Equity Literacy Project


A photograph of a 1950’s style school hallway with a closed wooden double door in the distance. Two signs hang from the ceiling before the double doors that read White to the left and Colored to the right. The caption Race and Ethnicity in black text with white outline is placed beneath the photo. Photo is from the Brown vs Board of Education National Historic Site.INTRODUCTION

Contributor Name: Joseph Flynn

Between second grade and sixth grade, I was the only African-American student in my classes. Even during that era of my innocence, I could detect there were stark experiential differences between my classmates and myself. Clearly, the difference in skin color was obvious (most of my classmates were White), but it was more than optical confirmations that marked my difference. The nature and quality of my experience were challenging and I noticed many things happening to me, unlike my classmates. I oftentimes got into trouble for doing the same things my friends did that they were able to skirt disciplinary action like detentions. I noticed that we rarely learned about the presence and contributions of Indigenous Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos.

Although my family, church members, and family friends spoke of me as an intelligent and precocious child, my teachers saw me as “squirrely,” “talkative,” and “disruptive.” Overall though, the majority of my teachers in elementary school were not encouraging, helpful, or supportive. They did not extend high expectations to me as they did to my White counterparts. Over time I grew to hate school because I thought the accusations of my non-compliance were the source of my underachievement.

As I grew up and became an educator, ultimately earning a doctorate degree in education, I realized that the challenges I had in elementary school were reflective of a larger trend in the United States: the institutional marginalization of Black or African American boys and girls. Family members used to tell me, “Be careful out there; you’re not like all those White boys.” At the time I did not understand the admonition. I believed that everyone was in fact equal and as such treated equally. My young critical mind was not developed and prepared to connect the dots among curriculum, disciplinary practices, and teacher and administrator expectations, among other factors.

Equally important, I did not yet have the vocabulary to express the nature of my experience, which created another set of challenges and feelings about school. One thing that emerged as true as I reflected on my early educational experiences is that the fact of my Blackness was central to my experience and for the most part I had a team of teachers that were either racist themselves or were nescient about the challenges of students who were not White. Moreover, as I matured and shared my experiences with other Black students I realized I was not alone.

There are many terms, ideas, and theories that are essential for navigating discussions about race and racism. To be blunt, the American education system – whether through the intended curriculum or the public curriculum via media and popular culture – does not do an effective job of helping citizens, let alone teachers, understand the history, language, and current realities of how race and racism function in schools and society. In the following section, many of those essential terms will be explored. Understanding race and racism in education, like the other terms in this volume, is one of the keys to reforming the system to be more fair, equitable, and empowering for all students.


Hispanic/Latino/Latinx/Latine/South American

Contributor Name: Tony Bradburn


The beauty of language is that it evolves over time to meet the cultural needs of a community. Hispanic, Latino, Latinx, Latine, and South American are no exception.
Hispanic has a history that many argue began during the Nixon administration in order to capture some understanding of people who came from Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries yet reside in the United States. It came under question because of its connection to colonizers’ vocabulary.
Latino gained traction in its stead in order to better connect to Spanish speakers near the US border. It excludes Spain, however, so it does not capture the entirety of Spanish speakers. It also creates challenges in the community because of the letter “o” which is intended to refer to both genders but somewhat lumps females under a male umbrella–think “mankind” vs. “humankind.”
Latinx gained popularity in the United States because it uses an “x” to highlight this issue and encompass those who identify as nonbinary. It, too, has its issues connected to colonizers and a letter not easily pronounced or used in this fashion in the structure of Spanish.
Latine helps address this issue by using an “e” at the end which is a form often used in Spanish. Latine is a term with origins from South American activists. As a result, it is less US-centric and honors Spanish speakers who are uplifting important equity issues south of the US border.
South America captures the reality that not all countries south of the US border speak Spanish. As a result, this term better captures the geographic area and political realities that literally shape the identities of those in South America. However, it, too, is limited in that it does not include Central America and the Caribbean.
POC is the acronym for People of Color. It is used to identify people of color and is more accepted than minorities due to the fact that minority ushers in connotations of “less than.”  Additionally, there is a sociological challenge with minorities because POC are a world majority and are growing as a demographic in the US and will become a majority demographic group. POC became out of fashion in the community due to the fact that Black and Indigenous folks have definitive characteristics that inspire more attention.
BIPOC better captures the unique characteristics of people by adding Black and Indigenous as separate cultural groups that deserve a nuanced perspective. BIPOC, then, stands for those who are  Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and is the preferred term in this work. Diverse should not be used instead of BIPOC, for diverse simply refers to a variety of identities, White included.


