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Systemic Racism: An Overview (Video)


The video “Systemic Racism Explained” on YouTube provides a factual examination of how systemic racism impacts various aspects of American life. Through the story of two boys, Jamal and Kevin, the video illustrates the historical and present-day effects of systemic racism.

Disparities in Education

Jamal lives in a poor, predominantly African-American neighborhood, while Kevin lives in a wealthy, predominantly white neighborhood. The funding for their schools comes from property taxes, leading to significant disparities. Jamal’s school is underfunded, overcrowded, and lacks access to quality resources. In contrast, Kevin’s school is well-funded with smaller class sizes, better-paid teachers, and numerous extracurricular activities.

Historical Context: Redlining

The roots of these disparities can be traced back to practices like redlining. After the Civil War, government agencies created maps that marked predominantly black neighborhoods as undesirable for investment. This practice denied black families access to loans and other financial services, significantly impacting their ability to build wealth.

Impact on Housing and Education

Homeownership and higher education are crucial for wealth accumulation. However, redlining prevented Jamal’s grandparents from buying homes and attending colleges, which predominantly admitted only white students. In contrast, Kevin’s grandparents received low-interest loans and accessed top universities, leading to opportunities passed down through generations.

Ongoing Effects of Redlining

Studies show that the effects of redlining persist today. For instance, a 2017 study found that redlining continues to affect home values in major cities like Chicago. Consequently, for every hundred dollars of wealth held by white families, black families have just five dollars and four cents.

Implicit Bias and Employment

Systemic racism also manifests through implicit bias, where individuals unconsciously hold prejudices. This bias affects employment opportunities, as evidenced by studies showing that resumes with white-sounding names receive twice as many callbacks as those with black-sounding names. This bias contributes to a higher unemployment rate among black college graduates compared to their white counterparts.

Disparities in Various Life Aspects

Systemic racism impacts many areas of life, including family wealth, incarceration rates, political representation, and education. These disparities demonstrate how deeply ingrained and widespread systemic racism is in society.

Addressing Systemic Racism

Addressing systemic racism is challenging because it does not stem from a single source. However, individuals can start by becoming aware of their implicit biases. Additionally, acknowledging the lasting consequences of slavery and Jim Crow laws is crucial. Supporting systemic changes, such as increasing public school funding and decoupling it from property taxes, can help create more equal opportunities for everyone.


Systemic problems require systemic solutions. As members of the system, everyone has a role to play in making society better by supporting changes that promote equality and fairness.


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