So, this is nominally a podcast recommendation for a recent episode of This American Life, called “The problem we all live with.” And, it’s a great episode of a great podcast. Even more, it touches on something I think often about: why we sometimes don’t do the right thing, even though the data are in front of us.
However, the real reason I’m sharing is that a recent discussion of Black Lives Matter got derailed into a discussion of whether or not systemic racism even exists. (To be fair, the phrase white privilege was thrown about a bit, but I don’t think it’s a good one.) And, if I have to say it, I’m coming down on the side of systemic racism does exist and, no, cops shouldn’t kill black people with impunity.
This podcast is great, though, because I think it demonstrates that the system is not so much “built to favor white people” as a lot of people in the discussion suggested, but that there are a lot of things coming together from overt racism, to a fear of ‘urban kids’ and the crime we’re sure they’ll bring with them, to the inequity of how education is funded in the U.S.
When I think of systemic racism, it’s stories like this one — as well as the innumerable black bodies laying in streets — that I think of. Give it a listen.