Racism Understanding Racism Undoing Racism Racism and Faith Educational Resources
Understanding Racism • Individual attitudes and behavior • Institutional practices and procedures • Structural policies and patterns • Who benefits?
Paradigms / Conceptions of Race • Biological/genetic • Cultural “ethnicity” • Structural/materialist
Defining Race • A population considered different because of physical characteristics • A social construct, an epiphenomenon with little or no scientific justification • However, “race” has enduring social significance
Defining Racism • A system of racially conferred -- and denied • Privilege • Advantage • Benefits • Status • Racism: a defense of racial privilege
Distinguish BetweenPersonal Prejudice and Personal ActsversusSystemic and InstitutionalPreferences for Whites
Individual Racism • Discrimination Model • Victim/perpetrator • Prejudice (bad actor / bad apple) • Intent (purpose and motive)
Institutional Racism • Recognizes that racism need not be individualist or intentional • Institutional and cultural practices can perpetuate race inequality without relying on racist actors
But if Fewer People of Color Can Afford to Attend Private Schools, College and Graduate Schools Is that Racism?
Structural Racism • Attention to inter-institutional arrangements and interactions • Structure: “the arrangement or interrelation of all the parts of a whole” (Webster’s Dictionary)
Flip side of stark racial disparities • White privilege: • The reality of unearned advantage, conferred dominance, and invisible privilege enjoyed by white Americans, to the detriment, burden and disadvantage of people of color. • the reality that in U.S. society “there are opportunities which are afforded whites that people of color simply do not share.”
We have long since grown accustomed to thinking of Blacks as being “racially disadvantaged.”Harlon Dalton
Rarely, however, do we refer to Whites as “racially advantaged,” even though that is an equally apt characterization of the existing inequality. Harlon Dalton
Racism enters into every sphere of social relations • Economic exploitation • Military subjugation • Political subordination • Cultural devaluation • Psychological violation • Sexual degradation • Verbal abuse • Racism: a defense of racial privilege
Racism is “a whole of interacting and developing processes which operate so normally and naturally and are so much a part of the existing institutions of society that the individuals involved are barely conscious of their operation”James Boggs, Racism and the Class Struggle 147-148.
HISTORYRacism has been part of the social fabric of America since its European colonization.Whether it be the tragic past of the Native Americans, the Mexicans, the Puerto Ricans, or the blacks, the story is one of slavery, peonage, economic exploitation, brutal repression, and cultural neglect. None have escaped one or another form of collective degradation by a powerful majority.
Because the Courts have eliminated statutory racial discrimination and Congress has enacted civil rights legislation, and because some minority people have achieved some measure of success, many people believe that racism is no longer a problem in American life.
The continuing existence of racism becomes apparent when we look beneath the surface of our national life.
Education?• African-Americans receive more and tougher disciplinary action than their white counterparts, even for the same infraction.• Drop-out rate is far higher than their white counterparts' rate.
Blacks comprise 13 percent of the national population, but 30 percent of people arrested, 41 percent of people in jail. Human Rights Watch:Incarceration and Race
Undoing Racism: Moving Beyond • Beyond “polite behavior” • Beyond “intentionality” to results • Beyond our “comfort zones” Start “at home” and look more deeply within the worlds around us
Start with the understanding that racism is “hard-wired” into our society and institutions.It is like the electric wires in the walls,or the plumbing, or the air and heat ductwork. Invisible. Important. Always There. It is a life-long struggle for justice.
Structural Racism Directs Us to Examine the Way the Wires (Institutions) Are Interconnected
6 Stages of Becoming Anti-Racist Institutions • Exclusive Segregation • Passive “Club” • Symbolically “ Multicultural” • Anti-racist identity • Structurally transforming institution • Fully inclusive transformed society
Stage 1 Exclusive Segregated Institution • Intentional exclusion • Enforce racist status quo • Formal policies institutionalize racism • Usually also excludes other oppressed groups
Stage 2 Passive “Club” Institution • Tolerant of limited # of “proper” people • Secret limits despite public policies • Intentional maintenance of white privilege through policies, decisions • “We don’t have a problem”
Stage 3 Symbolic ChangeA Multicultural Institution • “Multicultural” policies • “non racist” open self identity • Intentional inclusivity “recruiting” • Expanding view of diversity BUT • Little or no change in culture, policies • Unaware of continuing patterns