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Definitions of Racism Runners

Racism:
The systematic subordination of members of targeted racial groups who have relatively little social power in the United States (Blacks, Latino/as, Native Americans, and Asians), by the members of the agent racial group who have relatively more social power (Whites). The subordination is supported by the actions of individuals, cultural norms and values, and the institutional structures and practices of society.

Individual Racism:
The beliefs, attitudes, and actions of individuals that support or perpetuate racism. Individual racism can occur at both an unconscious and conscious level, and can be both active and passive. Examples include telling a racist joke, using a racial epithet, or believing in the inherent superiority of whites.

Active Racism:
Actions which have as their stated or explicit goal the maintenance of the system of racism and the oppression of those in the targeted racial groups. People who participate in active racism advocate the continued subjugation of members of the targeted groups and protection of “the rights” of members of the agent group. These goals are often supported by a belief in the inferiority of people of color and the superiority of white people, culture, and values.

Passive Racism:
Beliefs, attitudes, and actions that contribute to the maintenance of racism, without openly advocating violence or oppression. The conscious or unconscious maintenance of attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that support the system of racism, racial prejudice and racial dominance.

Cultural Racism:
Those aspects of society that overtly and covertly attribute value and normality to white people and Whiteness, and devalue, stereotype, and label people of color as “other”, different, less than, or render them invisible. Examples of these norms include defining white skin tones as nude or flesh colored, having a future time orientation, emphasizing individualism as opposed to a more collective ideology, defining one form of English as standard, and identifying only Whites as great writers or composers.

Institutional Racism:
The network of institutional structures, policies, and practices that create advantages and benefits for Whites, and discrimination, oppression, and disadvantages for people from targeted racial groups. The advantages created for Whites are often invisible to them, or are considered “rights” available to everyone as opposed to “privileges” awarded to only some individuals and groups.

Source: Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice, 1197 eds. Adams, Bell & Griffin

Race
A pseudobiological category that distinguishes people based on physical characteristics (e.g., skin color, body shape/size, facial features, hair texture). People of one race can vary in terms of ethnicity and culture.

Ethnicity
A group whose members share a common history and origin, as well as commonalities in terms of factors such as nationality, religion, and cultural activities.

Culture
The way of life of a group of people including the shared values, beliefs, behaviors, family roles, social relationships, verbal and nonverbal communication styles, orientation to authority, as well as preferences and expressions (art, music, food). “What everybody knows that everybody else knows.”

Acculturation
A dynamic process that occurs when members of one culture (culture of origin) come into contact with another culture (host/dominant culture) over a long period of time. The process involves exposure to, reaction to, and possible adoptions of aspects of the other groups culture. Adapting to the characteristics of the larger or dominant culture, while retaining some of one’s unique cultural traits.

Assimilation
The process of giving up connections to and aspects of one’s culture of origin and blending in with the host/dominant culture. Also, the wholesale adoption of the dominant culture at the expense of the original culture.

Prejudice
An attitude or opinion that is held in the absence of (or despite) full information. Typically it is negative in nature and based on faulty, distorted or unsubstantiated information that is over generalized and relatively in-flexible. Prejudices can be conscious or relatively unconscious.

Oppression
Treatment of a group of people within a society that results in the systematic denial of equal access to civil rights, freedoms, and power within that society. It involves a devaluing and non-acceptance of the target group and can be manifested economically, politically, socially, and/or psychologically. Individuals, through their values and behavior, can collude with a system of oppression which contributes to its maintenance in a society.

Equality
"In any given circumstances, people who are the same in those respects relevant to how they are treated in those circumstances should receive the same treatment" (p. 45). Equality defined in this way, looks at the individual and the circumstances surrounding him or her. It does not focus on group differences based on categories such as race, sex, social class, and ethnicity. This view is one of assimilation because it assumes that individuals, once socialized into society, have the right "to do anything they want, to choose their own lives and not be hampered by traditional expectations and stereotypes" (Young, 1990, p. 157).

Equity
"…. deals with difference and takes into consideration the fact that this society has many groups in it who have not always been given equal treatment and/or have not had a level field on which to play. These groups have been frequently made to feel inferior to those in the mainstream and some have been oppressed. To achieve equity, according to Young (1990), "Social policy should sometimes accord special treatment to groups" (p. 158). Thus, the concept of equity provides a case for unequal treatment for those who have been disadvantaged over time. It can provide compensatory kinds of treatment, offering it in the form of special programs and benefits for those who have been discriminated against and are in need of opportunity."

Equitable Access
Equitable access provides groups of people access to resources, services and programs that would not otherwise be available to them due to disadvantages created over time resulting from many factors including marginalization, racism, discrimination, and oppression. In essence, equitable access attempts to create a level playing field between the have and have nots.

Equity and Equality Definitions came from Krause, J. K, Traini, D. J., & Mickey, B. H. (2001). Equality versus equity. In J. P. Shapiro & J. A. Stefkovick (Eds), Ethical leadership and decision making in education (76-90). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

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