A question that’s become a real hot button in political discussions these days is whether or not systemic racism exists in the United States, or if this is another artificial construct of the left.  But before we can answer that question common sense dictates that we first define exactly what systemic racism is.  So, let’s look to Merriam Webster for a definition where systemic racism is defined as, “…a form of racism that is embedded through laws and regulations within a society or an organization.  It can lead to such issues as discrimination in criminal justice, employment, housing, health care, political power, and education, among other issues.”

Using Merriam Webster’s definition, “systemic” racism cannot exist vis-a-vis the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments and the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act because collectively these pieces of legislation address every aspect of the systemic racism definition.

For those unfamiliar with those pieces of legislation, the following is a primer.

  • The Thirteenth Amendment made slavery illegal in the United States, and was adobted on December 6, 1865)
  • The 14th Amendment declares that all persons born in the U.S. are citizens and are guaranteed equal protection of the laws.
  • The Fifteenth Amendment protects the voting rights of all citizens regardless of race or the color of their skin. It also protected the voting rights of former slaves. It was ratified on February 3, 1870
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964 that was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on July 2, 1964; it prohibited discrimination in public places, provided for the integration of schools and other public facilities, and made employment discrimination illegal. This legislation was the most sweeping civil rights legislation since Reconstruction.
  • The Voting Rights Act of 1965 made racial, religious, and sex discrimination by employers illegal and gave the government the power to enforce all laws governing civil rights, including desegregation of schools and public places and outlawed the discriminatory voting practices adopted in many southern states after the Civil War, including literacy tests as a prerequisite to voting.

In conclusion, if we are enforcing our laws, and using Merriam Webster’s definition of systemic racism, then by definition, systemic racism does not exist in this country.

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