Instigator / Pro

Systemic Racism Fundamentally Causes Health Care Disparities in the US


The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

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Contender / Con

They say the more specific a debate is, the easier it is to win. Let's see if my health care point was correct or not.

Institutional racism, also known as systemic racism, is a form of racism that is embedded as normal practice within society or an organization. It can lead to such issues as discrimination in criminal justice, employment, housing, health care, political power, and education, among other issues.

Health Care Disparity information: "Although the term disparities is often interpreted to mean racial or ethnic disparities, many dimensions of disparity exist in the United States, particularly in health. If a health outcome is seen to a greater or lesser extent between populations, there is disparity. Race or ethnicity, sex, sexual identity, age, disability, socioeconomic status, and geographic location all contribute to an individual’s ability to achieve good health. It is important to recognize the impact that social determinants have on health outcomes of specific populations" []

Fundamentally: Systemic Racism inevitably leads to health care disparity (even if it may not be the sole cause or main cause)

Con cannot use the bible, simulation-ism (argument that the world is merely a simulation), or quantum physics

Coal cannot accept this debate.

Burden of proof is shared.

Round 1
Psychological Research
Before delving into the most political side of systemic racism, it’s important to think about why people have unconscious biases in the United States on a large level. From the study “Polluting Black Space” from the Standford University, Eberhardt demonstrates that the physical spaces that were associated with Blacks attributed to the negative racial stereotypes. [PSY1] Through the assumption that they are impoverished, crime-ridden, and dirty, we ironically perpetuate our stereotype. We have all heard of the Golem Effect, where assuming negative outcomes leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy. Indeed, the study finds that the stereotypes contribute to the racial disparity in wealth and even overexposure to pollution. 
As this is not a mainly psychological topic, I will only provide key takeaways from the article. Researchers explain that personal perceptions have feedback in terms of social reactions. In particular, people will distance themselves from each other, and view their surroundings as tainted.

Due to believing little to no harm to the polluted space for blacks, more industrial facilities may be implemented, furthering pollution harm to them.

This is the main cause of the health effects proposed by my health care argument. 

This is, of course, just one example of how stereotypes lead to negative outcomes. Evidence will demonstrate that the negative stereotypes of blacks are the main cause of their inequality, rather than economical or other social aspects.

Health Care

Health Care inequality has caused countless deaths and inequality within the treatment. Our government has continued ignoring these problems and extended systemic racism. A meta-analysis, stronger than one study alone, finds that racism is a determinant of mental and physical health, more so than age, sex, birthplace, and education level. [HC1]
Though some say this is a problem merely regarding race or income, Scientific American has a powerful article noting how the impacts, just as noted in section II, are more about racism rather than race. Through our xenophobia, calls of deportations on Chinese, as well as the mistreatment of blacks, we highlight the bias inherent in our society. As the author notes, blacks have “disparate access to testing, high levels of underlying health conditions, greater occupational exposure, and lower rates of medical insurance coverage.” [HC2]
Combined with the malnutrition and pollution mentioned in section I, it’s clear that the unfortunate conditions are caused by society, not by their skin color. As another paper explains, race becomes biology, overcoming mere economic factors, especially with regards to development in neighborhoods that force blacks to live near toxic waste [HC3] and landfills [HC4]. Currently, many publications associate minority conditions with genetic factors and individual choices and intervene in social treatment.
Even if we account for socioeconomic equality, this alone cannot attribute to all the deaths and sicknesses gone untreated. One study explains that stereotypes, language barriers, lack of respect, lead to misdiagnosis, and the resulting setting. [HC5] The beliefs in real life are reflected in the health care system, and raise the urgency to resolve systemic racism. If doctors believe their patients are worse or better than other patients, they may treat them as such and inevitably cause more deaths. 
Essentially, linked back to the introduction offered in point III, the fundamental cause of racism that brings health disparity cannot be ignored. Studies find that blacks have a significant difference in cardiovascular disease burden, regardless of socioeconomic status. [HC6] An AHA journal also explains that discrimination, stress, and depression lead to toxic stress. [HC7] Naturally, we understand that stress leads to greater chances of heart attacks. Even the rich black men would suffer under the effects of racism while countering assumptions that the rich are naturally better off. Therefore, the cause and effect are linked together strongly.
I have countless expert sources to support this.
  • More Health issues, existing even in Artificial Intelligence, "such that Black patients assigned the same level of risk by the algorithm are sicker than White patients". [HC8] Scientific Magazine also stacks upon an agreement: "Algorithms designed to make decisions about health care incorporate biases that limit care for Black patients." [HC9] Hence the structure of the health care decisions is inappropriate and unjust.
  • The government has FAILED to implement the existing equalities and rights. This is backed by credible sources and the idea that the private sector does whatever it wants due to a lack of laws and regulations. "Racial disparities in health outcomes ... can be seen in the prevalence of chronic health conditions...and police brutality. Furthermore, unequal access to quality health care disproportionately burdens communities of color and exacerbates racial disparities.
  •  “The COVID-19 pandemic has unveiled these inequities… the federal government’s failure to adequately collect race and ethnicity data on COVID-19 testing, hospitalization, and deaths." [HC10] With the government failing to take action in favor of minorities, health inequalities increase. We must take action here and now on a nationwide level to continue saving these innocent lives.
  • This is not only supported by the collection of data but the real-world news. Yet another study highlighted that during COVID, "the crude death rate for Black Americans is more than double that for all other racialized groups. When adjusted for age, the risk of death from COVID‐19 [is] nine times higher for African Americans than it is for whites" [HC11]. Indeed, we already see that the lack of sufficient care for minorities results in needless suffering.
  • The large political, social, and economic forces combined are the sole explanation for the blacks, and con has no way to deny this. The expert explains that there is an undeniable correlation. The social forces shape up the toxic environment for the blacks to be unable to access health services. The synergy between the biology and the sociological processes combine to ruin the minorities. Like deja vu, we see additional problems within the COVID-19 situation alone. My researcher further explains, "in COVID‐19 treatment ...discrimination in healthcare settings adversely affects the management of chronic conditions like diabetes."
  • Another expert's experiment proves that blacks even received better treatment under those who were more racially accepting than those who were not. Under current circumstances, the gap between white and black mortality is unacceptable -- even my research highlights that the gap could be reduced by up to 19% if we tackled systemic inequality. [HC12]
The effects of Systemic Racism are so widespread, that the MIT president himself admits and sends an urgent letter remarking the problems existing in the system, and speaks out for action. He even admitted that surface-level change was not enough: "...we need to acknowledge that it has not been effective enough." [HC13] To discredit such a well-respected person of high status is, discarding the scholarly opinion that makes up the essence of society and truth. 
There is a famous term called the healthcare system, which extends similarly to racism's system. This is the umbrella term that includes all the private sectors combined with government action. According to, health care is "the method by which healthcare is financed, organized, and delivered to a population. It includes issues of access (for whom and to which services), expenditures, and resources (healthcare workers and facilities). " [HC14] My idea of government failure is supported by its ideals. "All governments have some degree of involvement in healthcare because essentially all countries have a centrally funded agency that is concerned with public health issues". Therefore each institute combined forms the entire system, making the MIT President's point valid in the context of systemic Racism.

