Last month, white supremacists in Charlottesville shook up the entire country, but it’s important to realize the historic and systemic ways that their attitudes bleed out into the rest of society. It isn't enough to say "that's what white supremacy looks like" and deny any connection to it. On the contrary, much of American society still functions as a haven for racial bias, and the effects of white supremacy are felt by Black folks and People of Color, while white folks, even the most well-meaning allies, experience the privilege of being free from the effects of white supremacy.
This is how we define white supremacy, as the inequalities that primarily and disproportionately harm people of color, even if white people didnt themselves enact these policies, or individually cause them to happen. The privilege of being born in, raised in, and living in different conditions is the effect of white supremacy. Those white people who do not combat these inequalities, even if they vote blue, wear a safety pin, or otherwise state their support for people of color, are simply supporting and protecting white supremacy.
The information below sits freely on the Internet for anyone willing to look it up. So if you aren't even trying to know why Black folks and People of Color have been complaining about racism in modern America, it exposes the truth that our lives simply don't matter as much to you as that hashtag in you frequent says they do. Without further ado, here are 22 ways that white supremacy has manifested itself in America, now and in the lifetime of a young Millennial:
1. People think Black folks feel less pain.
This means they are less likely to be prescribed with pain medication, and medical care will be less thoughtful of their pain or recovery times. Pharmacies in communities of color stock less opioids than in white communities. Black children with bone fractures are least likely to be administered an analgesic or sedative during procedures. Research has actually shown that people believe Black people feel less pain because they have “been through more hardship.” (Slate, http://slate.me/1kRrhk2).
2. People think Black kids are older than they are.
Cops are even worse, believing that Black teenagers are up to 5 years older than they are in criminal cases, never giving them the benefit of youth. We see this in the story of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was shot by a police officer because he was playing with a toy gun at the park. (The Dish, http://bit.ly/UWk7AN).
3. Students of color, particularly first generation students of color, experience academic racism.
Hostile campus environments and lack of high school college preparation make college success difficult for underrepresented students. A survey conducted by mental health organizations JED Foundation and the Steve Fund found. that “50 percent of white students felt more academically prepared than their peers, versus 36 percent of Black students; white students were also more likely to feel emotionally prepared for college. Meanwhile, 57 percent of Black students said that college wasn’t “living up to their expectations,” compared to 47 percent of white students. Students of color were more likely than white students to say that “everyone has college figured out but them,” and 75 percent of Black college students responded that they tend to keep their feelings about the difficulty of college to themselves, versus 61 percent of white students.”
4. White People think Black men are violent.
More than 40% of white Americans say that "many" or "almost all" Black men are violent, demonstrating the fear white folks have of Black men. We see this in the story of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was murdered by a racist neighborhood vigilante because he was walking down the street wearing a black hoodie and eating Skittles. From Claudia Rankine’s lyric poem, Citizen: Because white men can't police their imagination Black men are dying.” (Monkey Cage, http://bit.ly/1tWTr1A).
5. White people are seen as justified in their fear when killing Black people.
Of all cases in the United States, including Stand Your Ground cases, white people are 250% more likely to have justifiably killed a Black person; Black people are 75% less likely to be justified in killing a white person (Frontline, http://to.pbs.org/1gr921m).
6. Women of color are more exoticized in the media and pornography.
This objectification leads to a normalization of violence against Black and Brown bodies. According to the Women of Color Network, Black women experience intimate partner violence (IPV- categorized as rape, physical assault, or stalking) at a rate 35% higher than white women. 23% of Latinas are victims of IPV. A survey of 178 Asian women found that 81.1% reported experiencing domestic violence.
7. Black people don’t get hired.
Several studies have found that people with "Black-sounding names" are up to 50% less likely to get called for an interview than a person with a white sounding name, even with identical resumes, and white, Asian, and Latino managers are less likely to hire Black employees (NY Times, http://nyti.ms/1kHrw36).
8. Black people are denied home purchases.
Before the Recession, Black people making more than $200,000 a year were more likely to be given a subprime loan than a white person making less than $30,000 a year; Blacks were 2.8 times more likely to be denied for a loan than comparable whites, and Latinos were 2 times more likely to be denied than comparable whites. Middle-class Blacks and Latinos also have to fight harder to maintain their wealth, as most families do not come from generations of accumulated wealth (Atlantic, http://bit.ly/XE46Rv).
9. Police target Blacks and Latinos without cause.
New York City's 'Stop and Frisk' program targets Blacks and Latinos 84% of the time even though they are 54% of the population. What's more: there was only one seizure/arrest for every 143 stops of a Black person, but 1 seizure/arrest for every 27 stops of a white person (Washington Post, http://wapo.st/1nokNWI).
10. Black and Brown people are more likely to be caught and convicted for minor drug offenses than those who are white.
White people and Black people have relatively similar levels of marijuana use, yet there exists a huge disparity in who gets arrested for it. Law enforcement discriminates against Black and Brown bodies, while assuming white folks to be innocent. This feeds into mass incarceration, which feeds into poverty, which feeds into generational inequity among communities of color. It’s a cycle. (Drug Policy Alliance, http://www.drugpolicy.org/race-and-drug-war; Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2013/06/04/the-blackwhite-marijuana-arrest-gap-in-nine-charts/?utm_term=.34a01d159f3b)
11. Black people are target for voter suppression.
States with Republican governors and legislatures AND large populations of African Americans are "especially likely" to enact Voter ID and other laws aimed at making it harder for people to vote (Daily Beast, http://thebea.st/1kkeAz6).
12. Activists of color are confronted by police with military-grade weapons, while armed white protestors are allowed free-reign.
