The misperception that racism is individual — rather than systemic as well — is one of our nation’s most persistent and counterproductive myths. Institutionalized racism pervades nearly every system in the nation, including financial, educational, health, housing, criminal justice and voting.
Next comes the harder work.
The bill clearly states that the institution of chattel slavery “subjugated African Americans for nearly 250 years, fractured our nation and made a mockery of its founding principle that ‘all men are created equal.'” It also establishes the way this inequality was embedded in our society and created a racial hierarchy that remains in America today. From the policies of the Social Security program to the GI bill’s blatant discrimination against African Americans, the government’s role in perpetuating a system of unequal treatment is important for us to all understand. We need an airing of facts and a shared collective understanding that then leads to recommendations and real policy solutions.
If Congress does not act, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris must. It is a critical part of Biden’s pledge to center racial equity using the whole of government to restore the soul of America.