Letters to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

These past few years have seen an increase in the coverage of police brutality against people of color in the United States. The deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray and numerous others have incited outrage in many parts of the nation.

Some people, both on and off campus, view these instances of abuse of people of color by those in power as isolated, unrelated events. The outrage, however, felt by many Americans points itself not at these individual events but, instead, at the larger system of institutionalized racism indicated by these events. In all aspects of life, the United States’s laws and culture disadvantage people of color, making it harder for them to obtain success.

A report in 2004 on structural racism by Keith Lawrence, a Senior Fellow at the Aspen Institute Roundtable on Community Change, and Terry Keleher, Director of the Midwest Office of the Applied Research Center, defines institutional racism as “discriminatory treatment, unfair policies and inequitable opportunities and impacts, based on race, produced and perpetuated by institutions (schools, mass media, etc.).” This report also states that “individuals within institutions take on the power of the institution when they act in ways that advantage and disadvantage people, based on race.”

Housing, education, healthcare and the legal system are just some of the areas in which decades of discrimination and segregation still negatively impact people of color today. In many cases, such oppression is cyclical; the disadvantages felt by people of color only serve to strengthen the existing institutions of racism.

As many of us at Andover will likely go on to become leaders in various fields, it is important that we understand the tremendous harm that institutional racism inflicts. Simply put, our community hasn’t given enough thought and discussion toward institutionalized racism and its insidious effects. As a result, as a student body, we are ill-prepared to counter this form of oppression as we look ahead to life after Andover.

Thus, our goal in writing this series of articles has been to educate the larger community about institutionalized racism and initiate discussion on this issue. We would like to educate the Andover community on the deep roots of institutionalized racism, along with the far-reaching effects it carries.

Those listed below are just the beginning; we hope that many others join our cause. We do have the power to make the “American Dream” less of a myth and more of a reality for all, but it all starts now.

Roshan Benefo ’16
Miles Harris ’16
Joshua Jordan ’16
Isabella Oliva ’16
James Taylor ’16

Alba Disla ’15
Culver Duquette ’15
Ryder Garnsey ‘15
Andrew Grottkau ’15
David Gutierrez ’15
Charlie Jarvis ’15
Won Woo Kim ’15
Matt Osborn ’15
Thea Rossman ’15
Kailash Sundaram ’15
Dane Wagner ’15
Julia Zell ’15
Peder Bakken ’16
Alessa Cross ’16
Taylor Crutison ’16
Rohan Dixit ’16
Fadzi Gambiza ’16
Avery Jonas ’16
Samantha Lin ’16
Carlos Mendez ’16
Joel Peña ’16
Alex-Maree Roberts ’16
Ashley Scott ’16
Justin Williamson ’16
Mahlet Ayana ’17
Alice Ballard Rossiter ’17
Brandon Barros ’17
Rahmel Dixon ’17
Lydia Fikru ’17
JayShawn Fuller ’17
Ally Klionsky ’17
Luc Lampietti ’17
Eudy Lopez ’17
Soleil Miller ‘17
Joe Okafor ’17
Daphnie Ordonez ’17
Luis Orozco ‘17
Rosie Poku ’17
Bennett Sherr ’17
Anneke Sherry ’17
Jair Suazo ’17
Myioshi Williams ’17
Abdu Donka ’18
Bailey Colón ’18

Editor’s Note: Roshan Benefo ’16, Alessa Cross ’16 and Avery Jonas ’16 are members of The Phillipian editorial board and Kailash Sundaram ’15 was a Sports Editor for The Phillipian, vol. CXXXVII.