Ben and Jerry’s Newest Flavor: Exposing Systematic Racism

Takier George '20, Staff Writer

In Ben and Jerry’s 7 Ways We Know Systematic Racism is Real, they outline how racism is built into different levels of society: wealth, employment, education, criminal justice, housing, surveillance, and healthcare. Ben and Jerry’s is spearheading a movement to bring awareness to social injustices, which Black people have to face in their everyday lives. The fact that an ice cream company is acknowledging the imbalance of power caused by racial differences, rather than the Branches of the U.S. Government, says a lot about why our society functions the way that it does.

Being black makes you a target in America, whether you’ve done something or not.”

Ben and Jerry’s says that systematic racism is “racism that infects the very structure of our society.” Many people like to preserve their opinion that racism ended along time ago when segregation did. It’s 2019, and racism is still present in our society. What those same people fail to realize is that segregation ended in 1954, which was only sixty-five years ago. Many of us have family members that lived through segregation. Ask them how much better they think America has gotten in that short time span.

Ben and Jerry’s does a great job at showing their audience how economical social injustice is present in today’s society, and at appalling rates. They said that “for every $100 white families earn in income, black families earn just $57.30.” They make it very clear that when compared to African American families, white families are controlling the wealth.

The ice cream company goes on to say that, “blacks with college degrees are twice as likely to be unemployed as all other graduates.” Even when deserving, it’s obvious that a minority is given less of a chance to prevail, and has to work harder for that slim chance. Ben and Jerry’s says that this “may be because, as one study found, job applicants with white-sounding names get called back about 50% more of the time than applicants with black-sounding names, even when they have identical resumes.” Pundit Fact said that “the names DeShawn, Tyrone, Reginald, Shanice, Kiara, Deja and Precious were very popular black names”, while “names such as Connor, Cody, Jake, Molly, Emily, Abigail and Caitlin were way more popular for white children.” This is the type of discrimination that lives on to this day.

Black people are set up to fail from the beginning, and this can start as early as preschool. Ben and Jerry’s says that “black children constitute 18% of preschoolers nationwide, they make up nearly 50% of suspensions.” Being three times more likely to be suspended, for being black… something that you can’t control doesn’t give you the best reputation, and sets up for even worse life expectations. Even as children, racism still surrounds. We are supposed to be the future, but we are still living with the ideals of the past.

The criminal justice system is probably where you hear about the most systematic racism. Yes, if you do the crime, you should do the time, but the amount of time that you do should not depend on your skin color. Ben and Jerry’s says that “if a black person and a white person each commit a crime, the black person has a better chance of being arrested, [and] black people are convicted more often than white people.” This is the sad truth. This is our justice system.

Being black makes you a target in America, whether you’ve done something or not.

These are just some of the social injustices black people have to go through on a day to day basis. Ben and Jerry’s continued on to highlight injustices found in housing, surveillance, and healthcare. To read more, click here.

It’s time America wakes up to this systematic racism, and take action.