Commentary by Sumi Maun
A recent column in Current In Carmel (“Face the truth, not a false narrative” by Matt Rowe) claimed “we cannot support the false narrative that the police, as institutions, are inordinately targeting and killing black men.” The author goes on to spout statistics that attempt to prove his point.
There are many fallacies in his argument, and it would be easy to spout even more statistics that refute his outdated stereotypes of Black communities. But statistics are irrelevant without context. That article’s most glaring omission is a reality that is often glossed over: systemic racism is the root cause of economic, educational and societal inequalities in America.
We all believe that we are not racist; however, that is simply not true. Racism is commonly seen as an overt hatred of people based solely on skin color. But racism is more complex than that. It exists when Black people cannot get loans as easily as others, causing many to live in impoverished urban areas with limited transportation, limited healthcare and increased policing. It exists when Black children then have to attend poorly funded schools, resulting in subpar graduation rates and educational outcomes.
But what about those of us who “don’t see color”? Well, even that thinking is inherently racist and problematic because we are overlooking the unique, intrinsic qualities within each cultural and ethnic group that should be celebrated while turning a blind eye to the injustices that some of these groups face, injustices that we should be fighting against if we truly want to consider ourselves “not racist.”
So yes, we all have shades of racism in us, but it doesn’t mean we are bad people. And admitting that systemic racism exists doesn’t mean other groups haven’t faced difficulties or hardships; it just recognizes that Black people have additional institutional barriers impacting their livelihood.
Eradicating the repercussions of systemic racism will take years, but we can act in small ways to help the cause. We must acknowledge that implicit bias exists within ourselves and within society. We cannot subscribe to fragmented research that erroneously suggests racism is a perception rather than a reality. This is not a partisan issue that exists to divide our community; this is a moral issue, and we all need to be on the same side for progress to occur.
Sumi Maun is an independent strategy consultant, focused on serving the healthcare and education industries. She earned her MBA from Harvard Business School after graduating from Northwestern University with a BS in Industrial Engineering. Sumi is a Hoosier native and lives in Carmel with her husband and two sons.