The Wire (my favorite TV Show of all time) had one lesson. Throughout the entirety of the show, all the main plots and sub plots, the heart and core of the show was that the institution always wins. You can’t beat it. The institution always protects itself. No one is bigger than it.
Sandusky and Joe Paterno couldn’t stop Penn State. Joe Pa is a figurehead and one of the main reasons that school is as nationally relevant and prominent as it is. The people who decided to fire him the way they did? Irrelevant. But the institution took care of it. The institution allowed Sandusky’s actions and Paterno’s inaction to take place. It covered it up until it couldn’t, and once it couldn’t it removed the easiest piece to remove and just kept rolling.
There are black cops and there are women cops and there are women black cops. But being a cop becomes immediately more important to them than their status before. They won’t step in to prevent sexual abuse or police brutality done to their members because that would put them at odds with the institution. We’ve seen over and over again that when a cop thinks other cops are wrong the good cop gets gone in a hurry. No matter how high up the problem goes, no matter how thoroughly corruption is exposed, the institution will protect itself.
There’s all this talk about the Democratic and Republican parties having these large internal rifts between different sects. Doesn’t matter, those institutions will protect themselves. Those two institutions together will help each other maintain the two party system more or less as it is. There’se a reason it’s been like this for so long. You can’t beat institutions.
So it’s not surprising when an editor looks over a ridiculously bad piece of writing and says to themselves “If I reject this everyone will shun me. If I don’t lose my job my working conditions here will suffer greatly. It’s going to get through anyway, so I’ll just let it slide and not out myself as a stick in the mud.” It’s not surprising when someone says “Yeah, this ad is a problem, but Ashton already did it and there’s no way I’m getting fired because I said it was racist. The white folks up top like it, so it can’t be racist to me.”
Once people get themselves inside an institution they become terrified to cross it in any real and noticeable way. Their job could become that much harder, their chance at rising up the ladder that much less. They could be fired, and more so be snuffed out of a chance to do other jobs. Fighting injustice just isn’t worth that to most people.