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Anti-Racism LibGuide

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Chance Medlin
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This LibGuide is intended to provide resources to understand the structural inequities and systemic racism that have impacted BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) over generations. The stories and perspectives shared are by no means limited to this LibGuide. We encourage you to also visit other resources provided below to foster a better understanding.

In Solidarity,

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Concepts & Terms

Institutional Racism: "refers to the policies and practices within and across institutions that, intentionally or not, produce outcomes that chronically favor, or put a racial group at a disadvantage. Poignant examples of institutional racism can be found in school disciplinary policies in which students of color are punished at much higher rates that their white counterparts, in the criminal justice system, and within many employment sectors in which day-to-day operations, as well as hiring and firing practices can significantly disadvantage workers of color." [Source]



Oppression: "the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner. [Source]

Types of oppression:

  • "Racism assumes that those from other races are actually genetically inferior human beings.
  • Sexism, or the belief that men are superior to women, has been an almost universal condition of civilization.
  • Colorism is a social pattern in which people are treated differently based on the amount of visible melanin in the skin.
  • Ableism is a social pattern in which people who are disabled are treated differently, to an unnecessary degree, than those who are not.
  • Sizeism is a social pattern in which people whose bodies fit social ideals are treated differently from people whose bodies do not.
  • Ageism is a social pattern in which people of a certain chronological age are treated differently, to an unnecessary degree, than those who are not."  [Source]



Anti-oppression: "the strategies, theories, actions, and practices that actively challenge systems of oppression on an ongoing basis in one's daily life and in social justice/change work. Anti-oppression work seeks to recognize the oppression that exists in our society and attempts to mitigate its effects and eventually equalize the power imbalance in our communities." [Source]

Anti-racism: "Anti-racism is an active way of seeing and being in the world, in order to transform it. Because racism occurs at all levels and spheres of society (and can function to produce and maintain exclusionary "levels" and "spheres"), anti-racism education/activism is necessary in all aspects of society. In other words, it does not happen exclusively in the workplace, in the classroom, or in selected aspects of our lives." [Source]

"Being anti-racist is different for white people than it is for people of color. For white people, being antiracist evolves with their racial identity development. They must acknowledge and understand their privilege, work to change their internalized racism, and interrupt racism when they see it. For people of color, it means recognizing how race and racism have been internalized, and whether it has been applied to other people of color.

All racial groups struggle under white supremacy. People of color groups are not always united in solidarity. People of color can act by challenging internalized white supremacy and interrupting patterns of prejudice against other racial groups. For everyone, it is an ongoing practice and process." [Source]



Reframing Perspectives

"A commitment to being anti-racist manifests in our choices. When we encounter interpersonal racism, whether obvious or covert, there are ways to respond and interrupt it. Asking questions is a powerful tool to seek clarity or offer a new perspective. Below are some suggestions to use in conversations when racists behavior occurs: 

  • Offer an alternative perspective: “Have you ever considered __________.”
  • Speak your truth: “I don’t see it the way you do. I see it as __________.”
  • Find common ground: “We don’t agree on __________ but we can agree on __________.”
  • Give yourself the time and space you need: “Could we revisit the conversation about __________ tomorrow.”
  • Set boundaries. “Please do not say __________ again to me or around me."" [Source]

Bias: "a strong inclination of the mind or a preconceived opinion about something or someone. A bias may be favorable or unfavorable: bias in favor of or against an idea." [Source]

Examples of Implicit/Unconscious Bias:

  • Assuming that the woman coming into the hospital room is a nurse instead of a doctor
  • A store associate following a young person in a store because they are concerned about shoplifting
  • Assuming gender pronouns

Examples of Explicit/Conscious Bias:

  • Overt negative behavior that can be expressed through physical harassment
  • Hate Speech
  • Purposely excluding individuals because of their race, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, disability, etc.


Microaggressions: "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." [Source]



Examples of Microaggressions [Source]:




Alien in own land

When APIDA Americans and Latinx Americans are assumed to be foreign-born.

“Where are you from?”

“Where were you born?”

“You speak good English.”

A person asking an Asian American to teach them words in their native language.

You are not American

You are a foreigner

Ascription of Intelligence

Assigning intelligence to a person of color on the basis of their race.

“You are a credit to your race.”


“You are so articulate.”


Asking an Asian person to help with a Math or Science problem.

People of color are generally not as intelligent as Whites.

It is unusual for someone of your race to be intelligent.

All Asians are intelligent and good in Math / Sciences.

Criminality – assumption of criminal status

A person of color is presumed to be dangerous, criminal, or deviant on the basis of their race.

A White man or woman clutching their purse or checking their wallet as a Black or Latino approaches or passes.

A store owner following a customer of color around the store. A White person waits to ride the next elevator when a person of color is on it.

You are a criminal.



You are going to steal / You are poor / You do not belong / You are dangerous.

Denial of individual racism

A statement made when Whites deny their racial biases

“I’m not a racist. I have several Black friends.”

“As a woman, I know what you go through as a racial minority.”


I am immune to racism because I have friends of color.

Your racial oppression is no different than my gender oppression. I can’t be a racist. I’m like you.

Myth of meritocracy

Statements which assert that race does not play a role in life successes

“I believe the most qualified person should get the job.”

“Everyone can succeed in this society, if they work hard enough.”

People of color are given extra unfair benefits because of their race.

People of color are lazy and / or incompetent and need to work harder.

Privilege: "1. Power and advantages benefiting a group derived from the historical oppression and exploitation of other groups. 2. Unearned access to resources only readily available to some people as a result of their group membership." [Source: Parvis, L. Understanding Cultural Diversity in Today's Complex World, 5th ed., Embrace Publications, 2013, p. 169]


White Privilege: "The concrete benefits of access to resources and social rewards and the power to shape the norms and values of society which whites receive, unconsciously or consciously, by virtue of their skin color in a racist society.

Examples include the ability to be unaware of race, the ability to live and work among people of the same racial group as their own, the security of not being pulled over by the police for being a suspicious person, the expectation that they speak for themselves and not their entire race, the ability to have a job hire or promotion attributed to their skills and background and not affirmative action." [Source: Adams, Maurianne Ed, Lee Anne Ed Bell, and Pat Ed Griffin. Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice. 2nd ed., Taylor & Francis, 2007.]




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 anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium." [Source]


Stereotype Threat: "a phenomenon that occurs when there is the opportunity or perceived opportunity for an individual to satisfy or confirm a negative stereotype of a group of which she is a member. The threat of possibly satisfying or confirming the stereotype can interfere with the subject’s performance in a variety of tasks, including but not limited to academic performance."[Source]

The term first appeared in an article written by Claude Steele and Joshua Aronson, "Stereotype threat and the intellectual test performance of African Americans."



"Strategies that have shown promise in mitigating the effects of stereotype threat:

  • Training and encouraging educators to maintain high learning expectations for all students, regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic status, or perceived ability.
  • Fostering positive and supportive school and classroom cultures, which includes strong and trusting relationships among students and between teachers and students.
  • Embracing and celebrating, rather than ignoring, student diversity in educational settings, and cultivating the perception that diversity is an educational asset that provides benefits to all students.
  • Consistently repeating and reinforcing the message that stereotyped students can and are expected to do well in school and on tests.
  • Communicating to students the belief that they are capable of achieving at high levels, even while giving critical feedback on their work. (A teacher might say, for example, “I wouldn’t give you this criticism if I didn’t believe, based on what you’ve written here, you could make this work even better.”)" [Source]