced up and struck their left front bumper. Jolted and upset, the children began to cry.

A man jumped out and pointed a rifle at them, yelling them to get out of the car with their hands up. Ms. Johnson and Ms. Winston complied, were handcuffed and spent the next hour dealing with the cops while their babies wailed. The law enforcement officers did not wear COVID masks.

The Secret Service, the women said, told them they were on the lookout for two Black men driving a stolen car. That seemed strange because they are both Black women and had young children with them (not an uncommon thing for young women of whatever race). Neither woman had reported a stolen car.

They were let go but filed a complaint with the Secret Service which has yet to apologize or offer any more explanations or details.

So, if you read yet another, snarky, “data” laden Bacons Rebellion’s post about how systemic racism is totally made up, please think of these two women and their children.

Here’s that list with my own headlines:

Institutional Racism? What’s That?

Concerns of Black Parents, Students, Alumni Are Nothing More Than Libel

Is There a Problem?

How Do You Know Those Guys in Hawaiian Shirts and the Evil Looking Rifles Are Bad Guys?

No Racism Here