It’s a topic that’s been debated to death, argued and fussed over, but that’s really not what I’m trying to do here. Just trying to provide a lens thru which I hope some can see what blacks mean when we talk about institutional racism—that almost subconscious, biased instinct to see two people fighting, note that one is black and go “This
is who I need to tackle, pin to the ground and handcuff!”
The white kid (later confirmed to be Latino) was never restrained, even after literally putting his hands up expecting to be cuffed..
Though it's clearly racist. What I think we want to show with institutional racism is the ways in which black people (and other non whites) are disadvantaged based on a set of biased institutional incentives or deprivation of material or cultural resources. It's not to say by any means that this might not be the consequence of some kind of institutional racism--at the level of say the hiring practices or the training with this police department for instance--but the reason I say that this maybe not the best examples is that instituional racism is usually counterposed with things like conscious racism, ideological racism, or personal racism (as some examples.) So in other words, this may just come down to the personal racial biases of these particular officers. And if we think of institutional racism this way it may give people the idea that it's about the conscious feelings and attitudes that happen to me floating around people's heads at any given time. I think with institutional racism the idea is we're talking about a system of incentives and power distribution such that even if (say) all the white people in said system are well-intended and don't harbor any conscious racial animus, you'd still end up with racist outcomes, i.e. violence and discrimination against black people (and other non white people.)
---the late great Donald Blake