Institutional Racism Mitigation in Criminal Justice, Education, and Health Systems

Table of Contents

Institutional Racism

The problem of inequality affects many citizens in the United States and across the globe. Majority of the victims are unable to record meaningful social mobility or achieve their professional or personal goals. From the 1990s, the concept of institutional racism gained a new meaning new to the challenges and gaps that many people from minority groups were recording (Phillips, 2010). Modern scholars and analysts use it to refer to the ethnic inequalities that have dictated the nature and level of educational attainment (Phillips, 2010). This ideology can become a powerful tool for analyzing the manner in which the established economic, healthcare, and social systems operate in a particular country. The term can guide theorists to examine the systemic practices and policies that result in wealth, employment, housing, criminal justice, and political power disparities in a given country. Such structures affect individuals from minority groups the most. Such victims will find it hard to lead high-quality lives in their respective societies.

Difficulties in Addressing Institutional Racism

Institutional racism remains a major challenge that has proved hard to resolve in the American society. The notion of unconscious bias has become a common lie that different citizens promote in this nation (Tate & Page, 2018). For instance, some citizens tend to rely on it as a way of promoting the innocence of white citizens while allowing the established systems to affect and undermine the progress of minority races, such as Latinos and African Americans. Tate and Page (2018) indicate that “biases are usually influenced by background, cultural environment, and experiences” (p. 141). This kind of knowledge explains why many people have ignored the potential impacts of such misbehaviors and how they can disorient the experiences and lives of other community members. This treatment of inequality and discrimination as attributes founded on racism and unconscious bias thought makes it hard for different societies to deliver a post-racial ideology. Many citizens have failed to engage in self-reflection and focus on some of the best practices to overcome the obstacles of racial discrimination.

The involvement of government agencies and the established systems is a trend that has maximized the rate at which different groups of citizens tend to be excluded. Some individuals from specific groups and ethnic backgrounds have encountered the challenges of oppression for many years. Coupled with the historical developments of the United States and the nature of diversity, those in positions of power have found it easier to sustain the established institutional racism (Lavoie, 2014). Consequently, the affected citizens have lacked the best channels and avenues to address this predicament. Similarly, the government has also failed to implement superior measures to support the rule of law and ensure that all systems and institutions serve the interests and expectations of all Americans uniformly.

Different theories try to examine the nature of this challenge and offer some arguments to describe why American society has been unable to address this societal problem. Weitzer (1996) identifies race-based conflict theory as a powerful model that validates the presence of institutionalized forms of discrimination against different individuals belonging to minority groups. Using the case of the United States, Weitzer (2014) reveals that courts and established correctional centers have continued to promote this problem of institutional racism. Additionally, Weitzer (1996) argues that many African Americans and Latinos are usually on the receiving end since they have increased chances of incarceration, prejudice, or victimization without adequate evidence. The absence of superior measures and the government’s failure to implement powerful changes explain why more citizens will be unable to achieve their goals.

The nature of racism and prejudice in the United States is disguised in such a way that some people still believe a considerable level of equality has been recorded. Weitzer (1996) uses this understanding to explain why it has been impossible for different departments to make the relevant documentation about the nature of this predicament. Consequently, subtle forms of inequality, discrimination, and victimization remain common in different parts of the country. These patterns work synergistically to support the nature of this problem, thereby making it impossible for the greatest number of victims to pursue their goals diligently. The established gaps explain why the government and the relevant agencies need to introduce and implement evidence-based initiatives to change the situation and make it possible for more Americans to transform their experiences in this country.

Institutional Racism and the Criminal Justice System

The American criminal justice system remains one of the best examples of agencies and systems that maximize the nature of institutional racism in the United States. According to Souhami (2014), African Americans tend to have increased chances of being arrested and sentenced for minor crimes and demeanors in this country. The case is quite different for whites who will only be fined and reintegrated back into their respective societies (López, 2000). After a successful conviction, many African Americans will get longer jail terms and face harsh conditions or experiences in different prisons (Souhami, 2014). This malpractice makes it impossible for the greatest number of black citizens to pursue their goals in life diligently.