Betancur, Bryan. “Why I Hate the Term “Latinx.”” Inside Higher Ed, 25 Jan. 2023, www.insidehighered.com/views/2023/01/26/why-i-hate-term-latinx-opinion.

Cantos, Michele. “A Brief Explainer on Latine and Latinx.” Hispanic Executive, 5 June 2023, hispanicexecutive.com/latinx-latine-explainer/.

Carbajal, Curator, Latin American, Iberian and Latino Studies, Paloma Celis . “From Hispanic to Latine: Hispanic Heritage Month and the Terms That Bind Us.” The New York Public Library, 20 Sept. 2020, www.nypl.org/blog/2020/09/29/hispanic-heritage-month-terms-bind-us.

king5.com. “Latino/A, Latinx or Latine? Conversation around Hispanic Identity Is Changing.” King5.com, 2022, www.king5.com/video/news/community/facing-race/latinoa-latinx-or-latine-conversation-around-hispanic-identity-is-changing/281-8ef6bd10-d545-4608-9e4d-9c6c41ecf159.

McGee, M.Ed, Vanesha. “Latino, Latinx, Hispanic, or Latine? Which Term Should You Use? | BestColleges.” Www.bestcolleges.com, 18 July 2023, www.bestcolleges.com/blog/hispanic-latino-latinx-latine/#:~:text=Latine%2C%20created%20by%20LGBTQIA%2B%20Spanish.


Student Voices

Race and Ethnicity

Predominately white institutions need to acknowledge that campus racism exists and take the proper precautions to resist all forms of discrimination. Racism on campuses prevents black students from having a sense of belonging, it creates a dangerous environment for them, can cause physiological stress, and black students aren’t given the same opportunities as white students. While some white students may attest that these acts are a way of exercising their freedom of speech, this is a form of hate crime. Faculty in these institutions need to be well educated on systematic oppression, racial awareness, cultural diversity, and racial sensitivity so that they can better help black students as well as educate their students who are more often than not, unaware of American history and our devastating past.

One major component of the racism issue on college campuses is equal opportunity. While there’s been significant progress in inequality between white and black people over time, those can seem quite small to the bigger picture. Systematic oppression is defined as the mistreatment of people within a specific group, supported and enforced by society and its institutions. Causing unequal opportunities for black people in America. Moreover, there are scholarships specifically made for black students so they will be able to obtain a college degree. Most of the time black students are first-generation students, like me, and they don’t have the proper income to afford college. Nor the proper knowledge of the application process. According to the article Scholarships for African American Students, in the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, “whites are more likely to receive merit-based scholarships, even after accounting for different enrollment rates between the demographics”. This shows just how important black scholarships are because black students don’t receive merit scholarships just as often as white students. Some white students may not be aware of this fact therefore they would see these scholarships as unfair when they are needed to have some form of fairness. The world we live in has so many racial biases, and for some black students to receive financial aid, black scholarships are needed.

