First, the experts say, we need to admit there is a problem. Nothing gets solved through head-in-the-sand denial.
Which brings us to the notion of systemic racism. You might have heard something about this last summer; it came up during protests against police brutality and discussions about economic inequity.
Odds are that you had a firm response to the notion of systemic racism. Some people agree that racism is inherent in many of the United States’ economic and health care and law enforcement systems, and that it underlies everything in this country. That it is not just something to talk about when a person of color is shot by police.
Others deny that systemic racism exists, pointing out that laws have been passed against housing discrimination and other bigotry, and that slavery ended more than 150 years ago. That eventually this issue will go away and be subsumed by the next topic du jour.
Remember, county Chair Eileen Quiring O’Brien said, “I do not agree that we have systemic racism in our county. Period.” She later texted to a Columbian reporter that she does not “condone racism in any form,” adding “from the sheriff’s office and deputies whom I know, none are racist. I know many of our judges in Clark County, I know none are racist. … If all of these people and departments with our county aren’t racist, there is not SYSTEMIC racism!”