Systemic Racism or Systemic Oppression of Poverty

By george 2 years ago

With the recent uprise of protest from Black Lives Matter (BLM), the narrative that law enforcement is systemically racist has been in the forefront of media reports, as well as political agendas focused on the 2020 presidential election. The claim that police routinely shoot and kill unarmed black people is propped up by viral videos and media reports focused on showing the videos as proof that the system is racist to its core. The media runs the videos of unarmed black men being shot numerous times while videos of unarmed white men that are also shot and killed by cops seem to never come to light.

According to a Wall Street Journal article(source 1) in 2019 there were a total of 9 unarmed black men killed by police and a total of 19 unarmed white men killed. It would appear on the surface that those numbers show disproportional killings of black men due to the breakdown of the population. It gives the impression that black men are targeted at a much higher rate due to being so small of a minority. This narrative gives credit to the BLM movement and appears to be a real problem facing our society that is rooted in racism.

What this narrative never seems to account for or even investigate is if this is actually racism or is it due to over policing of poverty stricken areas due to higher crime rates that are present in poverty stricken areas. USA Today published an article (source 2) that breaks down poverty and shows that blacks have a total of 8.9 million people living in poverty and a total of 15.7 million white people living in poverty. This would show that in 2019 the percent of unarmed blacks killed would be 1.01% with the percentage of unarmed whites killed being 1.21%. By these percentages it would suggest that racism is not the problem at all because whites are being killed in higher numbers than blacks.

There are assumptions being made with my conclusion because of a lack of data in certain areas. The main assumption used is that the unarmed people killed were people living in poverty stricken areas and the justification for my assumption is that we don't see reports of any unarmed wealthy people being the victims in these situations and it isn't being reported in the Hamptons or Beverly Hills type areas. The areas these things happen in are mostly areas riddled with crime and drug problems that are usually elevated due to the poverty in the region. The areas are policed more strictly and the cops there do work with higher levels of anxiety due to the criminal activity and the higher risks of being hurt or killed themselves in these areas, thus leading to equal amounts of white and black unarmed men being killed when I see the deaths of unarmed people as being people suffering in poverty.

The theory that I am suggesting is that the real problem is systemic oppression of the poor. The fact that we have a for profit private prison system means prisons need to stay at full capacity in order to maximize profits. Therefore, people who can't afford lawyers to fight charges end up being jailed then exploited for cheap labor and the race of the person is not as much of a factor as it is portrayed as. Wealthy whites and blacks alike dodge convictions while poor blacks and whites serve the time and bring in profits.

The reason this is overlooked is because the media is now corporate owned and controlled and the owners of the media are also part of the same wealthy donor class as the corporate prisons owners. Exposing this reality would not only hurt the prison system but also hurt the media profits. Showing that our system is focused on the donor class wants above all else is not in the best interests of the media, the for profit prisons, or the corrupt politicians who serve the donor class.

The corporate agenda that the politicians are paid to serve has used race as a dividing factor in every area that they possibly can to divert attention from the real agenda going on behind the curtains. This race agenda gives a political fight that can be used to gain support by appearing to be a fight against an evil that the vast majority would support. This same strategy is used with sexism claims, bigotry claims, homophobia claims and any social issue that can be used to focus attention away from the real problem Americans face, socioeconomic inequality. These issues are a primary driver of the left wing of politics while the right wing focuses on non-issues that religious folks face like a bogus war on Christmas. We are divided with social issues over and over while economic issues are ignored or given quick lip service so that the status quo that constantly redistributes wealth from the bottom to the top goes unchanged. "Victimhood" trumps all else and brings in poorly informed voters, due to fake news pushed by the corporate main stream media, to basically vote against their best interests time and time again while continually pointing the finger at the other side and blaming them for all the problems when in all reality both parties are serving the same donors and use propaganda and dishonesty to garner support. The last thing the corporation's want is an informed educated voter that refuses to vote against their interests in favor of the interests of the wealthiest people to ever live. Systemic racism is a clever cover for the real problem and until we as a society realize that we will only continue the same path that has got us to where we are now.


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It is because of the crime rate of drug users...pure and simple.


This is a good piece and you sound like a smart person so I hope you write more of them.

The differences between equity and equality as well as the general human nature attached to life circumstances do not necessarily dictate that there is any evidence of oppression.

The Left is generally disgusted by the reality of human nature. This is why they make excuses for 'marginalized' groups. They pretend to advocate on behalf of these groups to 'subvert' the system in some way in order to gain access to it and manipulate it and eventually gain control over it for purposes having to do with power - which they desperately crave to satisfy their own feelings of inadequacy. This is Leftism.