Unequal opportunities are seen within college campuses repeatedly, as black students mainly face this with their peers more than anything. In many instances where a black student has experienced microaggression, discrimination, and mistreatment, their situation does not get resolved. Why should black students have to deal with racism and have it be treated like it’s trifling? One of my friends encountered an issue like this when attending a college in the Chicago area. She faced microaggressions and racism from her lacrosse teammates. Nothing happened to these teammates except being placed into higher positions within the team. When she decided to take a knee at one of the following games because of these incidents, she was told that “she wasn’t a part of the team” and “her actions were an embarrassment for the team”. Lacking to acknowledge the racism she had faced and how it affected her. Racism should not be tolerated to any extent. Another experience I can account for is in high school when some white students were using the N-word and calling a black classmate a monkey, my friend told the students to stop but they didn’t listen. One would think to tell the teacher which she did and the teacher’s response was, “I don’t think they meant it in that way”. When black students address these issues to white faculty it’s not seen as a major issue, just a tiny problem amongst peers, but what people don’t realize is the true pain and fear black students face when this happens. We don’t feel like the problems we face the everyday matter like we aren’t seen or heard. The fear we experience every day shouldn’t follow us at a school we paid so much money to attend. Students who choose to act in these ways of hatred against black students should have more punishment than a slap on the hand, those students need to be held accountable for their actions. Racism should not be seen as a form of freedom of speech when it causes so much hurt and sets us back, not moving forward to a better future for all Americans.

Predominately white institutions need to do better on racial diversity because it has become a major component of racism on campuses. A lack of racial diversity can minimize the opportunities black students have versus white students. For example, fewer black faculty and/or the lack of them in positive roles means that these don’t have mentors that can easily relate to them and for them to go on with certain issues. It’s been an idea instilled since a young age for black people, representation is important and when they don’t see people that look like them in positive roles it’s natural for them to feel like they can’t achieve great things. Once this idea is embedded into their subconscious it happens almost automatically. Let’s say a black student wants to become a college professor but all the professors they have are white. This can create the idea of them not being able to accomplish their dream because they haven’t seen anyone that looks like them in that role. But just because there are fewer black faculty on a PWI doesn’t mean black students don’t have that support system there for them. Having more black mentors or faculty on campus can make them feel like they belong. In some cases even when there’s black faculty, some black students aren’t aware of that. I think introducing freshman black students to black faculty as well as showing them what places are a safe space for them to talk about their issues and so on is necessary. Having more black faculty on these college campuses as well as showing black students the support they have would create a different atmosphere, a pro-black one. With regular faculty in these institutions, we need to educate our facility on systematic oppression, racial awareness, cultural diversity, and racial sensitivity. This will create an atmosphere that not only cares about their black students but wants to fight to make things equal for them. While the world needs more work, we can change these inequalities institutionally. Estrangement which means a sense of not belonging is a feeling many black students experience at predominantly white institutions. This is mainly because when space is lacking a sense of familiarity with you, you don’t feel like you belong there, and/or it’s hard to attach yourself to that space.

Something I have realized over time is when there are other black people in a space with me where it’s majorly white people, I feel a sense of comfort. Knowing other people who look like me or could come from the same background as me in the same space has become very crucial. At these predominantly white institutions, there’s a low percentage of black students. There’s been an ongoing struggle for racial diversity within predominantly white institutions (any college besides HBCUs), being that the majority race is white students and faculty. In this atmosphere, it can create a hostile environment, as some white students see themselves as invincible; they can do what they please without facing harsh consequences and this is the case in a lot of colleges when white students perform these racist acts against black students. Hateful words, slurs, demeaning vandalism, microaggressions, and racist jokes follow a black person’s life for years. They face these misconceptions, stereotypes, and judgments day today. Some non-black students are ignorant of this fact not knowing the severity of the words they use followed by harmful actions. Black people’s lives are at stake because of these stereotypes. Being that with the rising racism on college campuses, black students don’t feel safe or like their issues are being addressed. Racism is a way to make minorities feel inferior as well as uncomfortable like they don’t belong. So, when other peers perform in these racist incidents against black students on campus, it’s a way for those students to try to tear down black students and make them feel like they don’t have a place not even in their school.

