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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Ethics and Systemic Racism

protesters marching against systemic racism

protesters marching against systemic racism

Nam Y. Huh/AP Photos

protesters marching against systemic racismNam Y. Huh/AP Photos

The killings of several Black Americans by law enforcement over the last several months has shined a light on the systemic nature of racism in our country. Ethics Center staff and scholars analyze the associated ethical dilemmas.


**NEW** Because I am White, my Privilege Allows me to be Silent—but Virtue Ethics Does not by Thor Wasbotten managing director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

Institutional Racism is not Inevitable—Despite Facebook’s Preferred Narrative by Anita Varma, assistant director of Journalism & Media Ethics and Social Sector Ethics 

Virtue Signaling, Implicit Bias, and the Recent Black Lives Matter Movement by Thomas G. Plante, PhD, ABPP the Augustin Cardinal Bea, SJ University Professor, professor of psychology and, by courtesy, religious studies at Santa Clara University and an adjunct clinical professor of psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine.

Medicine Must Prove that Black Lives Matter by Charles E. Binkley, director of bioethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

‘No Justice, No Peace’: Catholic Connections to a Powerful Slogan by David DeCosse, director of Religious and Catholic Ethics and Campus Ethics Programs at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

Regarding Reparations, the US Should Adhere to the Highest Standards of Justice by Brian Patrick Green, director of Technology Ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Can Technology Help us be More Empathetic? Racism, Empathy and Virtual Reality by Erick Jose Ramirez, associate professor with the Department of Philosophy at Santa Clara University.

Related Resources

How to Create Inclusive Workplaces: Lessons learned from a dialogue series bringing together business leaders and academics by Ann Skeet

The Ethical Ally by Ann Skeet

Systemic Racism, Police Brutality, and the Killing of George Floyd: Ethics Center staff and other SCU scholars address some of the key ethical dilemmas surrounding these tragedies.

Event ReplayNo Going Back: The Killing of George Floyd: A panel discussion addressing a long history of oppression, brutality, and white supremacy and the laws and reforms that are needed to drive cultural change in the U.S.. Panelists LaDoris Cordell, retired superior court judge, former independent police auditor, and advocate for improving transparency into charges of police misconduct, and Tony Williams '15,  community engagement specialist, Science Museum of Minnesota, rapper, writer, SCU alumni and Markkula Prize Winner joined moderator David DeCosse, director, Religious and Catholic Ethics and Campus Ethics Programs, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. 


Thoughts on Moving Forward from the Ethics Center

We acknowledge the history of systemic racism and white supremacy in the United States. Statements are important, but actions are critical. How we move forward will indicate our true intent and the sincerity of our respect and love for others. Recent events have provided this opportunity for growth, appreciating and embracing those in the Black community and other People of Color. The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics recognizes how privilege has been used in creating unfair and unjust systems. We can’t achieve the Common Good and Justice for all without being intentional in our actions. We understand our own limitations and need for improvement. We join all those who have committed to solidarity and to act to improve the lives of current and future generations of the Black community.

Jul 16, 2020


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