Bill Maher Spoke The Ignorance That Maintains Systemic Racism
Due to the knee-choking police murder of George Floyd, America is finally approaching the acknowledgment of American systemic racism. But before systemic racism can be eliminated, American White ignorance like that displayed recently by Bill Maher must be eliminated first!!!
Systemic racism or institutional racism is discrimination that occurs without human intervention. In other words, the system automatically produces discriminatory results based on race, gender, age, religion, sexual preference, or economic status without a person intervening and directing it to do so. Because slavery and economic discrimination have been components of American society before the original 13 colonies became the independent United States of America, American systems of education, religion, healthcare, philosophy, and the economy were all designed with racist intent.
As a result of the initial racist programming 400 years ago, all American systems have now evolved to consistently producing racially discriminatory results American people of color live with daily. The once legal racist and discriminatory policy of residential segregation in America provide a great example of how human-designed racism evolves to systemic racism.
In 1934 the federal government started a new human-designed racist and discriminatory system to make homeownership possible, exclusively for American Whites, called the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Its primary function was to federally guarantee mortgage loans made to American Whites by banks and other private lenders, which assured that any American White with a job could buy a home. The criteria the FHA established for which mortgages they would guarantee forbade guaranteeing any mortgages in American Black neighborhoods, any mortgages to American Blacks purchasing a home in an American White neighborhood, and until 1950 endorsed the use of restrictive covenants attached to property deeds that prevented the purchase of homes by American Blacks.
These criteria became known as redlining. Because the federal government and lenders would literally draw a red line on a map around the neighborhoods and zip codes they would not invest in, based on race alone. American Black neighborhoods and zip codes were officially deemed by the U.S. government as a bad loan risk. This implanted in the DNA of the entire American financial system a message from the American government, that American Blacks are a bad risk not trustworthy enough to do business with.
This human-designed racist seed implanted in the DNA of the American financial system grew roots and sprouted institutional systemic racism, even long after the human-designed anti-racist policies of the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement such as the Fair Housing Act of 1968 replaced the original racist housing policy. After the Fair Housing Act made it illegal to not lend to American Blacks, the American financial system still had planted within its DNA the principle that American Blacks were a bad risk. A bedrock non-racist principle of free-market capitalism is the higher the risk the more you pay, the lower the risk the lower you pay. And in some instances, either the risk is considered too high by the lender, or the pay is considered too high by the borrower.
The free market risk principle kicked in imposing systemic racism on American Blacks regardless of American White intent. Even though human-designed anti-racist policies now make it illegal for banks to discriminate in their lending practices, no responsible banks are going to lend money to individuals for mortgages or to businesses who want to start a business in American Black areas of current blight and neglect, at any reasonable interest rate if they lend money at all.
No loans or unaffordable loans for new residential or business development continues the blight, the low property values, and the undeveloped property created by the original redlining. This means no new tax revenue or very low tax revenue for well-meaning government officials to spend on upgrading the once legally redlined area.
American Blacks who live in a previously redlined area will pay more for car insurance, property insurance, health insurance, and possibly credit card interest rates primarily because they are victims of financial systemic racism. All American Blacks born today in a previously redlined area start life as a victim of financial systemic racism. Simply due to the fact that long before they were born the American financial system was programmed by the American government to designate people who live in American redlined areas as people of bad risk!!!
The federal government’s human-designed racist mortgage policy evolved to a systemically racist financial system that applied a high-risk designation for all American Blacks, for all other services beyond mortgage lending. The financial system was able to identify American Blacks using U.S. mail zip codes because housing discrimination forced all American Blacks to live in segregated areas with redlined zip codes. For instance, when an American Black would buy car, life, or health insurance their home address zip code let the insurer know this is a high-risk person who needs to pay a higher premium.
The federal government’s human-designed racist mortgage policy created an environment for American Blacks that trapped them in a never-ending cycle of poverty, crime, and illness. As a result, no decent school exists in the formally redlined area and if the neighborhood is wired for the internet, the monthly fee for internet access for online learning is unaffordable making it almost impossible for residents to get an education to escape the blighted area.
Formally redlined areas are food deserts with no place to buy fresh vegetables. Only processed foods are available which creates health complications for the residents who also lack access to adequate healthcare for problems resulting from eating only non-nutritious processed food.
A true understanding by American Whites of systemic racism is the first and most important step to eliminating systemic racism in America, which brings us to the supreme ignorance of Bill Maher!!!
During a conversation about reparations on his HBO talk show with the New York Times columnist Frank Bruni and syndicated radio talk show host Charlamagne Tha God, Bill Maher said “ You could say Obamacare which helped black and brown people way more than white people, obviously all people can sign up but that’s the practical effect of it, is a form of reparations, uh there’s a tax that everybody pays rich people pay more”
Such supreme ignorance like considering the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) a reparation for past discrimination and racism is extremely discouraging. Because if an acknowledged and self-proclaimed liberal like Bill Maher thinks like this then how do the majority of other American Whites think???
Obamacare was a complete overhaul of the entire healthcare insurance and healthcare treatment system, to function based on the premise that access to good quality healthcare is a right that should be granted to ALL citizens, BLACK or WHITE. For instance, the law made it illegal to continue to charge a woman more for healthcare than men, benefitting ALL women rich, poor, black, or white. The law also makes it illegal to deny ALL people, not just black and brown people, with preexisting health conditions health insurance.
I can only assume that Maher’s ignorant statement refers to the portion of the law that seeks to provide free or low-cost healthcare to those in financial need. Aside from Maher’s ignorance in asserting Obamacare as reparations for American Blacks, it’s an impossible proposition because there are more American Whites who receive free or low-cost healthcare than American Blacks. After all, there are more financially challenged American Whites than American Blacks who based on U.S. census figures are no more than 15% of the U.S. population.
Maher’s ignorance is troubling because it’s a reminder of the prejudice that could prevent American Whites from committing to doing what’s necessary to eliminate systemic racism. It’s a reflection of the prejudiced and false proposition that all social programs benefit only American Blacks and not American Whites. Barack Obama unfortunately fed into this urban myth by having an American Black child at his side as he signed Obamacare into law, giving the false idea that the law benefits primarily American Black children when in fact there are more American White children on Obamacare than American Black children.
There are more American Whites on welfare than American Blacks, there are more American Whites who receive food stamps than American Blacks, and there are more American Whites that benefit from all of America’s social welfare and aid programs than American Blacks. Unfortunately, because American Whites have the prejudiced perception that social programs only benefit American Blacks and everything American Whites have in American society they attained with no government aid, by lifting themselves up by their own bootstraps. This means every time the subject of taking steps to mitigate past racism and discrimination American Whites, who think like Bill Maher, raise the question “Aren’t we already doing enough???”
Systemic racism can only be eliminated if American Whites recognize the need and then develop the will to do so. American Whites will only recognize the need to eliminate systemic racism by shunning the ignorance of Bill Maher and opening their hearts and minds to the reality that American Whites always have been and continue, sometimes at the expense of American Blacks, to be the biggest beneficiary of all American social aid programs.
Isaac Newton Farris Jr. is the nephew of Martin Luther King, Jr. and serves as Senior Fellow at the King Center. Growing up in one of the most socially and politically active families has given him a unique perspective on current events. Drop by his website for straight talk free of one-sided political spin.
Originally published at https://isaacnewtonfarris.com on March 16, 2021.