With permission, the following was taken from NYIT's Anti-Oppression LibGuide. 

Racism: Prejudice + power. Racism is often understood as an individual state of being, as in someone is or isn’t racist. Racism, however, is not merely a personal attitude, it is a racialized system of power maintained by violence. In North America, an individual can be perpetuating this system without even being conscious of their actions (Source: Simmons College Anti-Oppression Guide)

  • Anyone can hold racial prejudice. 
  • People of any race can commit acts of mistreatment based on their racial prejudices. 
  • People of color can have prejudices, but they cannot be racist because they don't have the institutional power. 

Systemic /Structural Racism: Developed by sociologist Joe Feagin,  a system in which public policies, institutional practices, cultural representations, and other norms work in various, often reinforcing ways to perpetuate racial group inequity. It identifies dimensions of our history and culture that have allowed privileges associated with “whiteness” and disadvantages associated with “color” to endure and adapt over time. Structural racism is not something that a few people or institutions choose to practice. Instead, it has been a feature of the social, economic and political systems in which we all exist. 

Reverse-Racism: DOES NOT EXIST. There are assumptions and stereotypes about white people. However, such assumptions and stereotypes are examples of racial prejudice. Remember, racism = prejudice + power. 

Key Resources on Race in America

Moving The Race Conversation Forward

Founded in 1981, Race Forward brings systemic analysis and an innovative approach to complex race issues to help people take effective action toward racial equity.

The Origin of Race in the USA

13TH | FULL FEATURE | Netflix

Combining archival footage with testimony from activists and scholars, director Ava DuVernay's examination of the U.S. prison system looks at how the country's history of racial inequality drives the high rate of incarceration in America.