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Anti-racism Resources

This guide explores the causes and impacts of racism and how to be anti-racist.

Preface

The Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) system is committed to bold and disruptive change by actively identifying, naming, and dismantling structural racism. To that end and in alignment with the CSCU Library Consortium’s Strategic Directions, a task force of the consortium’s Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice Team has adapted this Anti-racism Resources Guide from a guide created by Fitchburg State University. The task force wishes to thank Fitchburg State University for granting permission to adapt their guide. The task force was led by Craig Guild (Reference & Instruction Librarian, Three Rivers Community College) and included:

  • Patrick Carr (Program Manager for Library Consortium Operations, CSCU System Office)
  • Ivelisse Maldonado (Librarian, Danbury Campus, Naugatuck Valley Community College)
  • Julie Marinelli (student intern from Southern Connecticut State University’s Master of Library and Information Science degree program)
  • Angela Walker (Reference and Instruction Librarian, Eastern Connecticut State University)

Introduction

Racism 

Racism is a complex issue that can be approached from many different contexts. The following definitions may help you to begin to think about those contexts.

  • A form of oppression in which one group dominates others. In the United States, the dominant group is white, therefore racism is white racial and cultural prejudice and discrimination, supported intentionally or unintentionally by institutional power and authority, and used to the advantage of whites and disadvantage of people of color (DiAngelo, 2016).
  • Racism is the power to enforce one's prejudices. Simply stated racism is prejudice plus power (Barndt, 1991).
  • Racism involves one group having the power to carry out systematic discrimination through the institutional policies and practices of the society and by shaping the cultural beliefs and values that support those racist policies and practices (dRworksbook, 2020).
  • Racism is often understood as an individual state of being, as in someone is or isn’t racist. Racism, however, is not merely a personal attitude, it is a racialized system of power maintained by violence. In North America, an individual can be perpetuating this system without even being conscious of their actions (Simmons University Library, 2020).

This article from The Atlantic discusses changes that need to be made to the dictionary definition of racism. The NIH page for ADVANCING RACIAL EQUITY, RACE, RESOURCES provides a glossary for understanding racial terms and differences.

                                               

 

What about "reverse racism"?

As is made clear above, racism “is prejudice plus power leveraged at the institutional level to maintain the privileges of the dominate [sic.] social group.” Understanding racism in this way helps us to reach “the obvious-seeming conclusion that because in our society white people are the dominant social group, black [sic.] people, who do not control the levers of macro level, institutional power, cannot be said to be racist” (Hoyt, 2012). In other words, since institutional power and the ability to wield it are essential aspects of racism, white people, as the dominant racial group in society, may experience individual prejudice but cannot experience the disenfranchisement, disempowerment, and violence that racism produces. “Reverse racism,” then, can be said to be a myth; a powerful myth often wielded in order to deflect from the experience of racism felt by members of minoritized groups. 

 

                                           

Anti-Racism

"To be antiracist is a radical choice in the face of history, requiring radical reorientation of our consciousness" - Ibram Kendi from How to Be an Antiracist

  • Anti-racism can be defined as some form of focused and sustained action, which includes inter-cultural, inter-faith, multi-lingual and inter-abled (i.e. differently abled) communities with the intent to change a system or an institutional policy, practice, or procedure which has racist effects (Coleman, 2016).