Thomas Edsall, writing in his opinion piece in The New York Times, quotes LaFleur Stephens-Dougan about systemic racism:
LaFleur Stephens-Dougan, a political scientist at Princeton and the author of “Race to the Bottom: How Racial Appeals Work in American Politics,” wrote me in an email:
Most Americans have a distorted definition of racism. We think of racism as person-to-person acts of prejudice — like using a slur. Such behavior is racist, but racism is far more than that. We have baked racism into our political institutions and into our political institutions and economic systems.
It is important, Stephens-Dougan argues, to ask people why they think black and Latino neighborhoods struggle with poor school and higher levels of crime. “If one’s answer,” she continued, “is that those neighborhoods are under-resourced because blacks and Latinos are less smart, less hardworking or less disciplined, etc., then that answer is racist.”
Stephens-Dougan is assistant professor of politics and a CSDP faculty associate. She is the author of “Race to the Bottom: How Racial Appeals Work in American Politics” (forthcoming, University of Chicago Press 2020)