The death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis in May 2020 has further catalyzed the movement for racial justice in this country and around the world. In this watershed moment, many of you have expressed an eagerness to learn more about systemic racism—what it is, how it permeates the infrastructure of our country and how it is enacted in nearly every aspect of our daily lives. There is a yearning to understand how racism, both insidious and blatantly violent, has serious impacts on health, well-being, livelihood, and even life itself for those who experience it. We need to face it, understand it, and dismantle the structures that keep it alive and such a pervasive part of our culture and country.

There are countless resources on topics of racism, white privilege, and other aspects that relate to this issue. We invite you to use this brief annotated list of resources to begin to understand systemic racism. For some, it may be a first step to educating yourself about it. Taking a first step may enable you to take another… and another… and another. And before you know it, you will be an agent of change! At the end of this document, there is a more robust list of written, visual/video and audio resources for those who wish to go deeper in this study.

Thank you! The IDEA Team

Systemic Racism

Systemic or “structural racism refers to a system in which public policies, institutional practices, cultural representations, and other norms work in various, often reinforcing ways to perpetuate racial group inequity. It identifies dimensions of our history and culture that have allowed privileges associated with “whiteness” and disadvantages associated with “color” to endure and adapt over time” (Lawrence, Sutton, Kubisch, Susi, & and Fulbright-Anderson, 2004, p. 11).

White Privilege

White privilege is defined as “Inherent advantages possessed by a white person on the basis of their race in a society characterized by racial inequality and injustice” (Oxford Languages). These privileges are unearned and often out of awareness or invisible.

Self-Assessment Tools for Personal Reflection

Part of becoming anti-racist is to know yourself well. How do your social identities, life experiences and beliefs influence the way that you move in the world, viewing, responding to, and interacting with others?

What Can I Do?

What actions can you take to combat racism? First, engage in reflexivity—know yourself. Then, continue to educate yourself, not relying on others to do this for you or to tell you what to do.

Additional Resources for a Deeper Dive

These are books you can read to take a deeper dive:

  • Waking Up White: Debby Irving
  • White Fragility: Robin D’Angelo
  • Between the World and Me: Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • The New Jim Crow: Michelle Alexander
  • Just Mercy : Bryan Stevenson
  • Me and White Supremacy: Layla F. Saad
  • So You Want to Talk About Race: Ijeomo Oluo
  • How to be Anti-Racist: Ibram X. Kendi