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Hunter Library
Research Guides
Western Carolina University


resources for allies and activists

What is Racism?

"Racism is a marriage of racist policies and racist ideas that produces and normalizes racial inequities...Racial inequity is when two or more racial groups are not standing on approximately equal footing...A racist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial inequity between racial groups" (Kendi, 2019, p. 17-18). 

"Individual racism refers to a person’s racist assumptions, beliefs, or behaviors. Individual racism stems from conscious and unconscious bias and is reinforced by structural racism" (Alexander, 2020). "Structural racism is a system, or series of systems, in which institutional practices, laws, policies, social-cultural standards, and socio-political decisions establish and reinforce norms that perpetuate racial group inequities" (Alexander, 2020).

What is Colorblindness?

"The color blind individual, by ostensibly failing to see race, fails to see racism and falls into racist passivity. The language of color blindness--like the language of "not racist"--is a mask to hide racism" (Kendi, 2019, p. 10).  As a result, white people tend to believe that "if blacks and other minorities would just stop thinking about the past, work hard, and complain less (particularly about racial discrimination), then Americans of all hues could 'all get along'" (Bonilla-Silva, 2003).

Examples include:

  • I don't see color. I just see people.
  • We're all just people.
  • I don't care if you're black, white, green, or purple-polka-dotted!
  • #AllLivesMatter

(Simmons University Library, 2020)

Additional resources:

What is White Supremacy?

White supremacy is "both individual belief that white people are inherently better than others and the broad systems of inequality that insure racial disparity of health, income, life, and freedom. Please note that systems can produce white supremacist outcomes without individual belief or racial animus" (xii).

--From Belew, Kathleen, Khaled Beydoun, Adam Goodman, Carly Goodman, Emily Gorcenski, Nicole Hemmer, Cassie Miller, Cynthia Miller-Idriss, Jessica Ordaz, and Croix Saffin. “Thoughts on the Associated Press Stylebook.” In A Field Guide to White Supremacy, edited by Kathleen Belew and Ramón A. Gutiérrez, 1st ed., ix–xvi. University of California Press, 2021.