When white supremacists gather with torches and guns in Charlottesville, police hum quietly on the sidelines. Police arrested 155 BLM activists in Ferguson, while merely 4 in Charlottesville, which involved the death of a woman and the injury of 35 others.
13. Black kids are more likely to be kicked out of school.
On average, Black students are 3 times more likely to be suspended from school, even if they are in preschool, even if they have a learning disability. And suspended students are more likely to drop out of school, or have their grades suffer (NPR, http://n.pr/1djU7rm; Office of Civil Rights, Dep of Justice, https://ocrdata.ed.gov/Downloads/CRDC-School-Discipline-Snapshot.pdf
14. People think Black writers are less analytical and more prone to mistakes.
Proofreaders will notice spelling and grammar errors of Black memo writers at double the rate of white writers, and the same memo will be rated as more analytically sound when the author is said to be white than if they are Black. (Redline, http://bit.ly/1ocwSnp).
15. College professors are less likely to mentor Black, female, and other minority students.
The gap grows to 25% favoring white males in business schools. (Atlantic, http://bit.ly/1iJSFhU).
16. People of color experience mental health illnesses at rates much higher than white people.
Black people are 20% more likely to experience mental health issues than the rest of the population. Native Americans have the highest rate of death by suicide than any other demographic. People of color are also less likely to reach out for professional support, or be satisfied with the professional support they do receive, due to cultural stigma or lack of cultural competence on the professional’s end. (HuffingtonPost, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/minority-mental-health-statistics_us_57a4c099e4b021fd98787185)
17. Black infants are 2.5% more likely to die during birth than white infants.
In certain cities, the rate is even higher- in San Francisco, Black mothers are 6 times more likely than white women to lose a baby, and in Washington D.C., the variance is 10 times higher. Various studies have found that these rates are consistent for Black mothers even when controlling for smoking, education, and employment status. Researchers have come down to the fact that Black women (along with other marginalized communities) experience chronic stress at a disproportionately higher rates than white women, and stress releases the hormone cortisol, which is not good for the development of a baby. The stress that results from racial discrimination can actually manifest itself during a woman’s pregnancy and lower their baby’s chance of survival. (The Nation, https://www.thenation.com/article/whats-killing-americas-black-infants/)
18. Kendra Marie Adams. Ava Le’Ray Barrin. Ebony Morgan. TeeTee Dangerfield. Gwynvere River Song.
All names of transgender women who have been murdered in the past 3 months of 2017. Over 80% of murdered trans people in the U.S. are women of color. Every day, Western standards and white supremacist ideologies contribute to their deaths. If we are to help our trans brothers and sisters, we must begin with dismantling white supremacy and patriarchy. (Newsweek, http://www.newsweek.com/transgender-murders-protect-trans-women-568558; Human Rights Campaign, http://www.hrc.org/resources/violence-against-the-transgender-community-in-2017)
19. The more Black residents a city has, the more heavily it relies on revenue from fines.
Since Black people are more likely to be targeted by law enforcement due to prejudiced attitudes, these fines disproportionately affect them. It has been proven that increasing the number of Black representatives in local government can combat this inequality. (Journal of Politics, University of Chicago Press, http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/full/10.1086/691354; Vox, https://www.vox.com/identities/2017/7/7/15929196/police-fines-study-racism)
20. Non-Black People of Color (NBPoC) internalize racism and perpetuate anti-Black attitudes.
NBPoC can culturally appropriate, sexually fetishize Black people, and fail to accept those in their ethnic groups with Afro roots. We can engage in colorism and commit microaggressions. White supremacy is the filter which we are all born into due to societal and media standards, but Non-Black communities of color still. have a responsibility to recognize their own privilege, and work for the good of all who are marginalized, not only those in their race or ethnic group. (Body Is Not An Apology Blog, https://thebodyisnotanapology.com/magazine/7-ways-non-black-poc-perpetuate-anti-blackness-in-their-communities/)
21. Women of Color in STEM fields have to work harder than men to be perceived as “scientifically competent” by fellow scientists.
Asian women account for the lowest percentage of full or tenured professors in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) even though they are not an underrepresented minority in the field. On top of that, studies have shown that men are not convinced by the research that shows a distinct gender bias in STEM fields. (WIRED, https://www.wired.com/story/why-men-dont-believe-the-data-on-gender-bias-in-science/; National Science Foundation, https://www.nsf.gov/od/oia/activities/ceose/mini-symp-pres/Women_of_color_stem_Oct2009/Oct27/JoanBurrelliv2.pdf)
22. Poor communities of color are likely to live near polluted areas such as sewage centers, landfills and dumps, and hazardous waste disposal sites.
They are also much more likely to live in an area with lead problems and contaminated water systems. We saw this issue come to a head in Flint, Michigan in 2016, but similar communities in places from Texas to California to Alabama have experienced similar issues in previous years. Water contamination and exposure to air pollution and toxic substances lead to disproportionately high levels of diseases such as asthma, emphysema, and cancer in those populations. Poor communities of color are also disproportionately affected by climate change, due to lack of government resources and historic systemic neglect. We see this very tangibly in the case of Hurricane Harvey, in which poor communities were not able to evacuate and were situated in areas more vulnerable to flooding. (Center for American Progress, https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/race/news/2016/04/25/136361/5-things-to-know-about-communities-of-color-and-environmental-justice/; AlterNet, http://www.alternet.org/environment/7-toxic-assaults-communities-color-besides-flint-dirty-racial-politics-pollution; ColorLines, http://www.colorlines.com/articles/why-texan-communities-color-are-particularly-vulnerable-hurricane-harvey; United Church of Christ, http://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/unitedchurchofchrist/legacy_url/13613/chapter-3.pdf?1418440228)
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