The mayor of Bristol says every major UK organisation suffers from institutional racism.
Marvin Rees said it should not have been a shock his own council was found to have a racism issue because organisations "reflect wider society".
In July, Bristol City Council admitted it was institutionally racist and needed to take drastic action.
The mayor's comments came during a Facebook live broadcast where he was accused of ignoring the issue.
After the institutional racism finding a series of recommendations, including the need for positive action when recruiting, were accepted by Bristol City Council.
But in this week's Facebook Live event city resident Abs Ali asked Mr Rees: "What changes have you made since Bristol City Council was found to be institutional racist?
"Based on my experience and others, institutional racism and Islamophobia is rife."
The mayor replied: "That is the world. It's a racially-unequal world.
"There is no institution in this country that is free of institutional racism - and there never has been because they reflect wider society.
"There was no shocking moment when the council was found to be institutionally racist.
"It's in our economy, it's in our politics. It is rife."
Mr Rees said the 2017 Runnymede Report found Bristol was the seventh-worst city in which to be born black.
"We are a city of inequalities. We have led the city to a point where it faces up to that," he said.
He added 150 people from underrepresented groups had taken part in the council's Stepping Up programme, aimed at improving leadership diversity, of which a "very significant number" had achieved promotions.
Mr Rees said another scheme was aimed at helping Somali women while the authority's work on domestic violence and youth violence targeted specific communities.