It Takes A System
The systemic nature of racism and pathways to systems change
It is now normal to hear that racism is systemic. This is an important and essential truth and one worth holding on to. In a time of COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter, systemic racism, as a term at least, is on the agenda. But what does systemic racism really mean?
The problem with the concept of systemic racism as it stands now is that it obscures as much as it reveals. A lack of clarity on what systemic racism is and how it works risks it becoming an almost mystical concept – one which is too easy for cynics to dismiss. What is more, research shows that racism is viewed mostly as personal prejudice1 and hostile actions directed by one person towards another, rather than as something that is designed into our systems. With this as the state of play, how can we move decisively away from systemic racism towards systemic racial justice? To make progress in the direction of racial