Race Is Fiction. Racism Is Not.

In this Tedx talk, Francys Johnson looks at the promises that the United States of American has made to its citizens through its ideals, and founding documents, and yet how through racists laws and policies, a large segment has heed restricted from many of those ideals - among them: "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

Johnson states that there are three things that he knows about American racism:

  1. Race itself is a fiction. There is no scientific, biological, proof of different races and in actuality, race is a complete social construct. Therefore, “All persons possess the same faculties for attaining the highest levels of intellectual, economic, political, social, and educational achievements” and where there are gaps they are not on account of the color of a person’s skin. They cannot be attributed to race but they can be attributed to racism and discrimination.
  2. Racism matters. Race plays and exaggerated role in American culture and in Americans's lives, especially those of African Americans who have higher chance of dying during infancy, mothers not having pre-natal care, fathers more likely to be unemployed, (and those who are employed can expect to earn only 72% of their white counterparts.) They are more likely to attend underperforming schools, more likely to be treated differently in the criminal justice system - whether they are tried as a juvenile or not, what kind of plea bargains they are given, if they will be tried under the death penalty. 
  3. People matter more. There are many values put forward by America's founding documents that are shared by all Americans. Johnson states that if we put people over politics (who gets what when where and how) we will find the solution to overcoming race.

Ultimately, Johnson believes that "We have the ability to struggle with and confront race and deconstruct it where it legally exists. We need to stop separating people. If we root out and destroy any benefit created by race classification, it is only then that we will overcome it."