How we can go about fixing racism on college campuses? Colleges and Universities need to do their part in educating faculty and students about systematic oppression, racial awareness, cultural diversity, and racial sensitivity. It should be a requirement to take a race relations course when entering the institution just as math, English, and science courses are made requirements. The administration needs to take a stand and oppose all forms of racism and discrimination. It’s not enough to be not racist, you have to be anti-racist. When you hear and see racism, call it out. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like. We all need to stand together to fix this broken system. Black students should also not feel like they can’t take charge of the atmosphere of the campus, progressively arranging and participating in peaceful protests, joining BSA organizations meant for them, and supporting their race in every way. Black students should not be silent in times like these; everyone must hear their voice.

How do we demolish systematic racism in institutions as a whole? Educating ourselves on how these insistences came to be, fighting against racism and not just ignoring it, being compassionate even if you aren’t black because you won’t know the struggle but you can be compassionate towards our pain, and being committed to creating a change in this world. This means being involved in protests, calling out racism, educating yourself because no one else should have to educate you on their experience, knowing your privilege if you are white, donating to causes that are for the advancement of minorities, and signing petitions to fight against these inequalities. One thing everyone has to understand is the fight against racism has never rested. It’s a continuous fight and we can’t expect a battle like this to end in a few months or even years without hard work. What’s happening in the world right now has made me outraged, hurt, broken-hearted, and anxious, and have never felt more powerful. I am so happy that everyone is coming together to fight this. Why did it have to take another innocent black man dying for an uprising to happen? That’s the issue.  We lost so many black people to racist violence. I have had enough of crying, worrying about my friends/family’s safety, and fighting for something so simple as being treated as human.

I just want to say that racism is still alive, not much has changed from 52 years ago during the Civil Rights Movement. We are fighting to be free ever since we got here because truly we aren’t, we won’t be until our skin color isn’t judged by the world. We are human and deserve to live a normal life. Black students have to worry so much about school, work, sports, and extracurriculars. The color of our skin does weigh heavy on how we are treated in this world.  It’s been a system created to dictate our status. Racism is an everyday battle for black people’s lives.




AAVE African American Vernacular English:

The variety formerly known as Black English Vernacular or Vernacular Black English among sociolinguists, and commonly called Ebonics outside the academic community. While some features of AAVE are apparently unique to this variety, in its structure it also shows many commonalities with other varieties including a number of standard and nonstandard English varieties spoken in the US and the Caribbean. AAVE has been at the heart of several public debates and the analysis of this variety has also sparked and sustained debates among sociolinguists. [1]

ADOS (American Descendants of Slavery)

The American Descendants of Slavery (ADOS) Advocacy Foundation is a grassroots organization that arose in response to a national landscape rife with yawning racialized gaps. With an eye toward the origins of these asymmetrical outcomes located in the institution of slavery, the organization prioritizes reparations for descendants of chattel slavery in the United States of America. [2]


An active, consistent, and ongoing practice of unlearning and re-evaluating, in which a person in a position of privilege and power seeks to operate in solidarity with a targeted group. Practicing allyship is not linear or constant and requires ongoing self-reflection and learning. [3]

B(I)POC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color)

An acronym that highlights the unique relationship to whiteness that Indigenous and Black (African Americans) people have, which shapes the experiences of and relationship to white supremacy for all people of color within a U.S. context. [4]

Plessy v. Ferguson 

1896 U. S. Supreme Court decision that “upheld the constitutionality of racial segregation under the ‘separate but equal’ doctrine.”[5]



Your ethos, daily cultural practices. (Ex. Values, beliefs, language, food, literature, religious practices, traditions, etc.)

Indigenous / Native

The notion of a place-based human ethnic culture that has not migrated from its homeland, and is not a settler or colonial population. To be indigenous is therefore by definition different from being of world culture, such as the Western or Euro-American culture. [6]



The alternating use of 2 more than one linguistic code in the classroom by any of the classroom participants (e.g., teacher, students, teacher aide), and this can include both code-mixing (intra-clausal/sentential alternation) and code-switching (alternation at the inter-clausal/sentential level) (Lin, 1990, 2008).

