SYSTEMIC OR BASIC RACISM
But in recent times, to my way of thinking the word racism seems to have become tired of standing alone; it has now become almost commonplace to hear the qualifier “systemic” as if it would add more force, more urgency to the matter/issue at hand.
That has become more evident since the live asphyxiation of one citizen George Floyd by Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin on May 25 (US Memorial Day), while being arrested for allegedly using a counterfeit bill.
After being familiarized with a prison cell and charged with 2nd-degree murder, Chauvin was able to post a $1 million bond and subsequently freed, I guess to work on his case (of lies) — reasons why he had to blatantly kill that Black man by kneeling on Floyd’s neck for almost 10 minutes after being arrested for attempting to pass a counterfeit $20 bill at a local store.
Floyd is dead; Chauvin is alive and breathing…
As the image of Floyd’s death and subsequent global uprising continues to play out in my/our minds, I can’t help thinking of a period in time that I’ve heard the word “systemic” being used/prefixed to the word racism. One can hardly hear about racism anymore; it’s now all “systemic racism” all the time.
As if targets/victims of racial acts are being offered a choice of what form of racism we prefer — basic or systemic. It’s no longer a case of the usual “racism” we’ve become accustomed to, we now have to make a choice: racism or systemic racism.
I can’t help thinking of the array of products people consume — regular, new and improved… whatever suits or soothes you. It’s a matter of flavour and taste.
As if racism is no longer pure, has taken on deeper meaning and understanding with the addition of systemic to give more force when the matter is discussed for whatever reasons.
For exampIe, I’ve never heard anyone say to another “You are a systemic racist.” Sounds hollow, eh? But I’ve heard many people express it the old-fashioned way: “You’re racist” … You’re a racist.” Or one can add more punch by saying straight-up “You are a *f-bomb” racist! End of story.
Over the years I’ve been a target of racist remarks, from a distance, as the perpetrators are wont to do… from a distance.
I for one never use the term systemic… for me racism simply is. The oft-heard appellation “systemic racism” means nothing to me. Racism doesn’t need any dressing up; “It is what is,” to quote a well-known practitioner of various racist acts.
With or without the systemic, it is a destructive social practice which is injurious to many people and perpetrated by many. It’s the social environment we’ve been living in the last seven or so months.
Just keep your ears and eyes open and witness the proof.
As former Prime Minister Jean Chretien once stated, “A proof is a proof…”
Systemic racism? Don’t tell that to Quebec premier François Legault.
He once stated that there’s no such thing in Quebec, and has repeated the same answer when asked at various press conference about the practice in Quebec. And has given the same response on every occasion.
The day following an anti-racism rally in Montreal.
The premier was chided for his refusal to acknowledge systemic racism in the province, but the Quebec premier held firm to his position. He’s not alone.
But as a tacit racism bonus he told reporters he’s “committed to implementing a plan to stamp out racism in the province…”
He promised details in the coming days. They’re probably on the way; we haven’t anything since. So journalists have stopped asking the question.
Maybe the premier is simply resting on his laurels knowing that the vast majority of Quebecers, his political base, think the premier is not racist — systemic or otherwise — the traditional… basic.
In the meantime, don’t hold your breath; go on and breathe…
Like many [Black] men and women before, George Floyd was (involuntarily) sacrificed. But we better not get sucked into fancy, transposed words. If there are no tangible… visible evidence of change in racist practices: systemic, basic or otherwise.