To end systemic racism and create an inclusive society, we have to better understand the history and the terms. Here are some definitions, resources and discussion questions compiled by JMU Civic Democracy Fellows Ethan Gardner, Ryan Ritter and Anna Connole. We welcome suggestions and additions and will continue to update.
- Racist Idea: “any concept that regards one racial group as inferior or superior to another racial group in any way” (Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped from the Beginning, pg. 5, 2016)
- Anti-Black Racism (It’s important that we are aware that racism impacts racial groups differently): “Anti-Black racism is prejudice, attitudes, beliefs, stereotyping or discrimination that is directed at people of African descent and is rooted in their unique history and experience of enslavement and colonization.” Centre for Global Citizenship Education and Inclusion at Centennial College
- Institutional Racism: “Institutional racism is distinguished from the explicit attitudes or racial bias of individuals by the existence of systematic policies or laws and practices that provide differential access to goods, services and opportunities of society by race. Institutional racism results in data showing racial gaps across every system. For children and families it affects where they live, the quality of the education they receive, their income, types of food they have access to, their exposure to pollutants, whether they have access to clean air, clean water or adequate medical treatment, and the types of interactions they have with the criminal justice system.” University of North Carolina
- What is Systemic Racism, in 8 videos.
- Breaking down prejudice, discrimination, and racism (Robin DiAngelo White Fragility, pgs. 19-21, 2018):
- Prejudice: a pre-judgement about another person based on the social groups to which that person belongs.
- Discrimination: Action based on prejudice, including ignoring, exclusion, threats, ridicule, slander, and violence.
- Racism: A group’s collective prejudice when backed by the power of legal authority and institutional control. A far-reaching system that functions independently from the intentions or self-images of individual actors.
“White supremacy is a historically based, institutionally perpetuated system of exploitation and oppression of continents, nations, and peoples of color by white peoples and nations of the European continent, for the purpose of maintaining and defending systems of wealth, power, and privilege.”
Discomfort and defensiveness on the part of a white person when confronted by information about racial inequality and injustice.
Read: White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo
Inherent advantages possessed by a white person on the basis of their race in a society characterized by racial inequality and injustice.
Peggy McIntosh (1988) characterized white privilege as “an invisible package of unearned assets that [whites] can count on cashing in each day, but about which [they are] ‘meant’ to remain oblivious” (p. 291). White privilege, therefore, is the counterbalance to racism, a system that disadvantages people of color (Baumgartner & Johnson-Bailey, 2010).
China Jenkins, Addressing White Privilege in Higher Education, Houston Community College System, TX
“Anti-racism 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)
- Watch: 5 Tips on How to Be Antiracist from Ibram X. Kendi on NowThis
[Defined as] both an outcome and a process. As an outcome, we achieve racial equity when race no longer determines one’s socioeconomic outcomes; when everyone has what they need to thrive, no matter where they live. As a process, we apply racial equity when those most impacted by structural racial inequity are meaningfully involved in the creation and implementation of the institutional policies and practices that impact their lives.
Center for Social Inclusion
Includes all the way in which people differ, and it encompasses all the different characteristics that make one individual or group different from another. It is all-inclusive and recognizes everyone and every group as part of the diversity that should be valued. A broad definition includes not only race, ethnicity, and gender—the groups that most often come to mind when the term “diversity” is used—but also age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, martial status, language, and physical appearance. It also involves different ideas, perspectives and values.
UC Berkeley Center for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity
Inclusion is involvement and empowerment, where the inherent worth and dignity of all people are recognized. An inclusive university promotes and sustains a sense of belonging; it values and practices respect for the talents, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of living of its members. -Ferris State University
“The act of creating environments in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate. An inclusive and welcoming climate embraces differences and offers respect in words and actions for all people. […] While an inclusive group is by definition diverse, a diverse group isn’t always inclusive. Increasingly, recognition of unconscious or ‘implicit bias’ helps […] to be deliberate about addressing issues of inclusivity.” (Independent Sector, 2016)
Social justice means equal rights, opportunity and treatment for all.
“Racial justice is a proactive reinforcement of policies, practices, attitudes, and actions that produce equitable power, access, opportunities, treatment, impacts and outcomes for all.”
Racial Justice Conference, March 2012
Reparations always involves a truthful reckoning with history. Beyond that, it might refer to a government-run program to repair historic injustice or to specifically nongovernmental probes into historic injustices, to a one time attempt to settle a communal grievance or an open-ended process of discovery, repair, and compensation with no foreseeable conclusion. And it might or might not involve direct payment to descendants of slaves.
Prejudice stemming from the intersections of racist ideas and other forms of bigotry, such as sexism, classism, ethnocentrism, and homophobia.
“Refers to the focus on the barriers specific groups face in their struggle for equality … but any gains we have made thus far have come through identity politics”
DiAngelo, White Fragility, 2018, pg. xiii
- Antiracism in Action from the JMU Libraries (free access to books and media)
- Scaffolded Anti-Racist Resources
- Shareable Antiracism Guide
- Antiracism Resources for White People
- 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice
- For Our White Friends Desiring to be Allies from Sojourners
- Talking About Race from Smithsonian
- What changes in our daily lives can individuals make to be an antiracist?
- How do we build sustainable collective action to change racist systems that surround us?
- What are important policy changes that individuals can advocate to advance racial justice?
- What responsibility does JMU and other institutions of higher education have to support anti-racist efforts in our community?
- How has JMU and other institutions of higher education contributed to racism and white supremacy?
- What steps can JMU and other institutions of higher education take to eliminate policies and practices have that contributed to racial inequities on campus and beyond?
- How can JMU and other institutions of higher education hold themselves to a higher standard when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion?
- How should JMU and other institutions of higher education address the issue of campus buildings named for slave-owners and prominent racists?