Model Minority (carrying the torch)

A stereotypical view of an ethnic, racial, or religious minority group that is assumed to have achieved a high level of educational, economic, and professional success. [7]


Being or feeling different in appearance or character from what is familiar, expected, or generally accepted. [8]


The term race refers to groups of people who have differences and similarities in biological traits deemed by society to be socially significant, Melanin content in hair, eyes, and skin. The meanings that get attached to color in order to create a social system that establishes white as superior. How you see yourself and how others see you racially.

Volunteer Minority

Those who have more or less willingly moved to the United States because they expect better opportunities (better jobs, more political or religious freedom) than they had in their homelands or places of origin. The people in this category may be different from the majority in race and ethnicity or in religion or language. The important distinguishing features are that (1) the people in this category voluntarily chose to move to U.S. society in the hope of a better future, and (2) they do not interpret their presence in the United States as forced upon them by the U.S. government or by white Americans. [9]


Internalization of identity, privilege, and property that perpetuate a social hierarchy based on the meanings that get attached to skin color to maintain white supremacy and dehumanize humanity.

Society and Culture


Anti-Blackness as being a two-part formation that both strips Blackness of value (dehumanizes), and systematically marginalizes Black people. This form of anti-Blackness is overt racism. Society also associates politically incorrect comments with the overt nature of anti-Black racism. Beneath this anti-Black racism is the covert structural and systemic racism that predetermines the socioeconomic status of Blacks in this country and is held in place by anti-Black policies, institutions, and ideologies. [10]


A system in which we create policies, practices, and procedures to promote racial equity. Anti-racism generates antiracist thoughts and ideas to justify the racial equity it creates by uplifting the innate humanity and individuality of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. [11]


The danger of a “melting pot” - people of color expected to assimilate (blend in) to white dominant culture. “Color Blindness” is also a way for white people to feel comfortable with race - “Similar to the melting pot idea, the declaration of color blindness assumes that we can erase our racial categories, ignore differences, and thereby achieve an illusory state of sameness or equality. The colorblind perspective treats race as an irrelevant, invisible, and taboo topic." [12]


A form of intragroup stratification generally associated with Black people in the United States but present among all peoples of color. Colorism subjectively ranks individuals according to the perceived color tones of their skin.

Linguistic Variation*

White Guilt

“White teachers often speak to me about their feelings of powerlessness regarding the tremendous odds working against us in the classroom. In the face of the pernicious and long-term effects of dominance, many of us become frustrated in our efforts to significantly alter the lives of our students, particularly those who have been marginalized by dominance. Given the challenges confronting us, some well-intended and once idealistic teachers have fallen into despondency and even cynicism. Some, who once believed that all students could achieve, have lost faith in the real difficulties in their students’ lives and have come to blame the culture and characteristics of the child for the school’s failure to effectively serve all of our students. Even Whites who have held true to our calling as educators continue to struggle with the issues of racial dominance, and we often ask ourselves: What can I do as a White teacher? Much of our frustration as educators flows from the fact that the dynamics of dominance are self-perpetuating. The luxury of ignorance, the assumption of rightness, and the legacy of privilege have for centuries functioned together to support and legitimize White dominance. The interaction of these three dynamics has formed what I call the “dominance paradigm”, a pervasive and persistent worldview wherein White assumptions are held to be true and right, White ignorance of other groups is the norm, and White privilege flourishes essentially unchallenged and unacknowledged.” [13]

From “We Can’t Teach What We Don’t Know” Vignette regarding “color blindness”: “I (Howard) turned to my African-American colleague and asked, ‘Jessie, if I tell you I don’t see color, how does that make you feel?’ His response was ‘You don’t see me.’ That led to tears from the teacher (who was steadfast in her defense of being “colorblind”). Her claim to colorblindness was coming from the goodness of her heart. Her assumption of rightness was well-intended, as it often is. It was painful for her to realize that her dearly held belief in the sameness of human beings actually denied the authentic existence of people whose experiences of reality were different from hers. Dominance dies a difficult death, for individuals as well as nations.” [14]

