Unpacking Race 2016, Part 3:
Unpacking Racism

In early 2016, T.O. Philly hosted a workshop series on race and undoing racism. Each week we posted material here for folks both in and outside of the workshop to use. Each page archived here contains things to read, watch, hear and do:
In Week Two of our Unpacking Race workshop series, we warmed up with The Vehicle Game before laying out some broad ways that racism takes shape. These were the definitions for racism we worked from:
Institutional Racism: A system of advantage based on race and supported by institutional structures, policies and practices that create and sustain advantages for the dominant white group while systematically subordinating members of targeted racial groups. This relative advantage for Whites and subordination for people of color 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 institutional racism. Individual racism can occur at both unconscious and conscious levels, 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 that have as their stated or explicit goal the maintenance of the system of racism and the oppression of those in targeted racial groups. People who participate in active racism advocate the continued subjugation of members of targeted groups and protection of “the rights” of members of the advantaged 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: Conscious and unconscious beliefs, attitudes, and actions that support the system of racism, racial prejudice, and racial dominance and contribute to the maintenance of racism, without openly advocating violence, discrimination, or an ideology of white supremacy. 
These definitions are from Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook by Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell, and Pat Griffin, (2nd ed., Routledge, 2007).

This week each of our four working groups unpacked one of these forms of racism, using The Vehicle Game structure to illustrate aspects of it through the language of theatre. In week three we will further unpack institutional racism, and each group will focus on a particular area. 
  1. A VIDEO for everyone to watch
  2. RACE JOURNALING for you to do on your own
  3. AN ARTICLE for everyone to read
  4. SELECTED LINKS for each of the four groups to focus on
1. A VIDEO: Hari Kondabolu on "Ethnic Needs": This 90-second clip sums otherness and ethnic needs in a hilarious manner.

2. RACE JOURNALING: In Theatre of the Oppressed we make images and then look at them objectively before we talk about them subjectively. Bring this practice into your race journaling by asking yourself first, "What did I notice?" and then journal your objective observations. Then ask, "How did I feel?" to generate your subjective experiences. Try journaling this way for the week.

3. AN ARTICLE: "Ultimate White Privilege Statistics" provides s a comprehensive list of cited statistics indicating racial bias in many sectors including Education, Wealth, Employment, Criminal Justice and Voting.
4. SELECTED LINKS: Please read/watch/listen-to the following for your color group for next week. The articles are ranked in order of importance, so if you are strapped for time, please read the first article first. If you have extra time/curiosity, check out the links for the other groups.

  1. "Racial Bias and its Effect on Health Care" (short interview transcript) Primer on the racial bias in health care today
  2. Tim Wise at the Public Health Commission (three-part video) The health effects of microaggressions, racial bias in health care, and the pathology of white supremacy.


  1. "The Average Black Girl" video (above): Ernestine Johnson's poem on how the media depicts African-American women.
  2. "Lives Fit For Print" (article) How the media defines global terrorism by focusing on specific acts of terrorism and largely ignoring others

  1. "Malcolm X, Gentrification, and Housing as a Human Right" (article) A history of housing discrimination in the U.S.
  2. "Historian Says 'Don't Sanitize How Our Government Created Ghettos'" (podcast+article) On government collusion with real estate and financial industry to create and maintain racially segregated urban slums while raising white folks’ property values
  3. "Environmental Racism Explained" video (below) Connects access to housing and other geographic resources to negative public health vectors for people of color and to the inaction of governmental structures to prevent and protect them

  1. "14 Examples of Racism in Criminal Justice System" (article) Reality of racial inequality sequenced from the initial brush with law enforcement to life after incarceration
  2. "The Coalition to Combat Police Terrorism" video (below) Framing police officer violence as terrorism against Black folks
  3. "Mass Incarceration Since 1492" (article) history and continued criminalization and poverty for Native American population as a means of erasure and silence

    Next: Externalized privilege, internalized oppression.

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