Some of the judges remain biased and make their conclusions based on the prejudicial and subconscious ideas that many Americans continue to harbor. For example, Souhami (2014) indicates that many African Americans are incapable of observing the presented laws or maintaining order. Some American citizens view them as uncivilized people who engage in a wide range of criminal acts, such as violence and robbery (Souhami, 2014). The country has a law enforcement system that is designed in such a way that it focuses on neighborhoods with the greatest number of African Americans, such as Memphis (Souhami, 2014). Although the level of crime in these regions might be high, past scholars have associated them with some of the malpractices and injustices that such individuals have experienced in their lives since the beginning of the 19th century (Souhami, 2014). Consequently, a unique form of bias continues to affect their experiences, objectives, and missions in life.

Similarly, the criminal justice system remains unfair when reintegrating former convicts and criminals back to society after serving their terms. Within the American prison system, black males account for around 37 percent of the total population while whites comprise 32 percent (Souhami, 2014). These statistics reveal that more convicted African Americans would be found in penitentiaries in comparison with the other racial groups. The same percentage is observed when such individuals have completed their terms. After going back to the community, African American offenders will have to experience numerous challenges, such as searching for a new job and being accepted back into society (Souhami, 2014). These individuals will take long before changing their experiences while having increased chances of being victimized and incarcerated for a second time (López, 2000). These differences make it impossible for members of the black community to focus on their respective social, economic, and professional objectives.

The nature in which the American criminal justice system is designed presents another contributor or reason for institutional racism. According to López (2000), most of the positions are available to the white population, including court officers, members of the jury, judges, and police officers (López, 2000). Since most of the correctional facilities have more individuals from the majority population, African Americans would have higher chances of being victimized, abused, and staying longer to serve their terms (Souhami, 2014). These issues have created unfair treatment, outcomes, and experiences for more black people in the United States.

In the war against drugs and crimes, worrisome trends have emerged that affect the lives of minorities. For example, Bobo and Thompson (2006) acknowledge that the American system has become “characterized by a condition of racialized mass incarceration” (p. 467). Despite the presence of superior and applicable laws, those in power have been focusing on black people and targeting them for criminal offenses and illicit drug possession or use. The system avails the available resources and manpower to these African Americans without considering the injustices and unfairness associated with other institutions, such as education and healthcare. While the majority of these citizens languish in poverty and lack most of the relevant opportunities available to the white population, the established criminal justice system continues to target them (Bobo & Thompson, 2006). The current status is that the American social policy remains driven by a logic that is retributive, unjust, and punitive. A paradigm shift would, therefore, be needed if the American society is to succeed in transforming the present situation and making it easier for more black citizens to pursue their goals diligently.

Institutional Racism in Educational Systems

Education remains a fundamental function in a society that can empower and equip young people with the relevant competencies that can guide them throughout their careers. In the United States, those in leadership have known how to present watchwords that try to convince all members of the population about the effectiveness of the sector. A good example of such phrases is “celebrating diversity” which tries to capture the impression that all children have access to the best instructions regardless of their cultural and ethnic backgrounds (King, 1991). Unfortunately, the available teachers and managers in this field lack adequate skills to offer the best instructions to learners with diverse backgrounds. This malpractice creates a unique form of racial separatism whereby minority individuals are unable to achieve their maximum potential. Without the ability to acquire high-quality education, many students from these minority groups have lost their statuses and identities in the job markets (King, 1991). They find it hard to pursue some of the privileges that are available to the majority of whites in the wider society.

In the field of special education, unique gaps still exist that make it impossible for many children from specific races to focus on their goals in life. Sullivan and Artiles (2011) observed that the existing inequity in this area was making it hard for the affected individuals to acquire the relevant resources and support. The risk was capable of affecting the wider society and disorienting the true purpose of education as a powerful factor for promoting both social and economic transformation. Different districts and local governments had failed to implement the relevant mechanisms and procedures to maximize the quality and quantity of educational materials available to different learners with special needs.

The promotion of a multifaceted model that takes racial equality for granted has complicated the situation for many African Americans. Members of this underserved population find it hard to join the best schools and acquire the relevant resources. Gillborn (2007) believes that a form of intentionality exists within the wider system that capitalizes on specific gaps in education to maintain the current status quo. While the implemented policy in the field might not be choreographed, Gillborn (2007) acknowledges that it is not accidental in the manner in which it is implemented in different regions across the country. The current white supremacy has, therefore, become a unique strategy whereby a new tendency has remained that privileges the interests, expectations, and goals of whites (Gillborn, 2007). Consequently, the majority of the blacks have found it hard to receive high-quality education and get a new opportunity to record meaningful social mobility indexes.

