Definition: Structural Racism in the U.S. is the normalization and legitimization of an array of dynamics – historical, cultural, institutional and interpersonal – that routinely advantage whites while producing cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of color. It is a system of hierarchy and inequity, primarily characterized by white supremacy – the preferential treatment, privilege and power for white people at the expense of Black, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, Arab and other racially oppressed people.
Scope: Structural Racism encompasses the entire system of white supremacy, diffused and infused in all aspects of society, including our history, culture, politics, economics and our entire social fabric. Structural Racism is the most profound and pervasive form of racism – all other forms of racism (e.g. institutional, interpersonal, internalized, etc.) emerge from structural racism.
More than Just Words, Structural Racism.
Structural racism is a term that escapes easy definition, in part because the vocabulary we have to understand and explore questions of race and racism is limited. Growing use of the term “structural racism” reflects a need to describe and understand racism in the most accurate and comprehensive way possible. For example, the idea of “institution racism” has sometimes been narrowly interpreted to mean only the particular and legally rectifiable problems of a specific institution. In contrast, structural racism is meant to encompass the dynamics present across a broad range of institutions. Moreover, structural racism is intended to acknowledge the broad set of historically developed ideas, values, and morals that make racism seem natural, inevitable, and acceptable to the vast majority of the body politic. A structural racism framework helps us consider not only the agents of racial discrimination but also the dominant discourses that permit such discrimination to go unchallenged. Black lives matter Georgia points out how Structural Racism refers to the way in which history, public policies, institutional practices, and cultural stereotypes and norms interact to maintain racial hierarchies and inequitable racial group outcomes.
There is a cure against racism. The deep wounds can be healed but the healing process is intricate, deliberate and will require involvement from those who have previously remained silent. When racism raises its ugly head, silence becomes toxic and our apathy is interpreted as total acceptance. We always have a choice: do nothing and let racism go uncontested and flourish, or do something — act up, rise up, and speak up. We must pick up the armor of righteousness daily in order to slay the evil forces of racism at work against us. It will not be easy and it will not always be comfortable for any of us but courage is a game changer. We must each take a step each day to garner support and find our voice as the moral majority.