Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza commented on systemic racism over the weekend, saying that despite some progress racism "is everywhere, it's almost like the air we breathe."
Garcia was speaking with MSNBC's Ali Velshi about the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden and what she and other activists expected. In a previous conversation, Garcia told Velshi she wanted to see Biden tackle: an uprooting of racism in every aspect of daily life, the reallocation of resources and the strengthing of oversight measures for law enforcement agencies.
"Let's talk about that first one, uprooting racism in policing," Velshi said. "You made a really good point the other day. This is racism. It's not the same as bad cops."
"So here's the thing about uprooting systemic racism, one it's everywhere. It's almost like the air we breathe," Garza replied. "So that is why we have to actually know what we're looking for in order to not just diagnose the problem but to address it."
She added that racism is about rules that have been manipulated to give power to one group over another.
"That is why we have such deep racial inequities when you look at health care, when you look at education... policing and law enforcement," she said. "It is because there are rules and policies that are being enforced that actually hold up these disparities."
Garza said she focused on the issue because of the nationwide racial reckoning and protests seen last year after the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody.
"We have not gone far enough," Garza said. "Consciousness is good but changing rules and making new and better ones is even better."
She also commented on the defund the police movement, which calls for the diversion of some police funds to community programs and for greater accountability for police officers.
"I'm just simply making the argument that the words are not complicated," she said. "Police in this country actually have more rights than civilians do. Also, police budgets and military budgets in this country are incredibly bloated and at the same time we have .. schools that are underresourced."