A logical argument against Institutional Racism theory

While reading articles on Thought Catalog, I came across an article Patrick Johnson wrote where he argues that making the case that institutional racism doesn’t exist is illogical. He begins by declaring his surprise we need to have a conversation about racism in 2014, then quickly references past actions such as Jim Crow laws, internment camps and immigration quotas. All these issues have ended and been outlawed. It seems Johnson would have us believe these past occurrences somehow directly affect people today, as if they carry these wounds in their DNA. That assertion is ridiculous, as we can also glean from history. For example, Thomas Sowell has shown that the so called legacy of slavery used by some to explain differences among today’s black and white populations to be wrong. How so? Well the poverty rate, rate of single parent families and murder rates were all lower among African Americans the first few generations after slavery then they are now. Obviously something other than racism is at work here.
Johnson next goes on to reference various studies purporting to show how our society is racist. First he references a study that shows Blacks and Latinos are more likely to be suspended or punished in school than whites, even though they don’t act out more. While it is true they are punished more there is no evidence that they don’t act out more than white students. He next references the fact that white schools receive more funding than minority schools. If one considers that most funding comes from the local level and you realize that white people make more money on average than blacks the answer should jump out to you. It isn’t racism its just more money coming in from the local level.
In the matter of employment he brings up the fact that whites are more likely to be employed than blacks and Latinos. What is left out is the fact that Asians are employed at higher levels than whites. Is there an Asian privilege that I haven’t heard of to explain this?
Johnson then brings up voter ID laws, saying they disproportionately affect people of color. The article he linked to showed no evidence that this is the case. It only showed that there was a correlation. As we all know correlation does not show that was the cause. What it did show that it was passed in states that had Republican Governors and legislatures. Johnson also failed to see that these states had high concentrations of non citizen populations. Since non citizens are not supposed to vote it only makes sense to pass laws to make it harder for them to do so.
Lastly Johnson cited a study that looked at how minorities were treated in the media. One tidbit that stood out to me was “whites were also almost exclusively associated with healthier whole unprocessed foods, such as eggs. Blacks and East and Southeast Asians, on the other hand, were over-represented in fast food ads.” Seriously? This is because racism right, and not the fact that these companies did marketing research. When they did this research they found out who was more likely to buy their product and tailored their advertising accordingly. According to Johnson these companies would rather disregard profits just to make advertisements that use racial stereotypes. Sounds logical to me.
Johnson says the case for racism is compelling. He says that it is an inconvenient truth that does not fit neatly with our American Dream of a meritocracy. Yes racism does exist however all differences between the races cannot be explained by it. I’m sorry to say that the story is more complicated than that. When people like Johnson deny this they are perpetuating a myth as disgusting as the one laid out in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.


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