I was taking a grad level research class and there had been an assignment wherein I had to choose a topic and outline a research method. Living in Chicago, I decided to examine the correlation between temperature and crime. Like clockwork - the hotter it gets in the city, the more crime there is. This probably goes for any large city anywhere in urban America. When you shove this into the 'woke' machine - Leftists will 'conflate' obscure things that do not coexist in a normal cause and effect relationship and use one act to excuse another. My thesis, when rewritten and misused by leftists tuns into - 'higher temperatures cause crime.' This is obviously not true even if more crimes occur when temperatures are higher.

Language and the abuse and misuse of it seems to be the new 'craft' of journalism repurposed. For example, in most online news publications in any major city a car accident will be described as, "the vehicle he was driving crashed into..." when we know that the person driving the vehicle caused it to crash even though the article excuses the driver's involvement in the accident by wording it in such a way that it appears to be blamed on the vehicle.

The black community commits crimes at a higher rate than any other race of people. This is solely a matter of behavior. Crime is the path of least resistance. Crime is high-risk, high reward. Crime is the low-hanging fruit. Not having fathers in the home is the most commonly cited 'reason' or 'excuse' for black criminality.

There are certain things that I pick up on -

When you write: 'The corporate agenda that the politicians are paid to serve...' - That tells me right there that you are on the Left. Or maybe you are trying to figure it out which I suspect is probably the case. That is good. However, that statement is false and can only come from the position of someone on the Left every time.

Politicians control corporations because they pull the levers of regulation. It is not their duty to serve a corporation. Corporations constantly pay politicians off under the threat of regulations that could crush them. Symbiotic relationship between parasite and host.

I have heard various statistics that are alarming with regard to wealth and politics, specifically with members of Congress that make up an insanely large percentage of people who became millionaires only after becoming a member of Congress and that is not based on their salaries.

very good piece

Yea, I do mean left when it comes to politics but the corporate control of the politicians is just a fact of our system since SCOTUS ruled that money is speech and corporations are people. The donations are just legal bribes that are used to control both sides of the aisle. I know people from the right that also see the corporate influence over our politicians, it's not just a right vs left issue. The resolution is what makes the difference and I don't currently agree with either sides solutions.

@george I agree with that as well. Corporations are made up of people - they are the system by which many people earn a living. In terms of that I think Corporations to the Right are what Unions are to the Left. Donations are legal bribes - I totally agree with that. It is either a bribe to do something now or grant a favor later on. Or just lay off the restrictions...


What’s important, what was always important, is equality under the law. Equality of opportunity. I think we’ve done a pretty good job of that since the civil rights movement.


I am gonna have to go with both. There definitely is systemic racism in the US. One only needs to log onto any social media site to see it, though it may be more difficult to see first hand in areas that are still predominantly white. Separately, I agree with you that the bigger issue, albeit somewhat overlapping in ways, is poverty and the oppression of those who are living in it. Poverty in itself comes with a whole host of problems that lead to increased crime and dysfunction and there are far too few ladders that exist for people to climb their way out of it. The lip service programs we tend to put in place to address it are in reality almost wholly ineffective. I think that extrapolates globally as well as within the US. We used to have a growing middle class, and that growth has been declining now for decades while the gap between classes grows ever wider. I am not at all a fan of the privatization of prisons for all the reasons you mention, especially when white collar criminals, who often cause far more harm to others than one convicted of a drug possession or nonviolent petty crime, get mere slaps on the wrist or fines they aren't hurting to pay, and the latter category receives hard time that effectually holds them in that rut without a viable way out. Corruption runs far deeper in our country than I think many have realized in the past. The unfortunate result of these things coming more to light, is that the manipulative blame game ensues intending to distract and confuse people from the larger issues and creating mistrust in any institution. Corporations are now given more rights and protections than human beings, and that certainly needs to change. There has to be some balance between capitalism and a healthy social construct for a free enterprise democracy to be successful. Any imbalance of power is going to lead to further oppression of those with lesser of it.

From what I see at the systemic level there is only one color that matters and that is green. I do know racism and racist exists but I don't see it being as big an issue as it is made out to be. My experiences with black room mates and family members shows me racism exist so im not naive to that but corporation's and government institutions are not rooted in racism in any way I can find. I'm open to be shown the issues that point to it but so far my research shows me different and no person has ever shown me any example that points to just racism. The things done to minorities happen to poor white folks all across the nation as well but media based out of urban areas don't acknowledge that reality at all. It don't help corporate profits to expose a political party that uses the race game to get support because they serve corporate interests, not minorities or poor folks interests.


