Column: Privilege prevents people from seeing systemic racism

Gillian Eubanks

Recently I received an email concerning a previous column I had written on Black Lives Matter. I appreciate any feedback and this person sharing their opinion with me even though their opinion was opposite of mine. Everyone is entitled to their opinion as granted by our Constitution. Though, I’d like to address one specific issue; they said systemic racism doesn’t exist.

This is a rose-colored glasses and white perspective to have. For one, the only people who can say that systemic racism doesn’t exist are white people because white people aren’t affected the same way. Our country’s systems are meant to benefit white people.

Also, white people don’t get a say in this. We do not get a say on whether structural racism exists or any related topic. We don’t experience it. If you’re white and still ignorant to this, please educate yourself. Educate yourself and be an ally. We actually have the opportunity to use the privilege that we do not deserve and should not have to help minorities and make changes.

Today though, I’ll educate you on health disparities. By educating whoever’s reading this, I believe it may open some people’s eyes and also prove that structural racism exists.

Health disparities affect racial and ethnic minorities and cause them to face higher rates of mortality, be at a higher risk for diseases and have less access to healthcare. There are many other disadvantages these discrepancies cause for minorities.

Also, there are social determinants of health which are things like someone’s environment, level of/access to education, job, etc., and these play crucial roles in everyone’s health. These factors can either have a positive or negative effect, though they affect minorities more than the majority.

The CDC reported in an article entitled “Health Equity Considerations and Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups” that “systematic health and social inequalities” have put minorities at high risk for getting COVID and possibly dying from it. This is an example of a health disparity.

According to an article written by Ruqaiijah Yearby on the topic of structural racism and health disparities, our government has acknowledged there are social factors that cause racial inequalities and also cause a lack of resources that result in health inconsistencies.

I hope this is enough proof for you to understand that structural racism is very real. If not, I recommend looking health disparities up.

Our government knows this is happening, but they don’t acknowledge that it is because of their system nor do they do anything about it. Just like every other actual important issue that should be addressed. I hope that this has enlightened any white person who still believes they don’t have privilege.


Gillian Eubanks junior health communications major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]