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Racism = Prejudice + Power
Anyone of any race can have/exhibit racial prejudice, but in North America, white people have the institutional power, therefore racism is a systematized discrimination or antagonism directed against people of color based on the belief that whiteness is superior.
Racism is insidious, systemic, devastating, and integral to understanding both the history of the United States and the everyday experiences of those of us living in this country.
Note: A common, incorrect definition of racism is the colloquial definition: “racism is prejudice against someone based on their skin color or ethnicity and can be committed by anyone.” This is NOT an accurate definition nor the one used in most anti-racist circles. It highlights individuals' thinking and actions but ignores embedded institutional and cultural systems. Non-white folks can be agents of racism as well (particularly when acting as representatives of white-dominated systems, such as higher education) by perpetuating the notion of white superiority and using it to discriminate against other people of color. For example, a black manager at a company may insist that a black employee's natural hair looks "unprofessional," or an Asian professor may knock points off the presentation grade of a Latinx student who speaks with an accent.
Anti-Racism = strategies, theories, actions, and practices that challenge and counter racism, inequalities, prejudices, and discrimination based on race.
This guide was created by Kathy Fester whi used and adapted resources with the permission of Lebanon Valley College Library.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.