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Anti-Black Racism

Guide to resources available at the McGill University Library to self-educating on Anti-Black Racism

About Anti-Black Racism

This page contains definitions and reference materials to begin understanding terms and concepts such as racism, anti-racism, anti-black racism, etc.

Some Key Definitions and Links to Learn More

  • Anti-Black Racism: While not yet defined in dictionaries, groups and institutions such as the Black Health Alliance and the Canadian Association of Mental Health, building from Dr. Akua Benjamin's pioneering work, have defined Anti-Black Racism as "policies and practices rooted in Canadian institutions such as, education, health care, and justice that mirror and reinforce beliefs, attitudes, prejudice, stereotyping and/or discrimination towards people of Black-African descent."
  • Anti-Racism: Oxford Reference shows a lack of definitions for this outside of the standard dictionary (ie no subject-specific definition). The Oxford Dictionary of English states that anti-racism is "the policy or practice of opposing racism and promoting racial tolerance. "
  • Racism: Oxford Reference offers differing definitions depending on the field of study; the Dictionary of the Social Sciences entry begins "A form of prejudice based on the belief that certain racial groups are inherently superior to others." John McWhorter, in The Atlantic, points out the arguments from Ibram X. Kendi and others that reveal the limitations of this kind of definition and the need for expansion.
  • Discrimination: Like Racism (above), Oxford Reference offers definitions by field/discipline. The Dictionary of the Social Sciences entry begins "Most social-science usage refers to the unequal treatment of groups based on their particular identities—generally, racial and ethnic groups but also extending to nearly any distinguishable identity category, including age (ageism) and gender (sexism)."
  • Individual Racism: “Individual Racism is structured by an ideology (set of ideas, values and beliefs) that frames one's negative attitudes towards others; and is reflected in the willful, conscious/unconscious, direct/indirect, or intentional/unintentional words or actions of individuals.  This is one of the three levels that make up Systemic Racism.” – from the Canadian Race Relations Federation Glossary of Terms.
  • Institutional Racism: “Institutional Racism exists in organizations or institutions where the established rules, policies, and regulations are both informed by, and inform, the norms, values, and principles of institutions. These in turn, systematically produce differential treatment of, or discriminatory practices towards various groups based on race. It is enacted by individuals within organizations, who because of their socialization, training and allegiance to the organization abide by and enforce these rules, policies and regulations. It essentially maintains a system of social control that favours the dominant groups in society (status quo). This is one of the three levels that make up Systemic Racism.” -- from the Canadian Race Relations Federation Glossary of Terms.
  • Systemic Racism: “This is an interlocking and reciprocal relationship between the individual, institutional and structural levels which function as a system of racism. These various levels of racism operate together in a lockstep model and function together as whole system. These levels are: Individual (within interactions between people), Institutional (within institutions and systems of power), Structural or societal (among institutional and across society)” – from the Canadian Race Relations Federation Glossary of Terms.
  • Structural/Societal Racism: “Structural or Societal Racism pertains to the ideologies upon which society is structured. These ideologies are inscribed through rules, policies and laws; and represents the ways in which the deep rooted inequities of society produce differentiation, categorization, and stratification of society's members based on race. Participation in economic, political, social, cultural, judicial and educational institutions also structure this stratification (Carl James, 2010). This is one of the three levels that make up Systemic Racism.” -- Canadian Race Relations Federation Glossary of Terms.

Introductory Texts

Back of a woman holding a rainbow sign that reads Rage against Racism

Source: Garry Knight


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