I would like to start by clarifying the resolution for anyone reading. Here is my interaction with PRO from the comments section on this debate page.

"Which way should your resolution be interpreted?

Systemic racism exists today and is currently causing real health disparities


If systemic racism exists in any time or context, it would theoretically cause health disparities" [1]

"I'm not looking for a technical rewording. I'm just trying to get a general sense of whether your argument is dealing in our current reality or hypotheticals." [2]

"the first one [Referring to 'Systemic racism exists today and is currently causing real health disparities']." [3]

This is in no way to reinterpret the resolution. As the comments show, it is simply to make clear from the outset that we are discussing our current context rather than general theoretical concepts.

Since this debate is about health care disparities, it would make sense that systemic racism should be demonstrated to exist within the healthcare system, or within laws and policies relating to healthcare disparities. If a policy exists that clearly discriminates against one group based on race, it would be relatively easy to use that as an example of systemic racism. However, we will likely not see a single explicitly racist law or policy that currently exists. In fact, PRO has alleged in Round 1 that "existing equalities and rights" are failing to be implemented. Such a claim admits that there are explicit laws and policies within the system that are intended to promote equality and oppose racism.

If there are no laws or policies that are explicitly racist, then establishing a causal relationship between systemic racism and health disparities becomes much more difficult. It is not enough to simply cite statistics that show disparate outcomes without clearly showing a causal relationship. It will not even be enough to show that systemic racism is a possible cause of these outcomes. Rather, it must be shown that systemic racism exists and that it is an actual cause.

Causes of Health Disparities and the Nature of Systemic Racism
In an interview with NPR [4], Dr. Andrew Kolodny claims that the opioid epidemic disproportionately affects white people in the United States. This would be considered a health disparity. I have to ask PRO, is it possible that the cause of this health disparity is systemic racism toward white people?

Does PRO Have A Legitimate Argument?
Good debaters should have the ability to consider the topic from both perspectives, weighing good and bad arguments from either side. Allow me to approach the issue from PRO's perspective to see if there is any weight to these arguments.

A Washington Post article discusses how Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) made an attempt to create relationships with minority communities [5]. A quote from the article:

Gary Gerdemann, a spokesman for KFC, told Scripps Howard News Service that the campaign was an attempt to attract more black customers. “This is a marketing concept that was designed to put us closer to the communities we serve,” he said. “We started looking at our customer base and found an opportunity to align ourselves with the African American community.”

While this may seem like a good example of business creating positive relationships with black people, the consequences might have actually been quite detrimental. A HuffPost article title makes a succinct statement on how the KFC marketing campaign might prove relevant to our debate - "People of Color Bear the Brunt of Fast-Food Explosion: Black America has a fast-food problem, and the U.S. government helped create it." [6] The article cites a CDC statistic that African Americans are 1.5 times more likely to be obese than white Americans, which would be evidence of a health disparity. HuffPost also claimed fast-food companies prioritize advertising to minority children over whites. This is an alarming assertion when considering health disparities that might be the result of poor nutrition.