Consider government decisions that affect poor persons generally. These decisions may seem racially neutral, despite their more pronounced harm to minorities engendered through the disproportionate presence of nonwhites among our society's poor. Such decisions, if truly independent of racial institutions, might not be considered racism at all.398 Nevertheless, recent scholarship demonstrates that few such governmental actions are race-neutral; rather, reliance on racial institutions often taints them. The long history of racism in the shaping of welfare policies, for instance, evidences not only purposeful but also institutional racism.3 Racial statusenforcement in the absence of influence from racial institutions surely exists, but institutional racism produces much that we usually consider an accident of inequality. Instances of harmful discriminatory action taken without reliance on racial institutions ultimately may be quite few. Thus, racism is nearly as ubiquitous as racial status-enforcement.


Conclusion Since the American colonial period, public and private institutions have reinforced each other, maintaining racial hierarchies that have allowed white Americans, across generations, to earn more and consolidate more wealth than non-white Americans, and maintain political dominance. This structural racism has had a substantial role in shaping the distribution of social determinants of health and the population health profile of the USA, including persistent health inequities. The stark reality is that research investigating the relationship between structural racism and population health outcomes has been scant, and even less work has been done to assess the health impacts of the few interventions and policy changes that could help dismantle structural racism.


Heurtin-Roberts et al. (1997) and Good et al. (2003), working in different institutional settings, conclude that the medical constructions of certain illness categories can shelter racist stereotypes and ignorance about local illness constructions, and potentially lead to largescale over- or under-diagnosis of mental illness in non-White populations in ways that can perpetuate stigmatization and inadequate health care delivery.

@george Here is another one I read many years ago. It may speak more to the corporate type of racism you don't think exists.


We searched online and selected resumes of actual job seekers, says Bertrand. We then used those to create models for several different realistic resumes with the appropriate education and experience needed for typical job openings advertised in newspapers.
Most job openings for which the researchers sent resumes were administrative, sales, clerical and managerial positions. Bertrand and Mullainathan randomly assigned the applicants names common to either black men, black women, white men or white women and were careful not to send identical resumes to the same employer.
Bertrand and Mullainathan then tracked which of their applicants were called for job interviews. Bertrand said that more resumes were sent to Chicago area employers simply because it is the larger metropolitan area but added that the rate for interview requests was virtually identical between the two cities.
The results are a bit disturbing, the researchers admit. Applicants with white-sounding names were 50 percent more likely to be contacted for job interviews than those with typical black names. There were no significant differences between the rates at which men and women were contacted.
Once we compiled the data and got a good look at it, I was immediately struck by the disparities in the response rates, said Bertrand. I expected that there would be a difference, but not one that was so striking.

@Amzungu almost 16 mil whites in poverty and 8 mil blacks in poverty are effected. That is effecting more whites than blacks. Percentages of each race in poverty shows a different story if u are just focused on the effect of the percentage of a race so it all boils down to which numbers u look at. I prefer to look at the total number of people effected. Double the amount of whites were killed compared to blacks showing it is applied equally to the population totals in question. This is just a quick response and I haven't read your links yet but I will read them and reply again with any thoughts I have. Thanks for the sources, I'm not used to that from people on the internet.

@george The Left generally judges people based on how they look and the Right generally judges people based on how they act. Generally. You are on the right track. You need to compare 'inputs' and 'outputs' - The 'achievement gap' - tolerance is the unequal expectation of behavior that excuses the 'input' part of the equation. This is what is used to explain oppression. The level of expectation is lower for oppressed groups. The disparity in performance is called 'racist' or whatever 'ist' or 'ism' when the 'oppressed group' cannot achieve an equal metric.

When all encompassing behavior - the whole story - is taken into account, the merits of what produced more desirable outcomes become apparent.


Thanks for the post, George. Lots of good points here, but you lose me completely with the assumption that this is a war on the poor. Layering “corporate” media, prisons and corrupt politicians on top of that theory simply lets a good article drift into murky realm of conspiracy thinking.

Let’s be practical.

Fact: Blacks and Hispanic were responsible for 98% of the murders in NYC in 2016.
Fact: Whites (34% of the population) committed under 2% of the shootings in NYC. (Heather Mac Donald, The Diversity Delusion)

Given those numbers, who do you think police will have more interactions with? We don’t need to theorize about corporate cover ups. Police respond to crime.

