Racism is multi-dimensional and is seen across various domains that mainly include education, employment, healthcare, residence, and in fact in law and justice. On top of that, it can be manifested at levels of social and institutional spaces like governance, policy implementation, service delivery, employment, recruitment, and reporting. It all ended up in the form of adverse outcomes for racial minorities. The outcomes of poor health, poverty, and education are constantly felt, ultimately raising feelings of anger, powerlessness, and resentment among racial minority groups.
To thrive on racism, people only need to be ignorant of the existing privilege and injustices to let the system and structures reproduce the preexisting status quo. Research indicates that African Americans in the United States used to get suboptimal treatment in healthcare compared to white Americans (Williams and Wyatt, 2015). The racist situation exists in either of the following ways, like systemic neglect, victim-blaming, or attempting to justify the disparities with terms and conditions other than racial bias.
Another recent example of the invisibility of racism is the significantly higher rate of mortality among African Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. The disparate mortality depicts the rooted health inequities that disproportionately impact African Americans. The persistence of racism in institutions is its invisibility at different levels. The patients never know how other patients of a different race are treated, which keeps the racism invisible to patients. The clinicians are unaware of the implicit bias that keeps them going, justifying their explicit prejudice when it comes to the clinicians.
Racism is only visible to those that are privileged by it. Racism can be perpetrated by following existing practices, norms, and laws. Institutions are not needed state racist policies to be racists. It is not easily detectable. It remains undetectable to those that are being impacted by it. One possibility for this difficulty in detection is that it does not require overt attitudes of individuals or groups. Even though it does not require the conscious prejudice of individuals or groups. An exciting and notable thing is that healthcare is a specific site where racism is being practiced frequently yet goes unnoticed (Seet, 2019).
The endemic nature of racism cuts across the entire economic, social, and legal structure of U.S. society posing severe effects for Black people. Racism is underlaid in the systemic systems which have been the foundation of Western society. The struggle for racial equity caused frustration to many because institutions promote racism by legitimizing racial inequity through segregation, discrimination, and racial violence. Such inequities remain relevant and even worsen.
Seet, A. Z. (2019). Serving the white nation: Bringing internalized racism within a sociological understanding. Journal of Sociology, 1–18. doi: 10.1177/1440783319882087
Williams, D. R., and Wyatt, R. (2015). Racial bias in healthcare and health: Challenges and opportunities. Journal of the American Medical Association, 314(6), 555–556. doi: 10.1001/jama.2015.9260