There’s racism within the system.
There’s nothing inherently racist about a system founded on the idea that everyone was created equally, with equal rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Yes, the system originally allowed for slavery and considered blacks to be 3/5 person. But we’ve since rooted out those laws, regulations, and court decisions that allowed racism to exist. (Although, I’m sure there are some arcane, little-known rules out there somewhere.)
One could argue that there are still biases. For example, equal access to lawyers, when one is either defending oneself or wanting to pursue legal action, is still unequal. But that is not due to race. That is due more to the inequality around affluence.
Yes, statistically, this has a disproportionately negative effect on the black community, but that is based on income inequality, not systemic racism.
The degree to which there is racism in our system is directly proportional to the degree there are racists working within our system. The police force is no different.
We don’t know if Derek Chauvin, the man who kneeled on George Floyd’s neck, is racist. That’s really only something he can know in his heart and mind (though if he confessed he is, I’m sure we’d believe him). But we do know he acted irresponsibly, aggressively, and unnecessarily, resulting in the death of suspect. (We also know one of the officers with him is black and another one asian, and they did nothing to stop him.)
Anyone can call the police, and they will respond in however much time it takes. Anyone can also have the police called on them. There are millions of police/public interactions to prove that most of the time, the police will arrive and start by investigating (unless, of course, there is something like an active shooter).
Whether it’s getting a job, applying for a loan, getting a government permit, or going to college, our system is open and available to all. If, for example, a qualified black person doesn’t get a bank loan because of their race, that’s not the system. That’s the person denying the loan. And even then, there’s recourse.
The person denied the loan can contest it and investigate why they didn’t get the loan. And an impartial review can, and hopefully would, reveal anything untoward.
Life is dynamic beyond our ability to comprehend. Every situation carries with it the life experiences, perspectives, and biases that people bring into it. The more people involved, the more exponentially dynamic it gets.
Throw on top of that the percentage of people who are looking to be discriminated against or offended, and you have a recipe for finding racism everywhere.
Racism exists. There are people who are racist. Racists don’t just come in one color. There are people of all ethnicities working in our “system,” and all are capable of either racist behavior or behavior that can be construed as race-related.
The American system is the only one in history founded in the belief that freedom comes from God, and everyone inherently has that right. Our system is set up, by law, for all to have equal access.
However, the American system was also built on the premise that humans are flawed. That is why all the founding language discusses the country in terms of doing the best we can and the constant pursuit. It’s understood we will never achieve a “perfect” union.
To the degree our system is racist, it’s because of the people in the system. Not the system itself.