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Race, Racism and Anti-Racism

The subjects of Race, Racism, and Anti-Racism are complex and intersectional. This guide is designed to provide basic information and links for those who want to explore the topics to gain a deeper understanding of these subjects.


What is Racism?

Racism is an ideology of Racial domination in which the presumed biological or cultural superiority of one or more racial groups is used to justify or prescribe the inferior treatment or social position of other racial groups. 
("Sociology of Racism" from International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Science)

What Does Racism Look Like? 

Microaggressions -- Racial Microaggressions are commonplace verbal or behavioral indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults often race-based.

Color Blindness -- Colorblindness is the racial ideology that posits the best way to end discrimination is by treating individuals as equally as possible, without regard to race, culture, or ethnicity. This not only amounts to a dismissal of the lived experiences of people of color but also suggests that racism does not exist so long as one ignores it. At face value, colorblindness seems like a good thing -- actually living up to Dr. King's ideal of judging people on the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. However, colorblindness alone is not sufficient to combat racism or heal racial wounds on a national or personal level. It is only a half measure that, in the end, operates as a form of racism. (From


What is an Anti - Racism?

Anti-racism can be any strategies, theories, actions, and practices that challenge and counter racism, inequalities, prejudices, and discrimination based on race.  In Ibram X Kendi's book, How to be an Antiracist, Kendi combines ethics, history, law, and science with a personal narrative to describe how to move beyond the awareness of racism and contribute to making society just and equitable.  In this video clip in the next box , he describes the difference between being an anti-racist as opposed to being not racist.


"The everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership. In many cases, these hidden messages may invalidate the group identity or experiential reality of target persons, demean them on a personal or group level, communicate they are lesser human beings, suggest they do not belong with the majority group, threaten and intimidate, or relegate them to inferior status and treatment."


Examples of Microaggressions

Talking about Race: National Museum of African American History & Culture.

Becoming Antiracist

This is a chart that provides examples of becoming anti-racist and some of the reactions that people have when they are in the fear zone, the learning zone, and the growth zone of their anti-racism journey. In the fear zone, people may deny that racism is a problem, avoid hard questions, strive to be comfortable, and talk to others who look and think in the same or familiar ways. In the learning zone, people may recognize racism is a present and current problem, seek out questions that make them uncomfortable, understand their own privilege in ignoring racism, educate themselves about race and structural racism, become vulnerable about biases and knowledge gaps, and listen to others who think and look differently. In the growth zone, people may identify how they may unknowingly benefit from racism, promote and advocate for policies and leaders that are anti-racist, sit with discomfort, speak out when they see racism in action, educate peers about how racism harms the profession, not let mistakes deter them from being better, yield positions of power to otherwise marginalized, and surround themselves with others who think and look differently than themselves.


Click Here for a downloadable high-resolution of this graphic.


Structural / Systemic Racism



Institutional Racism

Systematic Racism Explained

A brief explanation of system racism, its effects, and what you can do about it.

Duration: 5 minutes

"In a Racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist we must be antiracist."

- Angela Davis, Political Activist

Implicit Bias

A brief explanation of implicit bias and its effects.

Duration: 3 minutes

How to Overcome Our Biases? Walk Boldly Toward Them

Diversity advocate Vernā Myers looks closely at some of the subconscious attitudes we hold toward out-groups.

Duration: 18 minutes

How To Be An Antiracist (1:51)

Professor Ibram X. Kendi briefly explains the concept behind his book, "How To Be An Antiracist."

Duration: 2 minutes

Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man

A series of "uncomfortable conversations" between author and former professional football player Emmanuel Acho and guests about racism, systemic racism, and social injustice. Guests include Matthew McConaughey, Chip & Joanna Gaines, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Click Here to access the 12 episode series.