If we need incontrovertible evidence of a chronic threat to American democracy, then we need not look any farther than institutionalized racism manifesting itself in the police enforcement, judicial and penal systems. This is not to say that there is no evidence of racism when we analyze socioeconomic indicators from unemployment and income distribution to housing, health and education statistics. It would be false to argue that there has been no progress since the 1960s. However, it would equally wrong to argue that institutionalized racism is not a 21st century challenge for American democracy. Regardless of the Bill of Rights, amendments to the Constitution, the Civil Rights movement, and of course political correctness intended to provide a thin veil of superficial politeness beneath which rests an apartheid mindset, racism remains an institutional problem.
The absence of political will to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment from the end of the Civil War until the early 1960s meant that it was not until the Johnson administration that the courts finally began to impose the law, and then only selectively and on-case-by-case depending on the court. The numerous court cases and millions of dollars paid to victims of civil rights violations have yet to stop either the police or any other entity public or private from overlooking the law with regard to race. Despite a black US president and a Justice Department with minority leadership from 2008 until 2016, the militarist-racist culture in police departments around America is clearly manifested in its treatment of minorities, especially black males. Targeting minorities by police and the methods often used is a reflection on the entire democratic system and the collapse of the Constitutional protections afforded to citizens. Recorded visual and audio evidence of police methods notwithstanding, and police and court records clearly showing deliberate targeting of minorities, government at all levels from local and state to federal have done nothing to change the culture of racism, thus sending the message that democracy must be subordinated to police-state methods that violate the law of the land.