Skip to main content Picture of books

Systemic Racism: Home

 

 

 

Racism is Wrong image

About this Guide

This guide is a work in progress, and suggestions are welcomed. Some of the material and structure used in this guide was based on the following:

Some Definitions

Anti-racism: It is the active process of identifying and eliminating racism by changing systems, organizational structures, policies and practices and attitudes, so that power is redistributed and shared equitably (NAC International Perspectives: Women and Global Solidarity).

Intersectionality: Coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, it is the theory that the overlap of various social identities (such as race, gender, sexuality, and class) contributes to the specific type of systemic oppression and discrimination experienced by an individual, and define how one is valued.

Institutional or Systemic Racism: refers specifically to the ways in which institutional policies and practices create different outcomes for different racial groups. The institutional policies may appear neutral on the surface but have an exclusionary impact on particular groups - their effect is to create advantages for white people and oppression and disadvantage for people from groups classified as non-white (Racial Equality Resource).

Historical Trauma: first coined by Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart, it is “a constellation of characteristics associated with massive cumulative group trauma across generations.” These experiences, shared by communities, can result in cumulative emotional and psychological wounds that are carried across generations (University of Minnesota Extension).

Lived Experience: used to describe the first-hand accounts and impressions of living as a member of a minority or oppressed group (Geek Feminist Wiki).

Racism: a complex system of beliefs and behaviors, grounded in a presumed superiority of the white race. These beliefs and behaviors are conscious and unconscious; personal and institutional; and result in the oppression of people of color and benefit the dominant group, white people. A simpler definition is racial prejudice + power = racism (National Conference for Community and Justice).

Whiteness: Racism is based on the concept of whiteness—a powerful fiction enforced by power and violence. ‘Whiteness,’ like ‘color' and ‘Blackness,' are essentially social constructs applied to human beings rather than veritable truths that have universal validity. Whiteness is a constantly shifting boundary separating those who are entitled to have certain privileges from those whose exploitation and vulnerability to violence is justified by their not being white (Kivel, 1996, p. 19).

White Privilege: The unquestioned and unearned set of advantages, entitlements, benefits and choices bestowed upon people solely because they are white. Generally white people who experience such privilege do so without being conscious of it (Peggy McIntosh – Racial Equality Resource

Creative Commons Image

 

Based on The Antiracist Bookshelf at the William & Mary Libraries. Used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.