If We Ignore Institutional Racism, will it Actually Go Away?

I’m sure we’ve all heard the story of the teen from Memphis, Tennessee who stood up to her racist parents and earned herself a crisp $35,000+ right? If not, here is a quick rundown: a teen from Memphis stood up to her parents because they were against her having a black boyfriend. They denied her college tuition, so the teen took matters into her hands and started a GoFundMe page. The reaction to her tragedy was quite positive and she has proceeded to collect over $35,000 for her tuition. One might think that this story is a heart-warming tale of one girl’s fight for social justice and her rewards in the process, but it is much deeper and much more complicated.

Racism, in all of its complexities, can manifest itself in, more or less, 2 ways: institutional racism and interpersonal racism. The latter is more individualized, meaning that the individual/s involved are in control and are choosing to be racists to others, be it in a blatant manner or in the form of a microaggression. The former, however, is more systematic. It seeps into every part of our society, from our political systems to our educational systems and beyond. It is essentially built into our society. The former is derived from the latter, but the most important difference among them is that institutional racism is far less acknowledged than interpersonal racism. Institutional racism is a myth to all those who do not experience it, which unfortunately means that the majority of the U.S.’ population does not believe that institutional racism is real. So, if it’s not real, why bother acknowledging or fixing it?

Asking those kinds of questions is the problem. Racism does not just boil down to a dispute between one individual and another. It is constantly perpetuated by the society we live in and the rules we follow. Media outlets fail to address the fact that the institutions that govern us were built specifically to oppress minorities and people of color. Instead, we are given story after story like the teen from Memphis. Stories like these are great, but if we continue to ignore the fact that structural racism exists and solely bolster the idea that racism is an isolated issue, we will never be able to make real change.

The Affordable Care Act vs. Trump Presidency: Will He Succeed?

The Affordable Care Act was passed by Congress and then signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23rd, 2010. The act, also known as Obamacare, has had its ups and downs over the past 4 years as it faced heavy opposition from the Republican party. However Obamacare, despite its rocky start, has improved the lives of many and has succeeded in its initial goal, which was to reduce the number of uninsured citizens. According to the Washington Post, in comparison to 2013, there are over 8.8 million insured individuals, dropping the rate of the uninsured from 13.3% to below 10%. This, however, is not enough to keep President Trump from repealing (or at least trying to) Obamacare.

According to CNN, both President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have said that repealing and replacing Obamacare is a legislative priority. In an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes”, Trump repeats just that, claiming that his new plan would offer greater health care for less money. Is this true? Does Trump have concrete plans, or is he just misleading the public in order to repeal the act that has helped millions? That is the questions most Americans are asking.

So far, both the senate and the House have passed measures that aim to remove the penalty for not having health insurance and the mechanics of providing subsidies to qualified families and individuals to help reduce the cost of a health plans. Legislators are currently floating proposals that would replace Obamacare, going for the “replace-then-repeal” approach. But can they come up with something better? Although Obamacare has done little to reduce the overall cost of health insurance, it has allowed qualified families and individuals with insurance they would not be able to afford otherwise. It has ensured that people with pre-existing conditions are still able to get insured and treated without paying enormous out-of-pocket costs. Pleading families and individuals have taken to the internet in order to voice their concerns about the repeal. Countless of individuals on Twitter and other social media platforms have posted pictures of their insurance and medical bills, highlighting how much lower their costs are because of Obamacare. The public is fighting back, but will it be enough to stop Trump in his tracks?

The next few months are crucial, as they will determine whether the Trump administration will simply reform the ACA, or repeal it entirely and start fresh. Trump has proven himself a detriment, already removing the Civil Rights and the LGBTQ pages from the White House website and halting a reduction to the annual mortgage insurance premiums. Will the complete removal of Obamacare be next on his list?


Further Readings:

The Success of the Affordable Care Act is a Hugely Inconvenient Truth for its Opponents

US Patients Await Obamacare’s Fate

What to Know About the Future of Obamacare