Unpacking Race Fall 2016
Week 2: What Is This Thing Called Racism?

In the Fall of 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. Links:
After defining race and ethnicity In Week One of our Fall 2016 Unpacking Race workshop series, we talked about racism and shared the following definitions:
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 are from Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook by Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell, and Pat Griffin, (Routledge, 2007). 

This week's assignments include a 3-minute video, one or two short essays, keeping your journal, and (because we have no workshop next week) a one-on-one discussion.

1. WATCH this short segment from comedian Aamer Rahman:

2. READ one or both of the following. Note that they're written for different audiences in mind: The first is addressed to people of color, the second to people who benefit from white privilege. 

  • 2A. Andrea Smith's 2013 essay "Heteropatriarchy and the Three Pillars of White Supremacy." This is a primer for people of color confronting the complex systems of how internalized racism can be a barrier to organizing  This is a scanned PDF, and this version is better for text-to-speech devices..
  • 2B. Peggy McIntosh's seminal essay, "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack." This PDF is the original version from the 1980s, and it touches on a lot of what we've discussed so far. It also contains a list of privileges, which McIntosh continued to add to, and this short video features her expanded list.
3. WRITE in your Race Journal!

4. CHECK IN with your buddy about what you've been reading, writing, and thinking about.

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