If one were desirous of explaining the difference yet the inextricable link between individual racism and institutional racism one would need to look no further than the topic of housing discrimination which in my opinion tells the second chapter of the African holocaust in this country with the first chapter being the enslavement of African people. It is through a conversation about housing we find the implementation of racist policies that built and then cordoned African people to ghettos throughout this country.
The politician was a white supremacist that created the laws that governed black people into the ghettos, the developer was racist and he wanted black people far from white people, the real estate agent was a racist who wanted to prevent miscegenation, the loan folks at the bank said no loans for black neighborhoods, the federal government wasn’t backing any mortgages for black folks, white dude if he got a loan for a home in a white neighborhood – if he subleased his home to a black person – he would get penalized, the black neighborhood was zoned so a toxic waste dump could be next to it or liquor store in it, white neighborhood was zoned so not even an apartment could be built in it.
Synergistic to this institutionalized racism we find individual racists who wrote the policies and implemented them. The individuals who were the politicians, the mayors, the city councilmen, the developers, the real estate agents, the loan officers, the insurance agents, the housing association members were either a) hated blacks and believed whites were superior or b) knew the policies were wrong yet did not actively rebel against those policies to create equity. Without those individual racists and racism tolerators, we would not have seen the creation and implementation of policies that created the systemic racism we are still festering in the aftereffects of today.