The debate description states "Institutional racism, also known as systemic racism, is a form of racism that is embedded as normal practice within society or an organization. It can lead to such issues as discrimination in criminal justice, employment, housing, health care, political power, and education, among other issues." Let's examine a few of these in the context of PRO's argument to see how this fast-food issue could actually be an example of systemic racism leading to health disparities.

Since blacks are discriminated against in the realm of education, this will likely cause them to be less knowledgeable than white people. Other consequences of discrimination in education means that black people will often be inferior to white people in terms of reading ability and critical thinking skills. The goal of the advertising industry is to persuade people to act in certain ways. One can see how discrimination in the education system would make black people more susceptible to a multi-billion dollar industry seeking to influence their behaviors.

The poor education for black people naturally leads them to be less qualified for upper-level jobs. Not to mention all the companies allegedly violating their own anti-discrimination policies to keep black people out of high-paying positions. This leads to black people being poor compared to white people. Since fast-food restaurants offer cheaper selections than other healthier alternatives, it makes sense that poor black people would gravitate toward those options. Black people simply can't afford healthy food like white people can because of how poor they often are.

The fact that discrimination leads to black people being more poorly educated than white people, as well as having lower-paying jobs, means they are likely unable to move out of the poverty-stricken communities that they probably live in. They're just too poor to afford to live in the nicer white communities. And since fast-food restaurants have systemically targeted these poor minority communities with their racist food campaigns, black people have little to no ability to do anything but consume the unhealthy food that these restaurants are influencing them to buy. They might not even realize how they are being subconsciously manipulated to make these poor health decisions.

Health Care
One can see how all these factors relate to the proliferation of fast-food consumption in minority communities, and how this can cause a disparity in terms of systemic black obesity. Does PRO have a legitimate argument regarding the cause of health disparities? It seems there may be a deadly pathway of discrimination here. If black people have inferior reading and critical thinking skills compared to white people, they can be more easily manipulated to make poor health decisions. And since they are usually less qualified than white people due to poor education, this will lead them to experience higher levels of poverty because they will likely have low-paying jobs or be unemployed. And since black people can't afford nice communities and healthier food options (because they're probably poor), they are far more likely to be obese than their healthier white counterparts. Oh, and it may seem unfair that we're focusing on black people more than other minorities, but those groups are similarly uneducated, poor, and obese compared to white people.

At least, such is the reasoning of PRO's argument.

Round 2
I am greatly confused by Con's argument, as it seems to attempts a big alternative explanation, without mitigating any of my essential arguments, especially with the psychological reasoning behind the polluted spaces, as well as the crucial disparities within the health condition.

Con opens up by asking about the opioid epidemic, which notices that "But the black patient is less likely to be prescribed narcotics, and therefore less likely to wind up becoming addicted to the medication.". Here he presents us with an interesting counter-idea: because we ironically didn't respect blacks' wishes (to obtain a dangerous drug), we actually protected them with our existing racism.

Firstly, Con has failed to refute the inherent discrimination admitted by NPR, despite the beneficial result. Imagine I wanted to go skydiving even though it was dangerous. The right to use drugs, even though highly controversial, is currently legal under many circumstances. So if I was refused to take danger merely due to my race, I would argue this is still part of systemic racism. Therefore, Con's source only continues to help my argument. It is not merely the bad outcomes that prove discrimination, but also looking into the inherent deserved rights of the patient. If the doctors have a bad practice, believing it to be good, a philosopher like Immanuel Kant would still agree that they should treat whites and blacks equally regarding this practice. If the standard is to give people narcotics, regardless of terrible results, then "systemic justice/equality" would have to agree to also give blacks the dangerous drugs.

This is not a debate about whether systemic equality would result in a net benefit in society, therefore I do not have to take a stance on that. I only have to prove a cause and effect relationship.

Con decides to help my argument by noting how Systemic racism causes disparity in education -- which attributes to lack of understanding of health care, discrimination in employment and discrimination in housing -- which further attributes to lack of health care. I thank Con for ... conceding? His argument. It's unclear if he's setting this up to refute it later due to lack of space, or agreeing with my premise. Con realizes that my reasoning behind this argument is further supported by these housing, employment, and education sectors. He clearly notices that my multiple-pronged argument has health care as a primary aspect contributed by many different sectors. So I suppose he is simplifying my argument, only to destroy it later.

As we await for Con's rebuttal, I will heap upon extra complexity (borrowed from my previous arguments), so as to prevent any Straw man representation of my real argument.


Con will probably try to refute the red-lining basis that my argument was based upon. As a pre-emptive rebuttal, I'll strike first.

