Costs of Denying White Privilege and Racism

Racism has been a deeply-rooted historical and contemporary phenomenon. The research study documented the systemic and pervasive nature of racial segregation and discrimination that significantly restricted the growth among African Americans (Baradaran, 2017). Racism is socially costly as it imposes unfair and unnecessary inequities that harm the health and well-being of ethnic and racial minorities. Racism places a heavy burden on the minorities and is perpetuated by systematic exclusion from the healthcare system. The present conditions of African Americans in the United States are a better example of these circumstances.

Racism is widespread across healthcare, academia, economic, social, cultural, legal, and environmental spheres. It is a common notion that if one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer. Thus, the various costs society incurs due to racism due to the impact falls on the targets of racism; there gets an ultimate wider implication to society. The discriminatory attitudes and vicarious experiences of people caused due to bias are harmful to society as society is considered as one body.

Racism is pervasive in the labor market, education system, and social services. Racial perceptions motivate law enforcement officials to arrest more. The employees secure their jobs as long as there are more inmates, business contractors increase their economic opportunities, and government agencies (including the prison facility) increase their budget by looking at the number of inmates. People bear the high social and economic costs associated with over-incarceration. The perpetuation of the high rate of black incarceration in the country allows them to benefit (Henricks and Harvey, 2017).

Although racism may benefit some groups in society, this benefit may come in the form of exclusive rights and privileges or either in the form of social and economic opportunities. Racism in law enforcement is perpetuated as a bureaucratic process that makes it an autonomous system. The disparities due to racism are perhaps most visible in income inequality and wealth. Probably, this is reflected in acute residential segregation and the concentration of Black people in underprivileged neighborhoods, an intractable problem perpetuating black poverty in the United States.

The social implications of racism can also spill over to deeper societal structures in family breakups, homelessness, social exclusion, and criminal involvement. Significant health effects can be seen in the legal context because of the racial profiling of racial minorities. The more racial inequities are left unaddressed, the more intractable and socially costly they will become across generations. However, its eradication becomes an issue of conflicting interests. Such social problems are culturally rooted and challenging to address.


Baradaran, M. (2017). The color of money: Black banks and the racial wealth gap. Cambridge: Belknap.

Henricks, K., and Harvey, D. (2017). Not one but many: Monetary punishment and the Fergusons of America. Sociological Forum, 32, 930–951. doi: 10.1111/socf.12360

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