Race– A socially constructed category (grouping) based on appearance, and does not carry any biological meaning. Race becomes socially significant when members of a society routinely divide people into groups based on the possession of these characteristics. (Source)  You do not choose your “race.”

Ethnicity– A group or several groups that an individual chooses to identify with. A measure of cultural affiliation. Ethnic groups share common culture, language, practices/traditions, and religion. This is chosen.

Racism – Individual racism is a personal belief in the superiority of one’s race over another. It is linked to racial prejudice and discriminatory behaviors, which can be an expression of implicit and explicit bias. (Source)

Institutionalized Racism – A system of assigning value and allocating opportunity based on skin color. It unfairly privileges some individuals and groups over others and influences social institutions in our legal, educational, and governmental systems. It is reflected in disparities in, but not limited to, wealth, income, justice, employment, housing, medicine, education, and voting. It can be expressed implicitly or explicitly and occurs when a certain group is targeted and discriminated against based on race. (Source)

Privilege – Unearned social power accorded by the formal and informal institutions of society to ALL members of a dominant group (e.g. white privilege, male privilege, etc.). Privilege is usually invisible to those who have it because we’re taught not to see it, but nevertheless it puts them at an advantage over those who do not have it. (Source)

White Supremacy – The idea (ideology) that white people and the ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions of white people are superior to People of Color and their ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions. While most people associate white supremacy with extremist groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazis, white supremacy is ever present in our institutional and cultural assumptions that assign value, morality, goodness, and humanity to the white group while casting people and communities of color as worthless (worth less), immoral, bad, and inhuman and “undeserving.” Drawing from critical race theory, the term “white supremacy” also refers to a political or socio-economic system where white people enjoy structural advantage and rights that other racial and ethnic groups do not, both at a collective and an individual level. (Source)

Bias – Bias is an inclination toward (or away from) one way of thinking, often based on how you were raised. For example, in one of the most high-profile trials of the 20th century, O.J. Simpson was acquitted of murder. Many people remain biased against him years later, treating him like a convicted killer anyway. (Source)

Prejudice – Refers to a preconceived opinion or feeling toward a person based solely on their affiliation with a group. It often casts an unfavorable light on someone simply because they’re a member of some ethnic group, religion, or organization. (Source)

Discrimination – Comes into play when one starts acting upon a prejudice they possess regarding a certain group of people. For example, during the time of slavery, white men and women held unfavorable views (prejudice) against African Americans and, in turn, discriminated against them through slavery, segregation, and other heinous acts. Prejudice is the opinion or viewpoint; discrimination is the action. (Source)

Implicit bias – Unconscious biases about people that are contingent on how they talk and look. Such instant judgments, called implicit bias, involve “automatically categorizing people according to cultural stereotypes,” (Source)

  • microassault is a “verbal or nonverbal attack meant to hurt the intended victim through name-calling, avoidant behavior, or purposeful discriminatory actions.” Example: Students wear Confederate flag clothing.
  • microinsult is insensitive communication that demeans someone’s racial identity, signaling to people of color that “their contributions are unimportant.” Example: A teacher corrects the grammar only of Hispanic children.
  • microinvalidation involves negating or ignoring the “psychological thoughts, feelings, or experiential reality of a person of color.” Example: An Asian American student from the U.S. is asked where she was born, which conveys the message that she is not really an American. (Source)

Marginalization – The act of relegating someone to an unimportant or powerless position—making them feel, if you will, like they’re the notes squeezed into the margins of society. Scrawled. Practically unreadable. Small. (Source)


