Oops, Your Denial of Systemic Racism Sorta Proves Systemic Racism

Those who rationalize racial disparities often provide evidence for the very thing they deny

Tim Wise
4 min readSep 4, 2022

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Image: ViDI Studio, Shutterstock, Standard license, purchased by author

Over the past thirty years, I’ve written hundreds of articles and more than a half-dozen heavily footnoted books documenting the reality of racism as an ongoing force in America.

In this, I am hardly alone.

Scholars and researchers have long demonstrated how racism operates, individually and systemically, impacting the opportunity structure and how persons of color — especially Black folks — are treated in schools, the workplace, housing, health care, and the justice system.

Yet, no matter how much evidence we present, some will not accept it.

More to the point, they will seek to rationalize whatever disparities they acknowledge.

They insist that when there are inequities of condition or representation between white people and Black people, it must be the result of some behavioral pathology on the part of Black folks rather than pathological unfairness meted out by whites.

For instance, if you ask most anyone on the right if they believe there is racism in policing, from arrest rates to rates of brutality or deadly violence…

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Tim Wise

Anti-racism educator and author of 9 books, including White Like Me and, most recently, Dispatches from the Race War (City Lights, December 2020)