January 18, 2022: Systemic Racism: Defining Terms and Evaluating Evidence
What do we mean by the term “Systemic Racism?” How does it differ from individual prejudice and legal discrimination? “Does systemic racism exist in any significant degree in contemporary American society, and if so, how big a problem is it?” Are racially disparate de facto outcomes evidence of structural racism? Or do we oversimplify societal challenges by attributing all inequities to racism? To what extent is systemic racism the product of history (the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow), culture, the law, or public policy? Has America made progress in achieving racial equality not only legally, but also in terms of social customs, practices, and norms? To the extent structural racism remains a problem, how should it be addressed? What should be the role of law and public policy in trying to overcome it?
Watch the event
The second lecture in the series, which is also the SCETL Annual Martin Luther King Day Lecture, will be a conversation between University of San Francisco School of Law professor Lara Bazelon and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and Wall Street Journal opinion columnist Jason Riley about the meaning of the term “systemic racism.” Bazelon and Riley both express concern about racism and inequality in the United States of America. While Bazelon is concerned that the overuse of the term “systemic racism” will make it meaningless and reductive, she fears failure to take it seriously will perpetuate racial inequality. Riley believes that there are limits to what politicians and government can do to address persistent racial disparities.