  • Eight of the first 12 US presidents were slave owners. 
  • Oregon’s constitution removed its exclusionary clause, prohibiting black people to enter the state, in 1926.
  • In 1948, the US military desegregated, by executive order.
  • In 1954, in the Brown v Board of Education ruling, the supreme court ruled that segregation was unconstitutional and schools would have to integrate.
  • Between 1880 and 1950, an African-American was lynched more than once a week for some perceived breach of the “racial hierarchy”. 1950 was only 70 years ago.
  • The first anti-miscegenation statute – prohibiting marriage between races – was written into law in Maryland in 1661, shortly after enslaved people were brought to the colonies. By the 1960s, 21 states, most of them in the south, still had those laws in place. Alabama was the last state to repeal the ban on interracial marriage, in 2000.”
  • The PWA (Public Works Administration) for example, “designated many integrated neighborhoods as either white or black and then used public housing to make the designation come true—by installing whites-only projects in mixed neighborhoods it deemed ‘white’ and blacks-only projects in those it deemed ‘colored.’”
  • In New York City, where people of color make up about half of the population, 80% of the NYPD stops were of blacks and Latinos.  When whites were stopped, only 8% were frisked.  When blacks and Latinos are stopped 85% were frisked, according to information provided by the NYPD.
  • African Americans, who are 13% of the population and 14% of drug users, are not only 37% of the people arrested for drugs but 56% of the people in state prisons for drug offenses. 
  • For every 100,000 Black men there are 2,272 inmates, whereas for every 100,000 white men there are just 392 inmates. (Considering, 13% of the Population – Black)
  • Despite widespread reforms to state marijuana policies, the racial disparity has even gotten worse over the years, not better. For instance, in 2010, Black people were 3.31 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people, and over the years the rate ticked up to 3.64 in 2018.
  • In 2018, the average Black worker earned just 62% of what the average white worker made.
  • The U.S. Sentencing Commission reported in March 2010 that in the  federal system black offenders receive sentences that are 10% longer than white  offenders for the same crimes.  Marc Mauer of the Sentencing Project reports  African Americans are 21% more likely to receive mandatory minimum sentences  than white defendants and 20% more like to be sentenced to prison than white  drug defendants. (Source)
  • Large subdivisions developed with FHA support like Levittown, New York, were built on conditions that they be all white. The homes in those places sold, in today’s dollars, about $100,000 a piece. They cost twice the national median income and were easily affordable to African-Americans as well as whites, but only working-class whites were permitted to buy into those homes. In the next several generations, those homes sell for seven-to-eight times the median national income – unaffordable to working-class families. So the segregation that took place when the homes were first built created a permanent system that locked African-Americans out of it as appreciation grew. White families gained in home equity, in wealth, from the appreciation of their homes. African-Americans who were forced to live in apartments and not be homeowners gained none of that appreciation. The result is that today African-American average incomes are about 60 percent of white incomes, but African-Americans’ average wealth is about 5 percent of white wealth. That enormous difference is almost entirely attributable to unconstitutional federal housing policy in the mid-20th century (1950’s).
  • On the origins of Jim Crow & Jim Crow laws – Thomas Dartmouth Rice, a white man, was born in New York City in 1808. He devoted himself to the theater in his twenties, and in the early 1830s, he began performing the act that would make him famous: he painted his face black and did a song and dance he claimed were inspired by a slave he saw. The act was called “Jump, Jim Crow” (or “Jumping Jim Crow”). (Source) Popularity as a fictional character eventually died out, but in the late 19th century the phrase found new life as a blanket term for a wave of anti-black laws laid down after Reconstruction. Some of the most common laws included restrictions on voting rights—many Southern states required literacy tests or limited suffrage to those whose grandfathers had also had the right to vote—bans on interracial relationships and clauses that allowed businesses to separate their black and white clientele. The segregationist philosophy of “separate but equal” was later upheld in the famous 1896 Supreme Court decision “Plessy vs. Ferguson,” in which the Court ruled that the state of Louisiana had the right to require different railroad cars for blacks and whites. The “Plessy” decision would eventually lead to widespread adoption of segregated restaurants, public bathrooms, water fountains and other facilities. “Separate but equal” was eventually overturned in the 1954 Supreme Court Case “Brown vs. Board of Education,” but Jim Crow’s legacy would continue to endure in some Southern states until the 1970s. (Source)
  • WoolWorth – Despite making some gains, Black Americans still experienced blatant prejudice in their daily lives. On February 1, 1960, four college students took a stand against segregation in Greensboro, North Carolina when they refused to leave a Woolworth’s lunch counter without being served. Over the next several days, hundreds of people joined their cause in what became known as the Greensboro sit-ins. After some were arrested and charged with trespassing, protesters launched a boycott of all segregated lunch counters until the owners caved and the original four students were finally served at the Woolworth’s lunch counter where they’d first stood their ground.
  • Freedom Riders – On May 4, 1961, 13 “Freedom Riders”—seven Black and six white activists–mounted a Greyhound bus in Washington, D.C., embarking on a bus tour of the American south to protest segregated bus terminals. They were testing the 1960 decision by the Supreme Court in Boynton v. Virginia that declared the segregation of interstate transportation facilities unconstitutional. Facing violence from both police officers and white protesters, the Freedom Rides drew international attention. On Mother’s Day 1961, the bus reached Anniston, Alabama, where a mob mounted the bus and threw a bomb into it. The Freedom Riders escaped the burning bus, but were badly beaten…On May 24, 1961, a group of Freedom Riders reached Jackson, Mississippi. Though met with hundreds of supporters, the group was arrested for trespassing in a “whites-only” facility and sentenced to 30 days in jail. Attorneys for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) brought the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court, who reversed the convictions. Hundreds of new Freedom Riders were drawn to the cause, and the rides continued. In the fall of 1961, under pressure from the Kennedy administration, the Interstate Commerce Commission issued regulations prohibiting segregation in interstate transit terminals. (Source)
  • The Tulsa Race Riot – The Destruction of “Black Wall Street” in the Greenwood district of Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1921. In a span of just 24 hours, 35 square blocks were burned and over 1,200 houses destroyed. Contemporary reports of deaths began at 36, but historians now believe as many as 300 people died when an argument broke out between a 17 year old white girl, and 19 year old black man.  The event remains one of the worst incidents of racial violence in U.S. history, and one of the least-known. “Oklahoma schools did not talk about it. In fact, newspapers didn’t even print any information about the Tulsa Race Riot,” US Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma told CNN affiliate KFOR in 2018. “It was completely ignored. It was one of those horrible events that everyone wanted to sweep under the rug and ignore.” (source)
  • History or Race Riots Since 1965 – Police brutality can be seen as a story of a continuing cycle of violence and death, a cycle which is continued by a failure to achieve comprehensive reform, and a cycle which will continue unless we strive to repair a broken system or fight to change it. Breaking the cycle means fixing a broken system, and if we are able to do so, then perhaps we may begin to heal. (Source)

Additional Sources


Watch 13th Here

James Baldwin Discusses Racism

Civil Rights Crash Course

The Origin of Race in the USA

Ex Slaves talk about Slavery in the USA

History of Police Brutality





1921 Tulsa Massacre

Racism Didn’t Stop at Jim Crow



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