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Hello Ben,

Just noticed this in my feed. Apologies for the delay.

Terms like 'systemic racism', 'institutional racism' and 'implicit bias' have straightforward definitions that are fairly well-established.
I'll grant that random Twitter people often use these phrases in vague or unhelpful ways; but that's hardly a reason to overlook the work of thoughtful people who study this stuff. Right?

Anyway, here's your definition, followed by a clear example of systemic racism.
'Systemic racism' is a species of systemic injustice, so perhaps we should begin there.

Justice is achieved when people get what they deserve, for better or for worse--economically, procedurally, politically, judicially, whatever.
So the term ‘justice’ describes a number of related concepts across a variety of different spheres, but in every case it refers to giving people what they are due. And an *injustice* occurs when people are denied something that they are due.
The substantive content of what constitutes justice or injustice depends on the field of application; but at the highest level of abstraction, justice always involves giving people what they deserve, for better or for worse; and injustice involves withholding what’s deserved.
[Quick sidebar, before we add in the modifier 'systemic':

I find that it’s really important to distinguish justice from charity--particularly in the context of conversations around systemic justice.
Some folks seem to think that "systemic justice" is code for government charity: taking resources from people who’ve earned them, and reallocating those resources to people who haven’t earned them.

This is nonsense. I cannot emphasis this enough--complete and utter nonsense.
If I give you $20 when I don’t owe you $20, that’s charity. But if I give you $20 when I owe you $20, that’s justice. The difference is important because we usually think of charity as supererogatory--which is to say, it’s good to do, but not bad not to do.
By contrast, it’s always bad to withhold justice, because withholding justice--not giving someone what they’re owed--is an injustice, which is always wrong. It’s always wrong for me to keep something that rightfully belongs to you. Always. OK, end of sidebar.]
So justice is achieved when we get what we deserve, for better or for worse; and injustice is done when we deny someone what they deserve.
An injustice is *systemic* if the existence or persistence of that injustice derives from the standing features of a given social system--most notably, its institutions.
An ‘institution’ is just a set of rules. I mean ‘rules’ in the broadest sense here, including not only formal rules or laws, but also traditions, conventions, standing practices and so forth. Such rules guide our policies concerning who gets what within a given context.
So an institutional injustice, or a systemic injustice, is what happens when the rules--or traditions, norms, what have you--when the rules are structured in such a way that the rules themselves serve to deny people what’s rightfully theirs.
Here’s an example. Until very recently, my undergraduate institution in Chapel Hill gave legacy points to applicants whose parents or grandparents attended UNC. And UNC wasn’t racially integrated until 1955--if you were a person of color, you weren’t even permitted to apply.
So if my granddad went to UNC, I’d have an advantage over a person of color, whose granddad wasn’t even permitted to apply to UNC. I’d have an advantage, in other words, by virtue of nothing other than skin color.
Notice that in order for this injustice to happen, there needn't be a racist admissions officer sitting in Jackson Hall tossing out applications from Black students. The facts of history and the rules conspire to achieve a racially unjust result, to wit:
People of color are at a disadvantage in the application process due to nothing other than the color of their skin. This is an injustice, and it can’t be remedied by reforming individuals--the conduct of the individuals involved is perfectly irrelevant to the injustice at hand.
An injustice of this kind derives from the institutional arrangements that engender unjust outcomes; and it can only be remedied by institutional changes. Hence, it's an institutional injustice.
The same kind of analysis holds for the persistence of stark inequalities in the accumulation and intergenerational transfer of wealth that derive from past practices like red-lining, with which you are no doubt familiar.

Please let me know if you need further clarification.
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