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Shaming Racists Won’t Work: Only Structural Policy Changes Can Reduce Institutional Racism

500_1398800361_donald_sterling_racism_27In the age of digital media, many people have taken their fight against racism online in an attempt to shame racist celebrities, politicians, business owners and others who have exposed themselves in a society that appears to be less tolerant of racism.

Or at least pretends to be less tolerant of racism.

There are all sorts of online mediums from hashtags to Tumblr pages that are dedicated to criticizing racism in America and the popular faces that appear to be racist themselves.

Some believe it is a healthy way to spark serious discussions about race in America and give a voice to those who would otherwise be voiceless.

Others have deemed these digital mediums as ineffective forms of “hashtag activism” that serve no purpose in the greater scheme of things.

Most people agree that these virtual cries will never bring about real solutions.

Attempting to “embarrass” racist people online is a strategy that has always proven to be ineffective in the long run although the short run impact can be gratifying.

Stars like Donald Sterling and Paula Dean have been criticized for racism online and in the short term it seemed like the online movement was successful.

Donald Sterling was forced to sell the Los Angeles Clippers and Paula Deen’s products were ripped from grocery store shelves all across the country.

After a while, however, the hashtags shaming the stars went away and their many other business endeavors remained untouched. Their wealth and success lived on.

Then there are the presence of online movements like #CrimingWhileWhite that allow white people to go online and speak out against racism and acknowledge their own white privilege.

Even this, however, is not enough to spark change.

Some even argue that it could be problematic.

There is a theory that such social media movements only allow white people to dump their guilt online without contributing to real solutions.

“But the problem is that there is no possible demonstration of prejudice and privilege that cannot also be appropriated by white people in the service of demonstrating the purity of their own views, resulting in an endless vortex of uncomfortable, obnoxious earnestness,” writes Ryan Cooper, a national corresponded for The Week.

Criming While White It also creates the perception that white people who participate in online movements and share certain hashtags are inherently not racist.

It allows people to passively give the perception of creating change without actually pushing for solutions.

That, ultimately, creates an environment of many problems with very few solutions and nobody to take responsibility.

Wagging a finger at people who make racist comments or even virtually persecuting officers who have been accused of racial profiling will ultimately never end systemic racism.

Even if the Darren Wilsons or the Daniel Pantaleos of law enforcement were indicted, it would leave an entire pool of other racist officers patrolling the streets.

Incarceration rates of Black males would still be skyrocketing and racially driven police tactics like stop and frisk would still be alive and well.

Horrible racist rich people or violent racist officers can be taken down one by one but that mission would be a never ending one.

Instead, if the nation wants to eliminate systemic racism it will have to reform the very systems that foster it.

“Prison and sentencing reform, ending the drug war, overhauling American policing, and implementing quota-based affirmative action would be a good start,” Cooper explains. “…If the root of racism is in our structures, then structural policy should be the solution.”


What people are saying

15 thoughts on “Shaming Racists Won’t Work: Only Structural Policy Changes Can Reduce Institutional Racism

  1. Maybe we should start with the most racist people of all – Blacks.

  2. Christopher Brasspalm Fireaxe says:

    Didn't we try that with civil rights? This damn thing needs to be torn down because policies reflect mindsets, it reflects ideology, it reflects attitudes.

  3. Da Troof says:

    Sorry blacks, I'm going to continue to be racist as long as every street, neighborhood and city you inhabit goes completely to hell. We've spent trillions of dollars propping you up, along with 50 years of affirmative action. Enough. Figure it out or go somewhere else.

  4. Yet before it was policy it didn't work either. So now we know policy is a bandaid and without policy it is a disaster. So the answer is do nothing and let them run wild like in the Jim Crow days. Have you ever seen a hanging or dead body lay in the streets for hours? This is very common for whites to teach lessons to blacks. It is also used to instill hate into there children and wives. I think as heroic as you want to be, removing the bandaid will only make these monsters worse.

  5. Yet before it was policy it didn't work either. So now we know policy is a bandaid and without policy it is a disaster. So the answer is do nothing and let them run wild like in the Jim Crow days. Have you ever seen a hanging or dead body lay in the streets for hours? This is very common for whites to teach lessons to blacks. It is also used to instill hate into there children and wives. I think as heroic as you want to be, removing the bandaid will only make these monsters worse.

  6. Christopher Brasspalm Fireaxe says:

    Monica MyGames James … How about we do like the Colonists in New England and separate from our tyrannical masters and build a nation for ourselves like the Amish or Chinese (Chinatown, Greek Town in Detroit, Little Italy ect.). We need our own townships where we hire our own police force and build for self like everybody else. We have the intelligence, the know how and the training. All we need to do is discard the slave mentality that tells us we can;t live without white folk. We were building empires all over the ancient world while white folk were in Europe living in caves crawling around on all fours. We need to stop trying to beg, march, picket, and pleading for white power to change. We've been doing that for too damn long and they have NOT changed. Electing a black president hasn't changed them. In many cases it made them worse. Time to do what the Children of Israel did with Moses and that is LEAVE Egypt and Pharaoh and go for ourselves because we will not get freedom, justice and equality among these people.

  7. Bo Sears says:

    It is difficult to see, but the white people advocating failing strategies are the new white supremacists who come from nowhere to be "allies" with peoples of color, but who are really engaged in imposing ideologies in the same way that missionaries did in Africa a century ago.

    The message and the techniques are different, but the goals and the strategies are the same. Look around to see who is telling peoples of color how to think, how to act, and how to talk.

