ough it is constantly present during policy formation and implementation, during trials and sentencing, and during curriculum development and funding initiatives, the power of this form of racism is that it has worked its way into the very foundations of every institution, becoming entrenched in every process until it has been rendered invisible.
Its presence is known, but avenues to fight against institutionalized racism are strictly curtailed by the argument of those in power that racism no longer exists. Racism today is more cunning and sly, appearing in posters depicting “Asian” car bombs dropping on America and politicians who weave racist rhetoric into public speeches. In the end, it is argued that systemic racism is far more difficult to dismantle than overt racism because it is present for minorities at every step in the upward trajectory to success.
An example of systemic racism is the “model minorities” theory which posits that certain ethnic groups are more likely to become successful due to genetic qualities that are particular to their culture. Deborah Woo elaborates on this theory by stating that these differences are perceived as natural and innate, and seen as the real cause of social inequality between ethnic groups (194). For example, because of the perceived success of Asian Americans versus the perceived lack of success of African Americans in the United States, “model minorities” theory suggest that these differences between the two ethnic groups are a result of personal flaws and faults, rather than institutionalized disadvantages and biographical advantages. In this regard, the dominant group shifts blame from “us” to “them” in the process of victim-blaming, in which the marginalized group is held accountable for their own problems.