Racism, institutional or otherwise, is still a problem

To the editor:

On Sept. 4, the editorial “‘Institutional’ racism? We don’t think so, Joe” appeared in the New Ulm Journal. Its first sentence stated that “racism is not an “institutional” aspect of life in the United States” (emphasis original). That certainly must be surprising news for the millions around the country that suffer under the heel of institutional racism every single day in this country.

The article goes on to arbitrarily define institutional racism, without support, for its conclusion; specifically that institutional racism is “legal, and even codified.” Then the author jumps to the conclusion that since discrimination by race is illegal everywhere in the U.S., ergo, there is no institutional racism. Institutional racism is the process by which racial oppression is imposed on subordinate racial groups by dominant racial groups through institutional channels (Encyclopedia.org). It is a behavior and has nothing to do with legality, codes or laws.

Any notion that institutional racism does not exist is simply unsupported by the evidence. However, the point of this article is not to provide a history of both legal and illegal institutional racism perpetrated by those in power in this country based on race. Anyone with the time to conduct even a rudimentary google search can read all about this.

That editorial does a tremendous disservice to its readership and to this community; especially our residents of color. It trivializes their experiences and their struggles. The conversation needs to be what each of us can do to help eradicate institutional racism, not whether it exists. This community should do all it can to embrace and make all of our residents feel welcome.

The New Ulm Human Rights Commission’s mission is to secure for ALL citizens, equal opportunity in employment, housing, public accommodation, public services, education, business, and credit. If you feel you have been discriminated against based upon race or other protected classes, please contact the Minnesota Department of Human Rights at info.MDHR@state.mn.us.

The New Ulm Human

Rights Commission:

Tim Frenning

Dan Kalk

Wendi Ringhofer

Jackie Krehbiel

Deanna Fenske

Sue Hunstad

Chad Gentz

Diane Hatman

Larry Czer