Native Americans also face disproportionate amount of housing problems, at a higher rate than average US Population. [POL.H7] This is similar to my argument that blacks inherently have problems in housing due to the previous segregation and the existing practices. The specific statement is that public policies use the guise of creating new spaces in order to "[strip] Black communities of the wealth and financial stability found in property ownership and affordable rental housing". It is not that our policies *are* redlining, but rather *reproducing* the effects of redlining, especially with displacement of blacks, with little evidence of "long term benefits from these revitalization efforts".


I'm not 100% sure how Con's going to refute his setup, but his explanation misses my more detailed examples and links.

The Natural Partnership for Women and Families speaks up about the history of wage gaps and how racism attributes to the problem in modern days. As the authors summarize, the discrimination and exploitation of workers based on race, gender, etc. lead to Black women being paid only 63 cents per dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. [OCC3] The Federal Reserve points out this linking back in history from the 1980s, and with inequality growing over time. [OCC4] 
The discrimination is thus an inevitable cause of the wealth gap of minorities.


Con argues a bit on how Blacks' critical thinking skills are impacted, but more than that, there are significant mental issues developed from the schools' discrimination.
  • The racism is so significant that minorities feel distressed and mental issues regarding the problem. "Elevated levels of Cultural Mistrust, Cultural Race-Related Stress, and Individual Race Related Stress lead to increased use of Emotion-Based Coping behaviors ...." [EDU1]
  • "School to Prison" is a known term, where the schools cause the minority students to become ostracized. The extremely harsh punishments push them to become neglected and build upon their vulnerability, raising this point to the next level. [EDU5] As a result of this educational racism, a very high proportion of minorities are also dropping out of school. [EDU6] How does Con explain this, if this is not due to the problems I've listed?
 I have about 6,500+ characters left but I am not completely certain what to do as Con basically almost waived his entire round just to explain my argument (or strawman it to misinterpret? His explanation was much simpler than the evidence presented). I will remind voters to think about the actual impacts that systemic racism causes in terms of health disparities, and end this round by copy pasting my Call to Action as a solidifying conclusion.

Call to Action
Understandably, Con and many others feel the way they do. Some are simply not knowledgeable enough and only know about one side of the debate. But learning history and the truth paves a path towards greater understanding. As yet another study highlights, educating history lets us learn about how and why systemic racism exists today. The researchers stated, " Participants listened to ... the federal government’s role in creating Black ghettos, and how racialized space still perpetuates structural inequality today (cf. Bonam, et al 2015)", [SUM2] and as a result, they were able to further the battle against Systemic racism today, changing people's point of view for the better.
It is near impossible that so many experts and news articles would waste time about an already-resolved problem. It would be even more unlikely for major corporations and powerful people to invest in the name of equality. With so many credible people speaking up about systemic racism in the US, it’s undeniable that it is a significant problem. 
My voters, friends, the time to act against systemic racism is here and now. Already, six corporations have donated millions to billions of dollars to fight the inherent bias within people. [SUM3] Police and judges have not self-reflected or educated themselves enough, and the evidence I have provided is as resounding as any scientific theory. To deny the existence of systemic racism is to deny the very effort to fight for equality, and potentially return to a world where white males dominated and minorities are snuffed out like a candle. It is true that the Supreme Court has established a baseline with Brown V Board of Education. But it takes more than 12 to change the world and to demonstrate the lack of systemic racism.

Causes of Health Disparities and the Nature of Systemic Racism
There are a few things to note about systemic racism from PRO's response to the NPR interview:

  • White people cannot be the victims of systemic racism in any circumstance. Since systemic racism is caused by white people (or more specifically, the perpetuation of whiteness), they cannot be victims of their own oppression. In fact, any negative outcome would likely be viewed as a form of cosmic retribution carried out by the gods of social justice (I mean this figuratively...kind of).
  • All racial disparities are caused by systemic racism, except those that are detrimental to white people. When white people benefit from the system, that proves the system is rigged in their favor and that systemic racism exists. Detrimental outcomes for white people are simply unintended consequences of their own oppression; while systemic racism did not cause these types of disparities, they still prove the existence of systemic racism. Conversely, detrimental outcomes for minorities prove the system is rigged against them and that systemic racism exists. When minorities experience positive outcomes, those are just unintended consequences of oppression that further prove the existence of systemic racism. So every outcome, whether good or bad, is proof that systemic racism exists. There are no alternatives.
  • This leads us to conclude that systemic racism, as believed by PRO, is an undeniable epistemological truth. Rather than asking if a disparity was caused by systemic racism, we should start by asking how a disparity was caused by systemic racism. It is woven into all parts of society so that race becomes the predominant factor that defines every facet of our human experience.

These are general observations that I don't think PRO will be heavily opposed to, if at all. Let's move on to another issue now. As the heading of this section suggests, I am seeking to identify the nature of systemic racism. So while the following questions deal with a proposed solution to this issue, I understand that is not what the debate is about. I am asking them in a hypothetical way to gain a better understanding of the nature of systemic racism and how it causes health disparities. I hope PRO will indulge me then by clearly answering these questions.