  8. Christopher Brasspalm Fireaxe I couldn't agree more. Unfortunately, my credit is already jacked up from a divorce plus I'm a black man in america so who's going to loan me money to start my business?

  9. Christopher Brasspalm Fireaxe , I wonder what do we do with our mixed race and children who has married outside of there race? I wonder do we leave the american race all together or do we build like the Amish? If black leadership was the answer why did Detroit fall? What is going on in predominately black areas like ATL, Chicago and other areas? I'm asking for more clarification. Africa is thriving but it's not all black. We have very educated people who can't even find jobs in there fields. So who open up the chemistry jobs? In this field where so many black graduates can't work as chemist and earn there pay, due to the Koch brothers. I find your concept very interesting but where do we get the cash? How do we create what we need? What do we do with the black community who do not want to better themselves? Do we create a welfare system for those who will not have jobs? Do we create our own Social Security retirement? How do we help our brothers and sisters Like Will Ewing Sr., those coming out of prison who want or need second chances and our disabled? I love ever concept thrown at me. What I love even more are solutions. I have researched and created programs to educate our young black sisters. I started the program on my credit card. I took in 15-20 young females to educate them about life and the society we were given. Let me know when we as a people are ready to sit down and come up with real answers with out making it public knowledge. We are always watched, listened too and monitored. Yet the only time they hear us or consider us a threat is when we hurt them financially. The police got worse when we started hurting them in there pockets. So removing us as an entire race from there economy system will spark even more fire. Be prepared for what you are asking and others may not be ready. I appreciate your response and comments.

  10. Lisa Jackson says:

    As Titanic slowly sinks, just before is crashes and hits the sea floor those in first class try to hang on to a life boat and they make sure that those on the bottom stay there. AmeriKKKa hit an iceberg and is still taking in water. But white people or rather "white privilege" has become more important to white folks, they know that they don't have global power anymore so they try to claim it at home. But you know that you reap what you sow and the longer it takes karma to come back around the worst it will be when it finally does.

  11. Monica MyGames James well, we can start like we did in the past. They burned our town down and lynched us back then but that won't happen now. We can start our own wall street and go from there. All those people you mentioned that need help, like ex-cons….we welcome them because more than likely they were locked up unjustly. Perhaps some , the violent offenders, etc. I don't have all the answers, but I know it's possible.

  12. Christopher Brasspalm Fireaxe says:

    Monica MyGames James …. It all starts with farming, growing our own food and cotton for clothing, raising livestock, and starting our own schools that teach our children the knowledge of their history (not the history they teach in public schools or white run private schools). Starting our own banks. This is the starting point. This creates jobs for our people. We have to start there FIRST. All the other things are social issues that can be solved through Churches, Mosques, black organizations, sororities, fraternities, and scholars uniting to solve problems. The problem with many of us is that we always wanna include white folk. But those who are willing to unite with self and kind ONLY (you don;t invite outsiders to sit in on your immediate family issues do you?). As for so-called mixed race, that's not an issue. Those who have married whites they have already made their choice as to whom they want to be with. Those that wanna stay with white folk and be their perpetual slave, that's their choice. But for those who want freedom, justice and equality, dignity, to be treated with respect can unite and go and do something for self. .

  13. Christopher Brasspalm Fireaxe , Interesting point of view. I will say that in it self a bit harsh to our own people because they love who they. Even worse is to say, be with our own kind. Based off true history our race is the mother race to all of humanity. So if we are to grow as a society based off human race or are we to mimic our oppressors by saying like kind be with like kind? I say in order to create a true loving race that is not divisive like america we must not exclude but be open. If not just pack up and go to Africa. What you are saying and offering is no different from what the racists part of America continue to say. Starting off that is not enough to sustain a entire race trying to create it's own wealth. With all the intelligence and wealth we have we can do much better than what we already have in place.

  14. Christopher Brasspalm Fireaxe says:

    Hmmm interesting response but not unexpected. The Chinese have Chinatowns in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles but no one accuses them of mimicking the oppressor. The Jews have their own communities including a whole country (Israel) but nobody accuses them of mimicking their oppressors (the Germans), the Italians have "little Italy's all over the country but no one accuses them of mimicking their oppressors, the Latino community has "Little Havana down in Florida but no one accuses them of mimicking the oppressor, there is a Greek Town in Detroit but nobody accuses them of mimicking the oppressor. But when the conscious community brings up black people doing the same things these other ethnic groups do, blacks and whites claim that it is racist. That says a lot in confirming the level of our psychosis and inferiority complex in black people, and paternalism of white folks.

  15. Ben Weiser says:

    Christopher Brasspalm Fireaxe – Actually, its not at all unusual to compare the plight of Palestinians in Israel to the plight of Jews in the 3rd Reich. There are actual Holocaust survivors who've made that comparison. If black people from the US established some sort of "home"land in Africa the way that European jews have established a "home"land in Israel, the result will be dead and displaced Africans.

    I get how my white boy opinion probably isn't that important to you, but…. separatism is kinda bunk if you know your history. South Africa didn't partition the country or drive all the white people out after the fall of Apartheid and racial tension there has eased a great deal since the 90s. India on the other hand – they tried to solve the fighting between Hindus and Muslims by partitioning the country and sending the Muslims to Pakistan. Decades later they still have brutal deadly riots, border skirmishes, and a nuclear arms race. 14 million people moved, the largest mass migration in human history, and it didn't solve a goddamn thing.

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