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Overview of Structural Racism

Structural racism includes the aspects of our history and culture that have allowed the privilege associated with 'whiteness' and the disadvantage of 'color' to endure and adapt over time. A discussion of structural racism points out the ways in which public policies and institutional practices contribute to inequitable racial outcomes. It lays out assumptions and stereotypes that are embedded in our culture that, in effect, legitimize racial disparities, and it illuminates the ways in which progress toward racial equity is undermined.

[FN Karen Fulbright-Anderson, Keith Lawrence, Stacey Sutton, Gretchen Susi, and Anne Kubisch. Structural Racism and Youth Development Issues, Challenges, and Implications, Aspen Institute Roundtable on Community Change Working Paper Series. (New York: The Aspen Institute, 2004).]

The Aspen Institute's publication, Structural Racism and Community Building, shares how we can use a structural racism lens in our work: "The structural racism lens allows us to see that, as a society, we more or less take for granted a context of white leadership, dominance, and privilege. This dominant consensus on race is the frame that shapes our attitudes and judgments about social issues. It has come about as a result of the way that historically accumulated white privilege, national values, and contemporary culture has interacted so as to preserve the gaps between white Americans and Americans of color."

[FN Keith Lawrence , Stacey Sutton, Anne Kubisch, Gretchen Susi, and Karen Fulbright-Anderson. Structural Racism and Community Building, Aspen Institute Roundtable on Community Change. (Washington, D.C.: The Aspen Institute, 2004), p. 12.]

African American Policy Forum
[PDF, 991kb]
Poverty and Race Research Action Council
[PDF, 897kb]
Aspen Institute Roundtable on Community Change
[PDF, 545kb]
[external web site]
Center for Social Inclusion
[PDF, 112kb]
S. Menedian and C. Watt
[PDF, 654kb]
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