Policies such as Affirmative Action [1] were put in place to assist minorities in receiving a college education by lowering academic standards, among other things [2]. Perhaps similar actions could be taken in the healthcare field. Wait times could be reduced for minorities by allowing them to move in front of white people. The cost of services could be reduced for minorities; paying lower costs than white people for the same services could help with disparities. Building of new hospitals could be mostly restricted to minority communities rather than white communities. One of PRO's sources even suggested intentionally reducing the number of white doctors and replacing them with doctors of color [3]. So the two questions for PRO are:

  1. Do you believe that implementing laws or policies like these would help reduce or eliminate systemic racism, or at least mitigate the effects of it?
  2. Could these solutions possibly lead to the creation of a system where white people become the oppressed victims of systemic racism?

Clear answers to these questions are needed so that we can better understand systemic racism and how it causes health disparities.

Does PRO Have A Legitimate Argument?
We have certainly seen a more clear presentation of the multiple-pronged nature of systemic racism. PRO was also true to his word in providing more complexity and depth to the issue. As we explore the resolution from PRO's perspective, simplification does not have to be a negative thing. It can actually aid us in having a better understanding of the true nature of systemic racism.

PRO brings up more points about this prong. We have seen how black peoples' reading and critical thinking skills are inferior compared to those of white people due to poor education. A consequence is they probably do not even understand how healthcare works! And since blacks often have "significant mental issues" (as PRO put it), the lack of knowledge that is characteristic of many black people works to compound their health disparities. 

The racist education system also ostracizes black people. This causes them to commit crimes at much higher rates than white people. And what else can they do? They are victims of a system that essentially forces them to resort to criminal activity. And when their mental issues inevitably lead them into hard drug use, systemic racism causes them to be put into prison for the criminal activity they have no control over. It is no wonder people black people are seen as criminals when the racist system forces them through a school-to-prison pipeline, in which a majority of them are forced into a life of crime.

I realize this next point might make PRO's concept of systemic racism even more clear, but it must be raised to be fair to his argument. Lack of education would lead to a poor understanding of economics. This means that black people might not even know how to use money to buy a house! And since black people are so pervasively poor, bankers who are part of the racist banking system would look at these poor unemployed black people and make the biased decision that they shouldn't be given a mortgage. After all, poor people can't afford monthly payments, and most black people are poor. PRO's understanding of systemic racism then creates the image that black people are poor and unintelligent criminals, leading to discrimination in the realm of housing.

So even when black people are somehow able to figure out how to buy a house, they are denied by racism. This means they're basically destined to be perpetually poor (on top of being uneducated, unemployed, obese criminals). It's a vicious cycle of victimization that is almost unavoidable for black people.

I don't know if there's much else to say here. The fact that black people have impaired critical thinking skills means they're destined for low-paying jobs or unemployment. This leads to all sorts of health disparities in terms of disease and obesity. And it also seems their inferior cognitive functions compared to white people is the only explanation for why white people are paid so much more. White people have created a system using their superior intelligence that keeps black people uneducated and unemployed, and there's nothing black people can do about it. That is just another conclusion based on PRO's concept systemic racism.

Psychological Research
I will end my assessment of PRO's understanding of systemic racism with this point. I agree with his Round 1 argument that "it’s important to think about why people have unconscious biases in the United States on a large level." And he seems to believe that creating negative stereotypes about black people can actually lead to those outcomes. So where did the idea that black people are poor, uneducated, and obese criminals come from?

I think that it's clearly a perspective issue. If your worldview causes you to constantly perceive black people in terms of their inferiority to white people, it would make sense that negative stereotypes would arise. If this is true, then we should all pay very close attention to the points PRO has made regarding his concept of systemic racism. If we can understand the worldview that these negative stereotypes arose from, we might finally understand where the problem truly lies. And while I am CON in this debate, I can stand with PRO in condemning any worldview or ideology that leads to creating negative stereotypes about black people.


Round 3
Con seems to misinterpret my position as extremist -- he states that no matter what outcomes are accomplished, that we will never resolve systemic racism. But if in most sectors the representation is relatively equal with no significant mistreatment one way or another, I would argue that is when Systemic Justice/Equality is achieved. Though most countries have a lot of work to do, US seems one of the worst with the biggest amount of history backing the current policies that extend current injustices. 

Con proposes a policy similar to affirmative action, which looks like it could work, assuming Con hasn't hidden any information. He argues about whether this oppresses whites instead, which I will counter no. A government sponsored Myth Vs Facts site tells about some common misconceptions about AA. In particular, AA's merely try to improve the representation of the minorities. The Racism needs power as well to implement, and we are not putting undeserving minorities in power to shift the Racism. And the final Fact refutes Con by noting that white men still hold the structural power in society, and the workforce is largely also whites.

If this wasn't enough, the Atlantic also points out that we have only mitigated the under-representation of blacks rather than completely overturn whites. The author states: " White students still make up almost three-quarters of all ... scholarship recipients in four-year bachelor’s programs, almost two-thirds of all institutional grants and scholarship recipients, and over three-quarters of all merit-based grants and scholarships... White students are more likely than black, Latino, and Asian students to receive scholarships." As you can see, we have mistaken our solution for extra racism and confused our beneficial treatment as discrimination. Now Education is a whole another bucket with different implementation problems (such as bringing a person who is unable to handle the work load into Harvard), but Health Care has no such problems (Unless the doctors can some how be "too good"). So I recommend voters to think carefully before accepting all comparisons to Educational AA.


It's difficult to tell what Con is refuting here, and on surface level I agree with what he is saying. Just in case he has hidden a trap, I will rephrase this in a vastly different style -- a poem.


It's a great place, but the educators have discriminated against them.
The minorities.

If you're expelled,
       if you're suspended,
                   if they extend similar bias as police do,
                                 then the "school to prison" is a genuine problem.

And if you are poorly educated,
         if you tend to look like a criminal,
                    I doubt doctors or medical locations will treat you any better.

It's clear:
          the Education and Prison cases indirectly lead  
                 to health care 

Hopefully, this drastic twist will throw any of Con's refutations off and crystallize my argument.


Yes, they are inevitably also growing poor. I don't see any further crystallization, but I sense a bad wind coming this direction. Con may be planning to use the "poor are mistreated, rather than minority" argument. I will pre-emptively point out that the "born with a wealth gap" is not a legitimate argument here. The *discrimination* is what perpetuates this specific income gap of minorities and whites. It's slightly late, but it's not the final round, so I will copy paste my refutation of income-based bias, which focuses on why race is the primary factor leading to mistreatment.

Refutation of Wealth Gap Argument
Opponents bring up an interesting point: Is racism the cause of the divide of wealth? At first, there are some doubts. They may be naturally poor, and poor people are treated worse off than rich people. But the mere cause of the cultural divide does not explain fully the socioeconomic inequality. 
An in-depth paper explains that institutional racism has been a long cause of this wealth gap. The accumulated wealth from past family travels from generation to generation, propelling an unstoppable quest for a fortune for privileged people. The unique power of wealth ensures that "this intergenerational transmission create[s] an unequivocal link between the present and our racialized past of enslavement, extermination, and expropriation". [GAP1] In other words, the cycle of money loops back to help white males who are treated well and will be treated well, while the blacks who were treated poorly in the past are doomed to repeat their mistakes. The obstacles in the way inherently prevent them from reaching the goal.
If this wasn’t enough, a 2010 study conducted by Shapiro also agrees with the same idea. The difference between blacks and whites was not caused by market, family, personal attributes, but rather direct and indirect effects of discrimination, especially homeownership. [GAP2] The present housing discrimination overcomes the similar income and work history and results in our current economic disparity. 
Even if readers don't buy this, I have another source that speaks of a vast social transformation as the main solution. Don't focus too much on the economic aspect. On a report of the wealth gap, the source opens up with "There are no actions that black Americans can take unilaterally that will have much of an effect on reducing the racial wealth gap" [GAP3]. Already, something is suspicious. If the wealth was caused by problems of capitalism, surely all you'd have to do would be work harder, or get lucky with education, or have connections. But no. This problem has gotten out of the hand of citizens. This is the true extent of the systemic level of racism.
Of course, this is not to say that racism is the sole cause of the disparities demonstrated in this paper. A famous paper from Sowell argues that statistical disparities are inherently common in the US and that the system alone doesn’t create barriers to economic prosperity. However, as also warns, “nobody is arguing that racial or ethnic discrimination has been eliminated”. [GAP4] In addition, Sowell’s main argument was against unnecessary government interventions, rather than addressing the vast mistreatment in different sectors. The mere economic standpoint is rather weak when measured up against my argument overall. His lack of engagement with current theory and empirical evidence ultimately falls short of disproving any part of my case.


Con seems to agree that the systemic racism causes the conclusion of inevitable disparity in employment. I'm not 100% sure what he's getting at, but he seems to be creating a helpless and trapped mood, perhaps to completely overturn my argument with a depressing finale. But my argument is not meant to be bleak and impossible. The "fundamental" in the premise may give the illusion of such. But I am trying to prove the link of the racism itself to the disparities. Do not be confused to link all sectors instantly to discrimination. I would say that the US is making remarkable progress; it just so happens that this is a current -- even if solvable -- issue. While it looks like there are too many problems to defeat, I will also argue that small steps taken to reduce issues is very important. As highlights, many workplaces are trying to reduce racial bias, set up safe spaces, and setting objective criteria to reduce the employment racism. Certainly doesn't turn over my argument and magically allow Con to win, but it highlights how the employment isn't inherently discriminatory in itself. Rather, our practices have been racist overall and there are practices to take to make it possible to escape this fundamental issue.

Psychological Research

Con seems to request where the unconscious racism and assumptions may inherently come from. This is an interesting question, even if not necessary to put the nail in the coffin for this debate. Luckily, science is my forte. As Science mag explains, our brain has a function to categorize things. The assumption from black people to crime is clear, as well as the idea with bad neighborhoods. While she seems to repeat the "police vs driver" interaction in a more subtle manner, it's clear that even the tone has been shown to be different regarding whites versus blacks. Luckily, Eberhardt also managed to role play and train officers to prevent the unconscious bias. As a solution, the researcher thinks of increased diversity, and think deeper with back-up plans. The introduction of "friction" means that police had to specify suspicious behavior, which severely reduced racial profiling. By forcing people to think carefully, she is able to greatly reduce the racial injustices in the area.

I hope this has been enlightening. I await Con's response.
Causes of Health Disparities and the Nature of Systemic Racism
The point of bringing up current Affirmative Action policies was not to make a direct comparison. I recognize this is not a debate about weighing the impacts of proposed solutions to systemic racism. Rather, we are trying to discover what systemic racism is in a more complete way. In this case, the solution helps us understand the problem. I was also not stating that PRO believes systemic racism can never be resolved. I was asserting that every disparate outcome is alleged evidence of systemic racism.

Here are a few more observations we can make based on PRO's answers to my questions from Round 2:

PRO's understanding of racism is different than the classical understanding of racism.
Here is a news clip [1] that explains how Merriam-Webster decided to change the definition of racism in June of 2020, much to the praise of MSNBC's Ali Velshi. This update added the definition, "the systemic oppression of a racial group to the social, economic, and political advantage of another," [2] and clarifies that this specifically carries the sense of white supremacy. We will delve a little more into why these two uses of the term racism are not the same thing.

Preferential treatment of one group over another based on race is not necessarily racism according to PRO.
Notice how PRO justified prejudicial treatment of white people because they are part of the group that is in power - the hegemony. If you flipped all of the healthcare propositions that I gave around so that white people were given preference over black people, almost everyone would correctly say that was racist. Yet in PRO's worldview, preferential treatment of one race is morally reprehensible, while preferential treatment of the other race is a moral obligation. Therefore, systemic racism is not simply discrimination based on skin color.

PRO's concept of systemic racism deals more with structural power and representation than actual racism.
In the opening section of PRO's Round 3 argument, he echoed a principle from the Myth vs Facts source that stated:

"Racism is power plus discrimination. The parameters of discrimination based on race are distinguished by the power dynamics. Reverse racism is not, therefore, a reality if people of color are not in positions of power and perpetuating the discrimination." [3]
As long as the idea that white people are in power can be perpetuated, it is impossible for them to be the victims of racism. This is why PRO has affirmed that prejudicial treatment of white people in the healthcare system is a way to fight systemic racism. This prejudicial treatment can even be carried out by legal action - or on a systemic level - as a moral good.

Systemic racism is the lack of systemic justice/equality.
Here is where we see the real difference in how the term racism is being used. Racism has typically been understood to be the thoughts or actions of an individual. However, systemic racism is not dependent upon there being anyone actively participating in racism for its existence. Rather, it is dependent upon the presence of racial disparities. Once you have identified a disparity, you know that systemic racism exists. And when you determine which race has "the power" (in this case, white people), you can know who is responsible for the systemic discrimination, even if no one is individually guilty of racism. This is what Eduardo Bonilla-Silva refers to as racism without racists.

It is for this reason that PRO is so reliant on citing statistics about disparities rather than presenting any examples of explicitly racist policies. In his worldview, the existence of unequal outcomes (or racial disparities) is systemic racism - no prejudicial thoughts or actions required.

Here is a reminder of the previous points covered in the last round:

  • White people cannot be the victims of systemic racism.
  • All racial disparities are caused by systemic racism, except those that are detrimental to white people.
  • Systemic racism is an undeniable epistemological truth.

Does PRO Have A Legitimate Argument?
Here is the million-dollar question:

Assuming things continue as they are today, is it inevitable that black people living in the United States will have inferior reading and critical thinking skills, be more poorly educated, have higher rates of obesity, be less qualified for jobs, have less money, and commit crimes at a higher rate than white people proportionally?

If the answer is yes, then I don't think it would be unfair to say that the concept of systemic racism referred to in the debate resolution is a belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities, and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.

However, if the answer is no, then the debate resolution fails and systemic racism is not currently causing healthcare disparities in the United States.

Round 4
I have no clue what Con is doing by now other than perhaps suggesting that my logic results in the absurd conclusion that with whites in power, no actions can be taken to reduce the systemic racism. So perhaps the systemic racism *is* the health disparity by definition, rather than causing it. But Con has still not disconnected any of the logical grounding and the actions taken by people to display the racism and cause the supposed disparities.

Let's rebuild my argument from the ground up.

People have unconscious biases. This is true for most people, especially if they are uncareful and uneducated.

With my research, it's possible to reduce this bias, but right now most of the time, blacks are associated with poor, crime, uneducated, so on and so forth.

Because the white people in power use assumptions about blacks, they implement policies (even if not explicit laws) that disadvantage them.

