This page is intended to provide resources to understand the structural inequities and systemic racism that have impacted BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) over generations. The stories and perspectives shared are by no means limited to this LibGuide. This is not, and can not be, a complete list of available resources. These resource suggestions are simply a starting point to encourage people to do their own work and have their own hard conversations.
The Resources for Racial Justice is a LibGuide created by the Syracuse University Libraries to provide additional resources for racial justice. This evolving compilation of readings and resources, including links to local and national advocacy organizations, may serve as a starting point and reminder of how to continue the work of combating anti-Black racism and systemic oppression. Please check it out!
While there are various terms for the many levels of racism, this guide will highlight the work of Camara Jones, MD, MPH, PhD. Among her many accomplishments, she is particularly well known for her work "Levels of Racism: A Theoretic Framework and a Gardener's Tale", which employs a framework for understanding racism at three levels: institutionalized, personally mediated, and internalized racism.
Institutional racism (also known as systemic racism) refers to the differential access to the goods, services, and opportunities of society by race. Institutionalized racism is normative, sometimes legalized, and often manifests as inherited disadvantage. It is structural, having been codified in our institutions of custom, practice, and law, so there need not be an identifiable perpetrator. Institutionalized racism manifests itself both in material conditions and in access to power. Indeed, institutionalized racism is often evident as inaction in the face of need.
Personally mediated racism is defined as prejudice and discrimination, that is, differential assumptions about the abilities, motives, and intentions of others according to their race, and differential actions toward others according to their race. It manifests as lack of respect (poor or no service, failure to communicate options), suspicion (shopkeepers’ vigilance; everyday avoidance, including street crossing, purse clutching, and standing when there are empty seats on public transportation), devaluation (surprise at competence, stifling of aspirations), scapegoating, and dehumanization (police brutality, sterilization abuse, hate crimes).
Internalized racism may be defined as the acceptance by members of the stigmatized races of negative messages about their own abilities and intrinsic worth. It is characterized by their not believing in others who look like them, and not believing in themselves. It involves accepting limitations to one’s own full humanity, including one’s spectrum of dreams, one’s right to self-determination, and one’s range of allowable self-expression. It manifests as an embracing of “whiteness”, self-devaluation, and resignation, helplessness, and hopelessness.
Just Mercy: After graduating from Harvard, Bryan Stevenson heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or those not afforded proper representation. One of his first cases is that of Walter McMillian, who is sentenced to die in 1987 for the murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite evidence proving his innocence. In the years that follow, Stevenson encounters racism and legal and political maneuverings as he tirelessly fights for McMillian's life. Available on HBO Max.
The Hate U Give: Starr Carter is constantly switching between two worlds -- the poor, mostly black neighborhood where she lives and the wealthy, mostly white prep school that she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is soon shattered when she witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend at the hands of a police officer. Facing pressure from all sides of the community, Starr must find her voice and decide to stand up for what's right. Available on Hulu Premium.
American Son: When a teenage boy goes missing, his parents Kendra and Scott end up at the police precinct. While trying to figure out what happened to their son, they end up reopening old wounds concerning race, fear, and their rocky marriage in the process. Available on Netflix.
Selma: In 1965, an Alabama city became the battleground in the fight for suffrage. Despite violent opposition, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his followers pressed forward on an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, and their efforts culminated in President Lyndon Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Available to rent.
When They See Us: Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us stopped the world when she told the stories of the (now) Exonerated Five. This is a cautionary tale for some on the dangers of making the narrative match a racist agenda and insight into the fear of Black families across the country, and world. Available on Netflix.
Queen Sugar: Queen Sugar shares the beauty and complexity in family, legacy, and justice through the warmth of a Black family. Over the course of the seasons, we become even more exposed to Black rural advocacy and the power in land ownership. Available on Hulu.
Dear White People: Based on the acclaimed film of the same name, this Netflix-original series follows a group of students of color at Winchester University, a predominantly white Ivy League college. The students are faced with a landscape of cultural bias, social injustice, misguided activism and slippery politics. Available on Netflix.
“In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.” - Angela Y. Davis
When we choose to be antiracist, we become actively conscious about race and racism and take actions to end racial inequities in our daily lives. Being antiracist results from a conscious decision to make frequent, consistent, equitable choices daily. These choices require ongoing self-awareness and self-reflection as we move through life. In the absence of making antiracist choices, we (un)consciously uphold aspects of white supremacy, white-dominant culture, and unequal institutions and society. Being racist or antiracist is not about who you are; it is about what you do (National Museum of African American History & Culture)
Being antiracist is different for white people than it is for people of color. For white people, being antiracist evolves with their racial identity development. They must acknowledge and understand their privilege, work to change their internalized racism, and interrupt racism when they see it. For people of color, it means recognizing how race and racism have been internalized, and whether it has been applied to other people of color (National Museum of African American History & Culture)
Resources for Creating a Culture of Inclusion: online global resources on diversity.
Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Benchmarks: Standards for Organizations Around the World: At The Centre for Global Inclusion, our mission is to serve as a resource for research and education for individuals and organizations in their quest to improve diversity and inclusion practices around the world.
in_diverse_company: Instagram page that strives to create more inclusive cultures around the world.
A Global Perspective on Diversity and Inclusion: YouTube video panel on what's driving diversity and inclusion efforts globally and the challenges to overcome.
Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “The Case for Reparations” is a 2014 essay in the Atlantic that crafted accounts from the century and a half after the end of slavery into a powerful argument that African Americans are owed compensation for their treatment in the United States.
This New York Times Opinion article by kihana miraya ross, a professor of African-American studies was written in June 2020, "The word “racism” is everywhere. It’s used to explain all the things that cause African-Americans’ suffering and death: inadequate access to health care, food, housing and jobs, or a police bullet, baton or knee. But “racism” fails to fully capture what black people in this country are facing. The right term is “anti-blackness.”
This article highlights the importance on language and how small changes can provoke new discussions about oppression.
The pandemic has exposed the bitter terms of our racial contract, which deems certain lives of greater value than others.
The 1619 Project is an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.
Answering white people’s most commonly asked questions about the Black Lives Matter Movement. A Q&A by—and for—people with privilege who want to learn more about racial justice