Day 5: Levels of Racism

  • When thinking about racism, many people envision it in one dimension – the individual person who makes assumptions about people of color. This learned prejudice is often shaped by the beliefs, biases, and personal experiences encountered by individuals throughout their lives. 

    We also may think of racism as overt acts of hatred, including intimidation, the burning of Black churches, and other outrageous acts outlined in books such as the 1960 novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and movies such as the 1989 release, “Mississippi Burning.” Most people can recognize these types of actions and call them out for the despicable behavior that it is. But that isn’t enough.

    This internalized racism is reinforced by other, larger levels of systemic racism that exist throughout our society in policies and organizations. Understanding these levels of racism is key to combating them and our ability to make real change.

    Did You Know?

    Known for its diverse school community, Rush-Henrietta is becoming even more reflective of the world. Eight years ago, 65 percent of our Royal Comets were white students. Today, that number is 56 percent. Every day, our students get a glimpse of what it looks like to be a global citizen.

    Resources for Learning

    Option 1: Read more about the Four Levels of Racism from Race Forward

    Option 2: Watch Systemic Racism Explained (4:23)

    Option 3: Watch Cultural Competence Continuum (3:02)

    Consider these ways to reflect, grow, and take action:

    Questions to Consider for Self-Reflection: 

    • Were the definitions offered of the levels of racism consistent with what you understood them to mean? How did they differ? What haven’t you previously considered?
    • How do you see internalized racism impacting you personally?

    Cultural Competence Continuum Activities for Reflection and Discussion:

    Office of Professional Learning Google Site Offering: 

    Additional ResourcesHow to Be An Antiracist

    "How to Be an Antiracist," by Ibram X. Kendi

    This New York Times #1 bestseller provides a practical guide to moving beyond awareness of racism to actively contributing to a more equitable society.


    R-H Equity Journey Copyright © 2021, All rights reserved.

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