17 July 2018
Racial and Patriarchal: Systematic v. Systemic
There is a constant struggle between the systematic and systemic prejudice felt within many social structures of modern society. The difference between systemic and systematic prejudice lies in whether a society has a law or is expressively adamant on the prejudice or bias against a certain race or culture. If the society has these laws in place, this would be considered systematic prejudice. On the other hand, if a society has predetermined common beliefs opposing another race or culture but does not take measures to actively enforce them, this is called systemic prejudice. Both systematic and systemic prejudice can be seen in literature and society today in different forms and are the explanation behind why our society is the way it is.
The concept of systematic prejudice arises from the rules or laws in place to maintain a prejudice or bias against a certain race or culture. Systematic prejudice has been used throughout history by the government, large companies and small businesses. For example, slavery in the United States had many aspects of systematic prejudice. The slaves were discriminated against based on their black skin, and were treated as if they were property. As described in the novel Beloved, by Tomi Morrison, authorities could legally take away Sethe’s daughter based upon the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. Taking away of a mother’s child can cause devastating emotional trauma, and was a result of the systematic laws in place to continue the oppression of black people in the United States. Being bought, sold and even forced to breed with one another attributes to the systematic racism that occurred to maintain white supremacy. As seen in Bell Hooks, Eating the other, she explains the desire of white people to enforce the systematic process of “exploiting the other” to maintain “status quo” in a white supremacist capitalist patriarchy (Hooks 367). The concept of “exploiting the other” can also come through systematic power such as the Belgian-Congo Holocaust (Hooks 367). King Leopold II of Belgium systematically enslaved blacks from the Congo and forced them to collect rubber (African Holocaust). If the rubber quota was not met, the slaves would have a hand chopped off (African Holocaust). The enforcement of this brutal power was to maintain the Belgian dominance and the concept overall superiority of whites over blacks. Throughout history the maintaining of laws and rules within a society have been used as an outlet for racial prejudice. In addition to racial systematic prejudice, there is also the important concept of patriarchal systematic prejudice. For example, there are still numerous laws in Africa and the Middle East that completely oppress women. In Cameroon and Guinea, husbands determine the place of work for their wives (Claire). In Afghanistan and Yemen, husbands can legally restrict their wives from leaving the h...