White Privilege

“One of the ways Whites actively perpetuate systemic injustice is when they are privileged in ways that give them permission to be ignorant, oblivious, arrogant and destructive” (qtd. in Howard 108). Some white people don’t realize their privilege because they haven’t been put into a situation where they have to think about their race (white isolationism) - are surprised when they hear people of color share stories of their experience with social injustice; because whites haven’t experienced it they assume that racism doesn’t exist. That is privilege. [15]

Racism and Discrimination


An unreasonable or irrational attachment to negative stereotypes and prejudices.

Implicit Bias (with example)

The unconscious attitudes, stereotypes, and unintentional actions (positive or negative) towards members of a group merely because of their membership in that group. Viewing students’ of color questions as combative and white students' as inquisitive, quick to write up students of color, and less likely to write up white students. Underlying negative assumptions of students of color. Watch the documentary “America to Me”, a film examining racial inequities that exist in a “proudly diverse” Oak Park River Forest High School, on Showtime One quote from a black student supervisor said that he felt that black students were openly disrespectful to him and white students were sneaky about their disrespect, it was more implied disrespect. Favoring one over the other without knowing why. Universal; we all have them. Attitudes or stereotypes that affect understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. May not mirror an individual’s beliefs.


How Black males tend to receive disciplinary consequences for the same behavior as their white peer counterparts who don’t receive consequences. The assumption that we exist in a meritocracy  - if students don’t achieve it’s because they’re not working hard enough; the assumption that students are achieving on a “level playing field”, the assumption of fairness in the system that is in fact, not equitable; blaming the student for their lack of achievement, low expectations are implied.

Linguistic Discrimination


Brief, everyday exchanges that send denigrating messages to certain individuals because of their group membership (people of color, women, or LGBTs) and was first coined by Pierce in 1970 in his work with Black Americans where he defined it as “subtle, stunning, often automatic and nonverbal exchanges which are ‘put-downs” (Sue 24).


Conscious, deliberate, and either subtle or explicit racial, gender, or sexual-orientation based biased attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors that are communicated to marginalized groups through environmental cues, verbalizations, or behaviors (Sue 28).


Microinsults are characterized by interpersonal or environmental communications that convey stereotypes, rudeness, and insensitivity and the demean a person’s racial, gender, or sexual orientation, heritage, or identity represented by subtle snubs, frequently outside the conscious awareness of the perpetrator, but they convey oftentimes hidden insulting message to the recipient of these groups (Sue 30).


Prejudice plus power


The act of singling out a group of people based on physical characteristics

White Supremacy

Fundamentalist whites, White superiority - historically puts white male in control.

Types of Racism


A form of contemporary racism that, in contrast to the traditional form, operates unconsciously in subtle and indirect ways. Aversive racists regard themselves as nonprejudiced but, at the same time, harbor negative feelings and beliefs about members of minority groups. Aversive racism was originally hypothesized to characterize the attitudes of many well-educated and liberal Whites in the United States, toward Blacks, but the basic principles apply to the attitudes of members of dominant groups toward minority groups in other countries with strong contemporary egalitarian values but discriminatory histories or policies. [16]


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.

Colorblindness alone is not sufficient to 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. [17]


A form of intragroup stratification generally associated with Black people in the United States but present among all peoples of color. Colorism subjectively ranks individuals according to the perceived color tones of their skin.