The crime is coming from a small, specific demographic, and researchers even narrow it down to a specific gender, age group and even neighbourhood. The recent KOMO-TV doc “Seattle is Dying” shows most of the skyrocketing level street crime in that city is being committed by a tiny group of 100 drug addicts.

This issue is far simpler that it looks. The truth really is out there. Unfortunately, progressives and politicians play it up supremacist oppression of blacks, or the homeless or the poor to further their own agendas. And people who don’t read beyond the sound bites always fall for the false narrative.

If u can't see the connection between poor people being used for cheap labor in corporate owned prisons that were designed by politicians taking corporate money I don't know what to say. Being from the Appalachian mountains I see white poor people here done the same as minorities in the cities. Longer sentencing for crack in the cities is the same as opiate sentences in Appalachia. Plus working in a state prison for 5 years allowed me to see it from the inside as well. The city areas are not the only people who face this issue. Poor people all across America are over policed to prop up Joe Bidens system.

@george thanks for the reply. Absolutely no doubt the US has incarcerated more offenders than any other jurisdiction on earth, and I respect your expertise as someone who worked in the system. And no doubt, more than one politician has profited from the current incarceration system.

My fear is jumping on the woke-progressive bandwagon that blames every imaginable social Ill on corporations. It’s dangerous. I also can’t believe it’s a war on the poor, or any race, since most of the crime is being committed by small subcultures of those populations (as illustrated by the Seattle data among others).

There are so many more variants, not the least of which is the tough American cultural attitude on law and order which results in incarceration rates eight times higher than in neighbouring Canada. Bill Clinton’s 1994 crime bill came down hard on drug offenders and bloated prison populations.

The fact is incarceration rates peaked 12 years ago and have been slowly declining since. Coupled with hard left demands cutting back on police budgets, non-enforcement policies from progressive city councils and de facto decriminalization of growing levels of offences, especially around drugs, the landscape on this topic is rapidly shifting.

@GeeMac I agree with u more than I disagree. There are many variables involved but when u see the subcultures that are the high crime rate areas there is a correlation to the poverty of the area. I'm not one of the woke types that narrows things down to a simple answer at all. My focus here was to mainly disprove the idea of systemic racism because working in the Kentucky system u see that there is just as many white folks as any other race and that is because of the high poverty of Appalachia and drug charges. Poverty breeds crime because black markets do profit highly. The prisons being designed for profit also cause over policing which in turns leads to high stress on cops and anxiety makes people make decisions that they normally wouldn't. There are other factors we could dissect with policing and crime but in order to even have the discussion I feel that racism claims have to be dealt with first due to the protests and riots going on now.

@george I agree with 99% of what you are saying. Humor me for a minute - if welfare were not a lifestyle option, people would be more motivated to take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to them. The black community, in terms of percentages, has a disproportionately HIGH number of opportunities for employment and education, more than any other group. The welfare system allows people to live off the govt. 7 million people in this country ON WELFARE cannot get a job solely because they cannot pass a drug test. 'The chicken and the egg' when it comes to poverty and crime is matter of behavior and choice. When a person on welfare wants to supplement their income, they do illegal things to avoid losing their welfare benefits probably because they could lose those benefits if they show legit income. It literally does not make sense to work in some cases. This is how blue state government policies control that population. Here is where your politicians profit and benefit from keeping these people down. It is still a matter of choice for the individual. They throw them into an environment where they 'cultivate' an opportunity for them to break the law and then profit from them in that way. That circles back to your for-profit prisons. But you still need somebody on the inside to prosecute the crimes. The office of the prosecutor in any county, in my opinion, is almost solely responsible for the 'favorability' of a community.

You can look at most inner city high schools even in the worst neighborhoods in Chicago and a black student who 'earns' a high school diploma just by showing up has a better chance of getting into college for free or nearly free than does their middle-class white counterpart whose parents both work for a living. Even if the white student maintained a straight 'A' average they will most likely not receive anywhere near the monetary assistance. The black community is disproportionately privileged in this area.

There are 3 things that experts cite as being directly related to one's success in this arena - If you: 1) Don't have a child out of wedlock 2) graduate high school and 3) don't get arrested - you have a very good chance of getting out of the hood.


I agree completely with you, even if the data is hard to corroborate.

The data needed doesn't serve the agenda so it isnt collected is my take on it.

@george that is entirely 100% correct

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