As a part of the Wisconsin Union Directorate’s Distinguished Lecture Series and Wisconsin Alumni Student Board’s “All-Campus Party Week,” rapper Michael “Killer Mike” Render spoke about how systemic racism stems from targeted-policing and fractured government systems. 

Killer Mike is a grammy-award winning artist and member of hip-hop group Run the Jewels. Killer Mike is known by his nickname because he reportedly “kills it at the mic,” a reference to his skills as a rapper.

Race, Killer Mike said, is the U.S.’s class system. Because of this system, some people, specifically minorities, are left behind while other individuals benefit from it.

Killer Mike said this is seen most visibly in the case of policing, where minorities face excessive force and brutality. To help alleviate this problem, Killer Mike advocated for community-based policing. He said through education and communication, individuals can work toward these issues that have become increasingly prevalent in the U.S.

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“A policeman that is not from a certain community has no business policing that community,” Killer Mike said.

In addition to targeting police brutality, Killer Mike also said the entire system in the U.S. is “broken.” Factors such as underpaid and underappreciated public servants, a lack of intergroup communication and ignorance with regards to race are largely to blame for this broken system.

To fix this broken system and to alleviate ignorance with regards to race, there needs to be communication with one’s neighbors, Killer Mike said.

“An uninformed mind stays ignorant, and ignorance is the breeding ground for violence and bullshit,” Killer Mike said.

Another solution is challenging the pre-existing system in one’s everyday actions, Killer Mike said. These decisions come from humans as consumers in supporting corporations that violate human rights.

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Everyone has to challenge the system in order for anything to change, Killer Mike said.

“We can choose to stay the course and assure our own destruction, or we can say ‘stop’ and that [systemic racism] isn’t working,” Killer Mike said. “That power ultimately lies with us, all of us.”