How to Explain Structural, Institutional and Systemic Racism
Defining Different Types of Racism
Racism Terms and Examples
|Individual Racism||Personal beliefs and attitudes toward other races that affect the way a person treats people of color.||A person believing in white supremacy, telling or laughing at a racist joke, sharing a racist post on social media.|
|Interpersonal Racism||Treating others with discriminatory behavior that ranges from microaggressions to physical violence.||A person using slurs or showing aggression toward people of color, mistreating others based on their skin color.|
|Institutional Racism||Policies or behaviors within an organization intended to discriminate against people of color.||A hiring manager disqualifies candidates based on their names, citing a “cultural fit” that’s actually discriminatory.|
|Systemic Racism||Perpetuated discrimination within a system that was founded on racist principles or practices.||A social work department lacks diversity among staff and students, despite training them to service communities of color.|
|Structural Racism||Cultural values in a society are so ingrained in daily life that they are seen as “the way things are.”||A judge gives a lengthier sentence to a person of color than a white person with the same charges.|
Strategies for Educating Others About Racism
Additional Resources About Institutional, Systemic and Structural Racism
- Research Guides: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: Background / Best Practices, USC: internal library of resources for understanding racism and opportunities for justice.
- What to Read, Listen to and Watch to Learn About Institutional Racism, PBS: list of books, podcasts and films created by people of color that explain the lived experiences and injustices of marginalized communities.
- Core Concepts, Racial Equity Tools: library of online tools for understanding terms and frameworks about racism.
- Let’s Talk! Discussing Race, Racism and Other Difficult Topics with Students (PDF, 1.4 MB), Learning for Justice: guide for educators and other adults in helping professions to assess their own comfort and build capacity for discussing race with young students.
- Centering BIPOC Student Voices in Your School District’s Equity Work, EdWeek: on-demand webinar featuring student voices and ideas from school districts about affirming and elevating the voices of students of color.
- What Is Racial Equity, Race Forward: toolkit for understanding and assessing structural and institutional racism in a professional work environment.