A process whereby people who are strongly identified with certain language groups, religion, group habits, norms, and customs, including the typical style of dress, behavior, cuisine, music, and literature, are treated in a prejudicial and discriminatory way based on these characteristics. [18]


A form of racism that tacitly accepts dominant White norms and privileges. It is not the absence of consciousness (that is, not unconsciousness) but an impaired consciousness or distorted way of thinking about race as compared to, for example, critical consciousness. [19]


Racism that involves policies, practices, and procedures of institutions that have a disproportionately negative effect on racial minorities’ access to and quality of goods, services, and opportunities. [20]


Of, involving, or designed for members of different races. [21]


Donna Bivens provides this definition of internalized racism in her chapter from Flipping the Script: White Privilege and Community Building on “What Is Internalized Racism?”: “As people of color are victimized by racism, we internalize it. That is, we develop ideas, beliefs, actions and behaviors that support or collude with racism. This internalized racism has its own systemic reality and its own negative consequences in the lives and communities of people of color. More than just a consequence of racism, then, internalized racism is a systemic oppression in reaction to racism that has a life of its own. In other words, just as there is a system in place that reinforces the power and expands the privilege of white people, there is a system in place that actively discourages and undermines the power of people and communities of color and mires us in our own oppression…”

“…Because race is a social and political construct that comes out of particular histories of domination and exploitation between Peoples, people of colors' internalized racism often leads to great conflict among and between them as other concepts of power-such as ethnicity, culture, nationality, and class-are collapsed in misunderstanding. ... Putting forward this definition of internalized racism that is systemic and structural is not intended to 'blame the victim.' It is meant to point out the unique work that people of color must do within ourselves and our communities to really address racism and white privilege. As experiences of race and structural racism become more confusing, complex and obscured, it is imperative that people of color explore and deepen our understanding of internalized racism. As more anti-racist white people become clearer about whiteness, white privilege... people of color are freed up to look beyond our physical and psychological trauma from racism.” [22]


Within race (group of people); of or by members of the same race.[23]


In the absence of a formal system of segregation and other blatant forms of racism, new racism describes the system of persistent inequality, injustice, and racial differentiation. Likewise, new racism refers to the codes, logic, and ideologies that facilitate, rationalize, and naturalize power imbalances in the absence of formalized segregation or apartheid within 21st-century America. [24]


Intolerance or prejudice directed at members of historically dominant racial groups. [25]


The basis of individual and institutional racism; it is the value system that is embedded in a society that supports and allows discrimination. [26]

Systems and Institutions

Colorblind Ideology

"Colorblindness is a popular diversity model or ideology that on the surface reflects pro-diversity intentions but in practice suppresses diversity and elevates sameness." [27]


Group prejudice and discrimination backed by institutional power. One group is in the position to enforce their prejudice and discrimination against another group throughout society.


The tendency of media to be dominated by white characters, played by white actors, navigating their way through a story that will likely resonate most deeply with white audiences, based on their experiences and worldviews. [28]

Race Theory

Critical Race Theory

An academic movement that seeks to link racism, race, and power. Unlike the Civil Rights movement, which sought to work within the structures of American democracy, critical race theorists challenge the very foundations of the liberal order, such as rationalism, constitutional law, and legal reasoning. Critical race theorists argue that American social life, political structures, and economic systems are founded upon race, which (in their view) is a social construct. [29]

Non-binary approach to race**

Single Story **

Social vs Biological Constructs of Race

“In societies like the United States, where race has been a fundamental organizing principle since before the country’s founding, racialization led not only to the formation of entrenched cultural belief systems that suggested some people were essentially different (and better) than others, but also led to complex hierarchies in which those racialized bodies were treated differently in social, legal, political, and economic realms.” … “The challenge for understanding what is “racial” about “racial achievement gaps” comes in part from the challenge of keeping the larger history of race in mind when we are trying to understand daily processes. This is the challenge of paying attention to the very bigness and the very smallness of its effects and the connections between the two.” [30]

White Fatigue **

Despite the Best Intentions (book based on “Riverview” High School)

White Fragility

A state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as fear and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. [31]

White Story**



Steele, Claude. Whistling Vivaldi and Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do. New York Norton, 2011.


This Is Us. Created by Dan Fogelman, Rhode Island Ave., Zaftig Films Productions. 2020.


