chapter  1
Systemic Racism
A Comprehensive Perspective
ByJoe R. Feagin, Kimberley Ducey
Pages 34

In the North American case, systemic racism began with European colonists enriching themselves substantially at the expense of Indigenous peoples and the Africans they imported for enslavement. Anti-black racism is centrally about the lived experiences and interactions of black and white Americans. Historical events reflect and imbed the tangible realities of everyday life — the means of concrete oppression and the means of symbolizing and thinking about that oppression. In the analysis of racial matters, mainstream social science research principally utilizes individualistic concepts long ago developed by white social scientists, many of whom were uninterested in large-scale progressive social change. The chapter examines the patterns of unjust impoverishment and unjust enrichment and their transmission over time; the resulting vested group interests and the alienating racist relations; and the costs and burdens of racism. It focuses on the important role of the white elite; the rationalization of racial oppression in a white-racist framing; and the continuing resistance to racism.