This interview with a philosopher/social scientist on systemic racism is fantastic.
…Major racial inequalities have been deeply institutionalized over about 20 generations. One key feature of systemic racism is how it has been socially reproduced by individuals, groups and institutions for generations. Most whites think racial inequalities reflect differences they see as real — superior work ethic, greater intelligence, or other meritorious abilities of whites. Social science research is clear that white-black inequalities today are substantially the result of a majority of whites socially inheriting unjust enrichments (money, land, home equities, social capital, etc.) from numerous previous white generations — the majority of whom benefited from the racialized slavery system and/or the de jure (Jim Crow) and de facto overt racial oppression that followed slavery for nearly a century, indeed until the late 1960s.
G.Y.: What then are we to make of the concept of American meritocracy and the Horatio Alger narrative — the rags to riches narrative?
J.F.: These are often just convenient social fictions, not societal realities. For centuries they have been circulated to justify why whites as a group have superior socioeconomic and power positions in American society.
I wish we could force this into white America’s brains: YOU DIDN’T EARN EVERYTHING YOU HAVE. Let that go. Move on. Do better.