13th (Netflix)

Although slavery was illegalized through the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, a loophole makes exception for incarcerated citizens. This documentary explores that loophole and the devastating impact it has had through mass incarceration, particularly on the African American community.

LA92 (Netflix)

This documentary is an in-depth analysis of the roots and repercussions of the uprising of Los Angeles in 1992. Although the exoneration of four police officers for the beating of Rodney King, the documentary goes much deeper and exposes systemic and institutional challenges in Los Angeles that fomented the anger and frustration that exploded in the wake of the trial.

O.J.: Made in America (Amazon Prime or ESPN OnDemand)

Arguably the most searing and revealing document about race in America, this multipart documentary examines the life of professional football legend and media icon O.J. Simpson. In addition to being an expose of Simpson’s life, sports and media career, and trial for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, the documentary brilliantly considers the role of race in Simpson’s life and by extension the nation. The film won the Best Documentary Feature Academy Award in 2017, among many other accolades.

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 (Netflix)

Using found footage shot by a team of Swedish journalists, this documentary takes a deep look at the Black Power Movement of the late 1960s-mid 1970s. Crucial to this examination is both an examination of what the movement was and a look at the systemic and institutional ways the movement was distorted and thwarted. Essential viewing for a deeper understanding of what happened in the wake of the Civil Rights Movement.

I Am Not Your Negro (Netflix)

Using his own words, this documentary is a searing expose of the life and ideas of the write, activist, and social critic James Baldwin. Baldwin presents some of the most honest, unflinching, clear-eyed commentaries on race in America.

Amend (Netflix)

A docu-series examining the history and impact of the 14th Amendment. The series provides the history of the passage of the amendment and how the amendment has been used to expand the rights of historically marginalized groups.

Out of Darkness (Amazon Prime)

This documentary explores the contributions to civilization from Africa. Focusing on the Egyptians and the Moors, the film provides an account of their contributions while examining how and why African contributions to civilization have been obscured in the Western retelling of world history.

Reel Injun (Netflix)

A searing documentary that challenges the ways in which Native Americans have been represented in media and popular culture.

Eyes on the Prize I & II

A classic, award-winning documentary recounting the Civil Rights Movement from the Montgomery Bus Boycott to the passage of the Voting Rights Act. Through contemporary interviews and historical footage, the series takes viewers behind the scenes to provide deeper context and information about one of the most tumultuous times in American history.



A biweekly podcast that explores different aspects of race and racism using interviews and exposes.

Black History for White People

This is a highly engaging and straight-forward podcast the looks at different issues and people related to the history of African Americans. The podcast takes on a broad range of topics historically, such as: redlining, police and protests, the Tulsa Race Massacre, lynching, James Baldwin, the Black Panthers, the Underground Railroad, among many other.

Slate Academy History of American Slavery and History of Reconstruction

Taken together, these two podcasts provide an impressive recount of slavery and Reconstruction in the United States. Ranging from slavery and Reconstruction’s origins, practices, impact, politics, and challenges the two podcasts feature both exposes and interviews with the nation’s leading experts. Clear-eyed and accessible, the two podcasts brilliantly recount a most troubling and obscured history.

Teaching Hard History

From slavery through the Civil Rights Movement to today, this podcast from Learning for Justice (formerly Teaching Tolerance) provides lessons about important yet frequently overlooked aspects of American history. Although the podcast is geared toward teachers it is useful for everyone.

Behind the Police

Behind the Police is a deeply research, no-flinch investigation of the history of law enforcement and it relationship to the African American community. The show does not attempt to minimize or dismiss law enforcement. Rather, it introduces the many historic challenges of law enforcement and challenges the idea that policing in America was always about law and order. The podcast helps explain the problems with police many communities have faced. Warning: there is explicit language and strong themes. This would be more useful for gaining background information or for engaging college level students.


A Pulitzer Prize winning podcast project by the New York Times, 1619 tells the story of slavery. Each episode addresses essential aspects of slavery in powerful and engaging ways.


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