Below are some terms that may be helpful when exposed to or participating in discussions about racism in ourselves, our community, and our society.

 

Institutional Racism -- the policies and practices within and across institutions that, intentionally or not, produce outcomes that chronically favor, or put a racial group at a disadvantage. (The Aspen Institute)

 

Intent vs Impact – the understanding that our intentions don’t always align with what we say or do, and this can impact how others receive what we say or do. (she+ geeks out Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Blog)

 

Racism -- 1, a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race; 2, a doctrine or political program based on the assumption of racism and designed to execute its principles (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

 

Systemic Racism -- (sometimes used synonymously with "structural racism") The historical, cultural and social psychological roots and results of a system in which public policies, institutional practices, cultural representations, and other norms work in various, often reinforcing ways to perpetuate racial group inequity. (The Aspen Institute)

 

White Fragility -- the tendency among members of the dominant white cultural group to have a defensive, wounded, angry, or dismissive response to evidence of racism. (Dictionary.com)

 

White Privilege -- whites’ historical and contemporary advantages in access to quality education, decent jobs and liveable wages, homeownership, retirement benefits, wealth and so on; described by white author Peggy Macintosh in 1989’s “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” as ”an invisible package of unearned assets which I can count on cashing in every day, but about which I was meant to remain oblivious.” (The Aspen Institute)

 

White Supremacy -- a term used to characterize various belief systems central to which are one or more of the following key tenets: 1) whites should have dominance over people of other backgrounds, especially where they may co-exist; 2) whites should live by themselves in a whites-only society; 3) white people have their own "culture" that is superior to other cultures; 4) white people are genetically superior to other people. (Anti-Defamation League)