Institutional Racism and American Democracy

By- Rajesh Ranjan And Saumya Singh

The rudiment of a Grundnorm is the triune of justice, liberty and equality, which is the helm of a Democratic system. The trinity endeavors to enforce profound and momentous social transformation and progression by eschewing diabolical and sordid historical oppression of the minorities, and devouring issues endemic to systemic repression which are haunted by dystopian visions. The incongruous contortion of the rights catalogued in the US Constitution and the ,declaration of Independence precipitated entrenchment of racial incarceration, hierarchy, discrimination, chattel slavery, apartheid, bias, inequality, impunity to unlawful police encounters, xenophobia, racial profiling, ethnocide, and colored inferiority. The ironic expression being cherished by the nations is impetus to obnoxious interpretation and construction of the high-minded ideals annunciated by the Constitution, through which, overt inextricable systemic, structural and, institutional endemic of insidious racism coupled with bigoted white supremacy, are unequivocally and indubitably resuscitated. In the instance, on 25th day of May, 2020, George Floyd, an African American and a victim of police violence, succumbed to the pandemic of racism oozing out of socio-economic inequality and discrimination.

The dehumanization, stigmatization, disempowerment, and criminalization of colored race have rendered nugatory all the campaign towards eradication of racial discrimination. The brutal murder of George Floyd propelled widespread protests and demonstrations, which reflected the years of frustration over racial discrimination and socio-economic inequality. Racial policing and oppression is not a recent event. Eric Graner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, a boy aged 12, and many more, have already been its victim. The insidious branches of racial profiling have haunted all the institutions including the justice system, which devalued and dilapidated the plight of the blacks. Their incarceration in the matters of drug abuse and police killings is already higher when compared with the whites. Experiencing oppression, bias and prejudices in the form of disapproval and limitations, is not an exception. The Black Community is living in a milieu engulfed by the predicament of nervous apprehensions of ‘I can’t breathe’. Kneeling down on their necks is the embodiment of subversion and cracking down of blacks by racist vigilante, a plague in the American democracy.

The pandemic of racism and popular conception concerning black inferiority is hackneyed and denouement of obstinate undemocratic regime, cascade of black codes ratifying human chattel slavery, and non-intervention of the Judiciary in the fiat of discriminatory policies. The pursuit of equal treatment to all communities in US society has a long history attached to it, unlike the Indian constitution not all communities were considered as equal as per their original constitution. The Fourteenth Amendment, which assured liberty, dignity and integrity to the recently emancipated race, was otiose due to the series of amiss judicial pronouncements that propelled white supremacy and throes of ethnic and racial minorities. Laws viz Jim Crow, school segregation, one drop rule or hypodescent, criminalizing interracial marriages etc, which racially segregated the masses were ratified by the Court in order to prevent race commingling and to preserve the purity and integrity of the whites. The Court even promulgated ‘separate but equal’ theory and enunciated that it didn’t transgress the equality clause enshrined in the fourteenth amendment. U.S. Supreme Court institutionalized and gave a nod in the case of Plessy vs Ferguson. Supreme Court in another case of Brown vs Board of education where the Kansas segregation policy was in challenge, Court has overruled the previous the judgement and declared the separate education policy as unequal and discriminatory.  Bitter feelings of resentment and alienation were bore against blacks by being considered inferior and unworthy of human rights, fundamental freedoms and interfusion with the whites. The debilitating plight and whining of the colored race was marked by societal upheaval and was a seminal tread towards the proclamation of the erstwhile as unconstitutional and discriminatory.

The undeniable progression towards elimination of racial discrimination is blighted by the Republican’s propaganda of ‘Making America Great Again’, which is being espoused by Trump, through emboldening white supremacy, fomenting black’s extermination, reinforcing systemic and institutional racism, maintaining hegemony, and impunity to police brutality and violence towards coloured race. The campaign polarized the electorates on the lines of class, order, and race and proved the hypocrisy of racist Trump through reinforcement of negative stereotyping of the blacks. His contemptuous administrative policy of denationalization viz confiscation of Hispanics’s passport is enflaming government sponsored terrorism through Ethnic Cleansing, a crime against humanity. Racial profiling, police brutality and murder of African Americans are uprising and discrimination has even pervaded workplace and educational institutions in US after 2017 Presidential election. The conception of irrational white dominance prevalent in the American discourse is justified by scientific racism thereby, racial discrimination homed at US has little to do with biological factor but societal. The psychology behind conscious or unconscious bias lies in the pseudoscientific arguments wherein, innumerable fallacious scientific theories viz polygenism, binominal nomenclature system et cetera, were inoculated by the whites to justify and legitimize inherent black inferiority. The absence of black blood in the sentient being is the yardstick of acknowledging and comprehending the humanity of the other. Momentous ambivalence is marked towards victim ideology in American discourse as white supremacists, which weaponized floccinaucinihilipilification against the coloured races, are whining in despair due to discrimination, abrogation of their rights, loss of self-esteem, and weeping in a frenzy of anxiety about elimination of the white race.

Despite racism being outlawed through innumerable treaties and convention, it is being manifestly percolated and pervaded in the institutional set-up. The deterioration in comprehensive intolerance towards racial discrimination and violation of human rights is ostensibly masqueraded by the diabolical and dualistic political ideals, policies and hate propagandas of the Government. The balkanization of the countries is veneered with affirmative action, national security and public interest. The pandemic of racism and socioeconomic discrimination against ethnic minorities are unaccustomed of any territorial demarcations. The evidences can be procured from communal violence against Muslim or Islamophobia in India, violence against Igbo people in Africa, the sordid plight of sub-Saharan African migrants in China, derisory and flouting attitudes towards Dalit Community and Trans Community in India, Scottish population in UK and Roma populations in Eastern Europe and so forth. The egregious racism is a tool of oppression, contemptuous disregard of minorities and political bias, which leads to dehumanization and momentous violation of human rights. The deplorable conditions of non- religious minorities has gathered a little space among the constutionalist.,as the discourse is confined only to the extent of religious minorities particularly in south Asian countries.  The quest for an inclusive society based on the Constitutional guaranteed right should be operate on the premise of co-existence, institutional sensitization of executive agencies , more compassionate political representative, rights- oriented judicial officers and most importantly citizens believing in  multiculturalism for a progressive society,  what is to be said a melting pot in American society.

Leave a Reply