BLM What do systems have to do with race?

Culture is created by design, or by default. One thing is for certain though — it is created systematically. Racism is the system, time to redesign.

Juliana, you do systems – right? explain how racism is the system please.

Remember when your systems were a little screwy (no shame here – it happens to the best of us) and it made you feel suuuuper uncomfortable?

It didn’t let you fall asleep at night.

If you got another client, another request, or another “common sense” interruption, your system might break.
Or, you might kill someone (figuratively).

I often preach, “When you put off working on your systems to the back burner, that’s the stuff that will burn the house down!”

Our system is broken and these streets are on fire, literally

While sipping coffee in NY on a beautiful pandemic morning, I got a DM from a Jamaican friend, with this image, confused AF yet curious to know what systems had to do with race.

I responded:  
Our defaults, our patterns of behavior are systematic.
They are molded by our beliefs.
The collection of habits and behaviors create our processes.
Those processes build the infrastructures that now become the system.



automated/systematic actions


systemic behaviors/processes


the infrastructure that is the system

Que Que?
Okay, that was a mouthful.
Let’s get a little less abstract.

  • Jada Doe values keeping mother nature happy. (beliefs)
  • She creates personal habits that reflect this and ripples to all parts of her life. (systematic actions)
  • JD has a paperless business with all green practices based on her values and beliefs that hires and produces eco-friendly people and products. (systemic processes)
  • Eco-friendly sustainability becomes the default state of practices and outcomes based on the infrastructure Jada has created. (her system)

Jada has ensured that every input to every process of her operation is sustainable and therefore all outputs are designed to lower the carbon footprint.

This is why when building a system, I tell my clients to ALWAYS cross-reference your values and beliefs with your decisions, because:

Culture is created by design or by default
Either way, it will get created systematically

Systemic Racism refers to HOW society operates:  the system disproportionately harms people of certain races regardless of whether there are racists in the system or not.

When the default practices formed by conscious and unconscious racial bias create our social infrastructure, it allows for a system that  leads to:

  • voter suppression
  • unequal school/ employment housing
  • lack of any true wealth creation practices
  • million-dollar blocks
  • school to prison pipelines that makes me want to cry
  • list goes on…& on…

That is our system

When something is wrong with the output.

Then something is wrong with the system.

Then you know,


Business operations consultant Juliana Marulanda
Juliana Marulanda is a business operations expert, speaker, and the founder of ScaleTime. With over 20 years of experience across Wall Street, the non-profit sector, technology startups, and family-owned businesses, she now helps service-based businesses.