Several trends recorded in the American education sector continue to affect the experiences of black people, thereby making it impossible for them to have high-quality lives. For example, Harper (2012) indicated that there were numerous forces that dictated the percentage of individuals that higher learning institutions recruited and admitted, such as racism. Different stakeholders were not applying the concept of critical race theory adequately to promote “conceptual sense-making” (Harper, 2012, p. 485). This malpractice has made it impossible for many African American students to acquire the best instructions and competencies that could support their future educational and career objectives. The majority of the universities and colleges were failing to report accurately and expose the racial disparities in skills attainment. These tendencies harm many students from such minority groups, thereby being unable to focus on their wider career goals in life. This trend was the best explanation for the racial differences many African American students recorded in numerous outcomes and experiences, such as employment and healthcare (Harper, 2012). The situation has worsened due to the presence of systemic models and institutional tendencies that continue to promote the malpractices of marginalizing and undermining young people from minority races.

Without proper mechanisms and willingness to solve these challenges, American society has continued to record numerous misbehaviors that make it hard for minority races to achieve their personal aims. Racism in the field of education remains institutionalized, thereby favoring the white population. When these victims fail to receive high-quality skills, chances of getting white-collar jobs reduce significantly. Such individuals will lack adequate financial resources that can support their medical needs. The affected students will also be unable to record meaningful social mobility in their respective communities (Harper, 2012). They will eventually grow up to become underprivileged adults who might not provide the best care, support, and education to their respective family members.

Institutional Racism in the Healthcare Sector

Structural racism remains a major predicament in American society since it reinforces the other key systems, including media representation, earnings, and health care. The government has established structures and procedures that ensure that majority of its citizens receive high-quality medical support (Bailey et al., 2017). However, the manner in which the system hires medical professionals and practitioners and equips them with the relevant skills has promoted an institutionalized form of racism whereby the best care and medical support is available to the whites. A discriminatory belief has prevailed whereby resources intended t meet the demands of more patients from minority backgrounds remain inadequate (Bailey et al., 2017). Those in power have failed to introduce new strategies to maximize the level of health equity and create the best opportunities for minority groups to record positive medical experiences.

The implemented care coordination networks remain biased since they fail to meet some of the unique demands of people from minority racial groups, such as obesity and hypertension. Shaver et al. (2012) observed that provider bias was a unique predicament that was affecting the nature and quality of services available to specific groups. Some of the workers were willing to promote the established injustices by providing better and culturally competent to the whites while ignoring the demands of those from minority races. These malpractices explain why many individuals from underserved populations choose not to seek the relevant medical services (Shaver et al., 2012). The promotion of these trends has created a scenario whereby the blacks fail to record the desired health outcomes.

The studied gap in care delivery exposes the persistent challenges and inequities in the social relations and institutions that America has promoted for centuries. Without proper support systems and empowerment, many African American citizens have found it hard to get health insurance, monitor their dietary intakes, and change their lifestyles in a positive manner. These developments explain why this country records “disproportionate rates of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in African Americans” (Calvin et al., 2003, p. 315). With the problem of institutional racism, these individuals have lacked adequate opportunities and resources that are directly proportional to poor medical experiences, living conditions, and achievements. These findings explain why more members of this population encounter additional medical problems, such as cancers, stroke, obesity, and diabetes. Without proper mechanisms to address these issues, more African Americans will die prematurely despite the presence of systems that are capable of supporting their demands.


The history of the United States is another attribute that explains how the current institutional racism within the field of healthcare complicates the situation for African Americans. For instance, Byrd & Clayton (2001) indicate that the promotion of racial inferiority models, ideologies, and stereotypes within the past two centuries has resulted in biased procedures in the fields of education and healthcare. The majority have promoted new forms of ideas that contribute to scientific and medical abuse. For many decades, many elites used African Americans as the primary tool for training and teaching (Byrd & Clayton, 2001). These malpractices make it impossible for these individuals to feel like members of a democratic society. Such developments have set the stage for all the healthcare disparities recorded in American society. The government should, therefore, support the completion of additional analyzes and researches to understand the problems most of these people have to go through and offer evidence-based support. The possible outcome will ensure that all American citizens achieve their maximum economic potential irrespective of race, age, gender, or religion.


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