Understanding the Basics
Racism describes a system of power and oppression/advantage and disadvantage based on race. Structural racism is a system, or series of systems, in which institutional practices, laws, policies, social- cultural standards, and socio-political decisions establish and reinforce norms that perpetuate racial group inequities. Within the context of the United States of America and other nations, structural racism takes the form of white supremacy; the preferential treatment, privilege, power, access, networks, and access to opportunities available to white people, which often designate communities of color to chronic adverse outcomes.
Individual racism refers to a person’s racist assumptions, beliefs, or behaviors. Individual racism stems from conscious and unconscious bias and is reinforced by structural racism.
Implicit bias refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. These are mental shortcuts that help us more easily make sense of our incredibly complex world. These biases, which encompass both favorable and unfavorable assessments, are activated involuntarily and without an individual’s awareness or intentional control. These associations develop over the course of a lifetime beginning at a very early age through exposure to direct and indirect messages.
We all have implicit biases, no matter our identities and regardless of how educated we are on the topic. These biases manifest themselves in ways that have impacts we may not desire.
Steps to Becoming Anti-Racist
Adapted from WhereChangeStarted.com
Recognizing racism and privileges exists is the start. We all have to play an active role in interrogating systems, question our own behaviors and actively work to become anti-racist.
Develop a deep understanding of race and white supremacy so that you are able to recognize the complexities of white supremacy in any form. This stage is critical to disrupt the cycle.
This can be uncomfortable because of the often unconscious nature of racism, but is important to spend time reflecting on you, your actions, beliefs and comfort level in situations. Instituting tools of accountability is important to ensure you stop racist behaviors.
Leverage your position of leadership and influence to encourage others to do work around becoming an anti-racist. This process includes elevating the contributions, scholarship and experiences of people of color.
Attempting to do this part of the work without accomplishing the first three stages is how you end up harming communities of color with white saviorism, performative allyship, and more (which is just your garden variety of white supremacy to begin with).
- The 1619 Project: America Slavery
- What is racism? Racism Defined
- The Subtle Linguistics of Polite White Supremacy
- Civil-Rights Protests Have Never Been Popular
Understanding Implicit Bias
- White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
- Welcome To The Anti-Racism Movement — Here’s What You’ve Missed
- White Fragility and the Rules of Engagement
- How to be an Anti-Racist. Ibram X Kendi.
- Women, Race, & Class. Angela Y. Davis
- The Souls of Black Folk. W.E.B. Du Bois
- No Tea, No Shade. New Writings in Black Queer Studies. E. Patrick Johnson.
- Me and White Supremacy. Layla F. Saad
- Just Mercy. Bryan Stevenson
- Blackballed: The Black and White Politics of Race on America's Campuses. Lawrence Ross.
- White Fragility by Robin Diangelo
- Three Myths About Racism, Candis Watts Smith
- How To Deconstruct Racism, One Headline At A Time, Baratunde Thurston
- How Studying Privilege Systems Can Strengthen Compassion, Peggy McIntosh
- Ibram X Kendi on the Solution for America’s “Metastatic” Racism, Ibram X. Kendi
- Danger of Silence, Clint Smith III
- The Urgency of Intersectionality, Kimberle Crenshaw