The Impact of Race and Racism on Politics and Policies

Race and racism have had a significant impact on politics and policies throughout history. In this article, we will explore the historical and present-day effects of race and racism on politics and policies. We will also discuss how racism affects different aspects of society, including healthcare, education, and criminal justice.


Race has been a divisive issue in politics for centuries, with politicians often exploiting racial tensions to gain support from certain groups of people. Racist policies have been used to suppress minority groups and maintain power for the dominant group. Racism affects different areas of society in different ways, and it is crucial to understand its impact to address its harmful effects.

Historical Context

Slavery and its Legacy

The United States was built on the backs of enslaved Africans who were brought to the country to work on plantations. The legacy of slavery and segregation continues to impact the country to this day. Jim Crow laws and redlining are just two examples of how systemic racism has been used to oppress black people in the United States.

Civil Rights Movement

The civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s brought about significant changes to laws and policies that discriminated against black people. However, racism still exists today, and it has evolved to take on new forms, such as mass incarceration and the school-to-prison pipeline.

Racism in Politics

Racial Dog Whistles

Politicians use coded language, also known as racial dog whistles, to appeal to voters’ racial prejudices. These dog whistles can be subtle or blatant and are used to evoke emotional responses from voters.

Voter Suppression

Voter suppression is the intentional effort to prevent certain groups of people from voting. This is often done by implementing policies that disproportionately affect minorities, such as strict voter ID laws or reducing the number of polling places in predominantly black neighborhoods.


Gerrymandering is the practice of redrawing electoral districts to give one party an advantage over the other. This is often done by packing minority voters into one district to dilute their voting power or spreading them out to make it harder for them to have a meaningful impact on the election.

Racism in Policies


Racism affects healthcare in several ways, including access to care, quality of care, and health outcomes. People of color are more likely to be uninsured, receive lower-quality care, and experience worse health outcomes than white people.


Racism affects education through policies that disproportionately affect minority students, such as underfunding of schools in predominantly black neighborhoods and the school-to-prison pipeline. This pipeline refers to the process by which students are pushed out of school and into the criminal justice system.

Criminal Justice

Racism in the criminal justice system is well documented, with people of color being disproportionately represented at every stage of the system, from arrest to sentencing. Racist policies such as mandatory minimums and three-strikes laws have contributed to the mass incarceration of black people in the United States.

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