Con and I both agree that blacks are disadvantaged in education, housing, and employment. The difference is that Con did not acknowledge the sheer level of impact, remarked in my income section (pre rebuttal) which proved that the policy itself must bring the poor out of their inescapable situation. Con basically says we have no way of solving the problem, that we should just give up, but I've shown that we have made progress; it's just that our actions tend to backlash and battle our laws and intentions in a contradictory manner. 

Based on the evidence provided in the first round, and the causation-effect shown, vote for me.
A Subtle Perspicuity
While my approach in this debate may be a bit unorthodox, my intention has been to shine the spotlight on PRO's position as much as possible. I think that outside readers who are not religious adherents to the cult of Critical Race Theory will likely understand why. I hope readers will be appalled at the horrendous statements that I made about black people and other minorities - the same ones that PRO repeatedly affirmed as concurrent with his worldview. While I did not take any pleasure in saying such things, I believe they needed to be said in order to expose the underlying presuppositions of the worldview that is being presented to us.

PRO has not really disputed the analysis I have made of the concept of systemic racism thus far. Bear in mind, I do not agree that the things I have said are true. I was making statements that would be affirmed by someone who sees the world through the lens of Critical Race Theory. This was made clear in Round 1. Throughout this debate, I have sought to clarify PRO's argument in two ways.

1. Causes of Health Disparities and the Nature of Systemic Racism
Here are some of the observations we made about how systemic racism is not the same as the original understanding of racism:

All racial disparities are caused by systemic racism, except those that are detrimental to white people. In PRO's worldview, systemic racism is an undeniable reality. Pointing out a disparity is sufficient evidence to him because we do not have to actually prove whether or not systemic racism exists. We only need to identify where it exists. Or in the case of this debate, we can spam sources to show expert so-and-so says systemic racism exists, and we dare not question "experts" like them!

White people cannot be the victims of systemic racism in any circumstance. This foundational principle of systemic racism and Critical Race Theory is the basis upon which prejudicial treatment of white people on a policy level can be justified as a moral obligation.

Preferential treatment of one group over another based on race is not necessarily racism. I made a number of suggestions that gave preferential treatments based on skin color. PRO responded by saying in Round 3, "Con proposes a policy similar to affirmative action, which looks like it could work, assuming Con hasn't hidden any information." There was nothing hidden behind that question, but something was clearly revealed in PRO's response.

PRO's understanding of racism is different than the classical understanding of racism. The fact that Merriam-Webster felt the need to add an additional definition to the word should be proof that a distinction must be made.

Systemic racism is the lack of systemic justice/equality. In Round 3, PRO stated, "But if in most sectors the representation is relatively equal with no significant mistreatment one way or another, I would argue that is when Systemic Justice/Equality is achieved." This leads us to our next observation.
PRO's concept of systemic racism deals more with structural power and representation than actual racism. Systemic racism is a lack of systemic equality as shown by the presence of disparities. In order to mitigate these disparities, prejudicial treatment of a particular race can be justified to combat systemic racism. Thus, the concept of systemic racism is not really concerned with eliminating racism as it has originally been understood. The goal is to eliminate disparities.

2. Does PRO Have A Legitimate Argument?
Recall that we clarified in Round 1 that the debate resolution could be interpreted to have the meaning that systemic racism exists in the United States today, and that is currently and objectively causing healthcare disparities. It is not a theoretical question about if systemic racism would cause disparities. To grasp the assertion that is being made by this resolution, we have to understand what systemic racism is.

Based on our observations about the nature of it, affirming the resolution requires one to believe the inevitable outcome that minorities will be inferior to white people in almost every realm of life in the U.S. today. This includes areas such as education, housing, employment, cognitive function, and overall health. The determining factor in these inevitable outcomes is the color of one's skin. So in a backwards way, PRO is arguing the inevitable superiority of white people compared to minorities. 

In the last round, I cited a news clip explaining how Merriam-Webster updated the definition of racism in June of 2020 to include the idea of systemic racism. They do still include the more classical understanding of the word:

"a belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities, and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race" ( 

This is to be distinguished from the concept of systemic racism that we have explored in this debate. But why is this important? Here is the question I asked in the last round:

Assuming things continue as they are today, is it inevitable that black people living in the United States will have inferior reading and critical thinking skills, be more poorly educated, have higher rates of obesity, be less qualified for jobs, have less money, and commit crimes at a higher rate than white people proportionally?

It seems PRO has given us an unequivocal yes throughout this entire debate. Neither has he raised any dispute to the logical conclusion I gave to that million-dollar question in the last round:

If the answer is yes, then I don't think it would be unfair to say that the concept of systemic racism referred to in the debate resolution is a belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities, and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.

Therefore, given the assertion that minorities will inevitably be inferior to white people in almost every realm of life, and given that prejudicial treatment of a particular group based on skin color has been justified as a moral obligation, I offer the following summary of this debate:

The concept of 'systemic racism' given by PRO in the resolution is founded upon a belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities, and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.

Let the reader understand.