University of Wisconsin–Madison

Antiracism and Activism

Definitions

Antiracism

The act of opposing racism and/or white supremacy in all forms — even the racism that exists within you and the forms you perpetuate with your behaviors. It is about identifying the root causes of racism and putting an end to them. Activism without antiracism is merely white saviorism by another name. No good deed as an activist will remove your responsibilities in antiracism. (from The Antiracism Starter Kit – A Where Change Started Action Guide) Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas. (Kendi, 20)

Anti-Blackness

Anti-Blackness is defined as the beliefs, attitudes, actions, practices, and behaviors of individuals and institutions that devalue, minimize, and marginalize the full participation of Black people — individuals who are visibly (or perceived to be) of African descent. Anti-Blackness is the systematic denial of Black humanity and dignity, which makes Black people effectively ineligible for full citizenship. The anti-Blackness paradigm positions Blackness as inherently problematic, rather than recognizing the long, rich, and diverse history of Black people throughout the African diaspora, and acknowledging that Black communities across the United States (and the world) have been severely disadvantaged as a result of historical and contemporary systemic racism. (from the Antibiogotry Symposium, hosted by the Boston University (BU) Center for Antiracist Research)

Race

Race is a social construct; it is not biological. Race is a human-invented classification system that was created to define physical differences between people but has more often been used as a tool for oppression and violence. (Center for Health Progress) Race creates new forms of power: the power to categorize and judge, elevate and downgrade, include and exclude. Race markers use that power to process distinct individuals, ethnicities, and nationalities into monolithic races. (Kendi, 38)

Racism

Racism is not simply racial prejudice, hatred, or discrimination. Racism is a marriage of racist policies and racist ideas that produces and normalizes racial inequity. (from How to be Antiracist by Ibram Kendi, p. 17-18)

Systemic (structural) Racism

A complex sociopolitical system of public policies, institutional practices, cultural representations, and other norms that work in various ways, by which racism and racial group inequity is developed, maintained, perpetuated, and protected. (Adapted from racialequitytools.org)

Why antiracism?

Moving Beyond Diversity Toward Racial Equity

How might organizations move beyond the diversity narrative toward racial equity and organizational transformation?

What it means to be antiracist

Learn more about the history, meaning and practice of anti-racism.

Racism has a Cost for Everyone

Racism makes our economy worse — and not just in ways that harm people of color, says public policy expert Heather C. McGhee. From her research and travels across the U.S., McGhee shares startling insights into how racism fuels bad policymaking and drains our economic potential — and McGhee offers a crucial rethink on what we can do to create a more prosperous nation for all.

Taking action (activism) and ongoing learning

Center for Antiracist Research

A collaborative research and education effort that spans multiple disciplines with the goal of building a world where racial equity and social justice prevail.

Anti-racism resources

A collection of anti-racism resources and learning opportunities, particularly for white people who are interested and willing to engage in their own learning, un-learning, and accountability of racism and anti-racism.

An Anti-Racism Rubric for Campus Units

An anti-racism assessment tool developed by the Badger Anti-Racist Coalition (BARC) intended for campus units and departments to evaluate current practices.

Institutes for the Healing of Racism

Founded on the belief that racism is the most powerful and persistent obstacle to attain a just and peaceful society, the Institutes seeks to create spaces where people of all races can fully engage in open, honest dialogue, free of blame and victimization. The Institutes for the Healing of Racism provides a ten-week, dialogue-based learning series that aims to raise consciousness about the history of racism and centers racial healing in individuals, communities, and institutions in Madison.

Framework for Advancing Anti-racism Strategy on Campus

A comprehensive framework to advance anti-racism strategies and efforts within higher education. This framework outlines several priority areas as an entry point to move anti-racism forward on college campuses.

Center for Urban Education Racial Equity Tools

A collection of tools intended to support leaders on campus to work toward achieving racial equity.

Government Alliance on Race Equity

A national network of government organizations working to achieve racial equity.

Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership Development

A center dedicated to empowering and supporting families and children who live on the margins of society.

An anti-racist reading list by Ibram X. Kendi

A collection of readings that are intended to support you in beginning your anti-racist journey.

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