Racial Equity & Anti-Black Racism

UCSF Definition of Racism

Racism is a system of structuring opportunity and assigning value based on the social interpretation of how one looks (which is what we call "race") that:

  • unfairly disadvantages some individuals and communities,
  • unfairly advantages other individuals and communities,
  • and saps the strength of the whole society through the waste of human resources.

Read more in "Toward the Science and Practice of Anti-Racism: Launching a National Campaign Against Racism"

Source: Camara Phyllis Jones, MD, MPH, PhD

Race is a social construct and a concept which signifies and symbolizes social conflicts and interests by referring to different types of human bodies. (Omi & Winant, 1994, p.54)

Racism is belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race (Omi & Winant, 1994, p.54)

Racism is a SYSTEM. It is not an individual character flaw, nor a personal moral failing, nor a psychiatric illness. It is a system (consisting of structures, policies, practices, and norms) that structures opportunity and assigns value based on phenotype, or the way people look. It unfairly disadvantages some individuals and communities. Yet even more profoundly, the system of racism undermines realization of the full potential of our whole society because of the waste of human resources.

Source: Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice & Health

Racial Equity is the condition that would be achieved if one's racial identity no longer predicted, in a statistical sense, how one fares. When we use the term, we are thinking about racial equity as one part of racial justice, and thus we also include work to address root causes of inequities, not just their manifestation. This includes elimination of policies, practices, attitudes, and cultural messages that reinforce differential outcomes by race or that fail to eliminate them.

Source: Center for Assessmet and Policy Development


"The opposite of racist is not "not racist", it's anti-racist". -Dr. Ibram X. Kendi

  • Antiracism: is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracists.
  • Racist: one who is supporting a racist policy through their actions or inaction or expressing a racist idea.
  • Antiracist: one who is supporting an antiracist policy through their actions or expressing an antiracist idea.

Source: How to Be an Antiracist (Kendi, 2019)

Anti-Black Racism

Anti-Blackness as being a two-part formation that:

  • both strips Blackness of value (dehumanizes), and
  • systematically marginalizes Black people.

This form of anti-Blackness is overt racism. Society also associates politically incorrect comments with the overt nature of anti-Black racism. Beneath this anti-Black racism is the covert structural and systemic racism which predetermines the socioeconomic status of Blacks in this country and is held in place by anti-Black policies, institutions, and ideologies.

Anti-Blackness is also the disregard for anti-Black institutions and policies. This disregard is the product of class, race, and/or gender privilege certain individuals experience due to anti-Black institutions and policies.

Source: Council for the Democratizing Education

Resources for Anti-Racism

Videos & Podcasts

Tools & Organizations

Resources for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) Communities

Books on Race & Anti-Racism

  • So You Want to Talk about Race (Ijeoma Olue)
  • Race Matters (Cornel West)
  • Killing Rage: Ending Racism (bell hooks)
  • Critical Race Theory (Richard Delgado & Jean Stefancic)
  • The People's History of the United States (Howard Zinn)
  • A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America (Ronald Takaki)
  • The Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Paulo Freire)
  • The Invention of the White Race (Theodore W. Allen)
  • Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-Winning Stamped from the Beginning (Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi)
  • Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice (Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha)