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Course & Subject Guides

Anti-Black Racism: History, Ideology, and Resistance - Oakland Campus

Confronting the Roots of Structural Racism and Bias

The following resources provide an introduction to the vast literature on the historical contexts that have shaped the structural racism of today.

What is racism? 

  • The definition of racism offered here is grounded in Critical Race Theory (CRT) a movement started in the 1970s by activists and scholars committed to the study and transformation of traditional relationships of race to racism and power. CRT was initially grounded in the law and has since expanded to other fields. CRT also has an activist dimension because it not only tries to understand our situation but to change it. The basic beliefs of CRT are: 
    • Racism is ordinary, the "normal" way that society does business, the "common, everyday" experience of most People of Color in this country.
    • Racism serves the interests of both white people in power (the elites) materially and working class white people psychically, and therefore neither group has much incentive to fight it.
    • Race and races are social and political constructs, categories that society invents and manipulates when convenient. In reality our differences as human beings are dwarfed by what we have in common and have little or nothing to do with personality, intelligence, and morality.
    • Society chooses to ignore this and assigns characteristics to whole groups of people in order to advance the idea of race and the superiority of whiteness. 
    • The power elite racializes different groups at different times to achieve their economic agenda, continually and repeatedly prioritizing profit over people.

What is structural racism?

  • Systemic or structural racism is how the racist and discriminatory practices of institutions intersect to create a network of opportunity for people in the white group while blocking opportunity and access for People and Communities of Color.

Secondary Sources

Primary Sources

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