Racism in America is like dust in the air. It seems invisible — even if you’re choking on it — until you let the sun in. Then you see it’s everywhere. As long as we keep shining that light, we have a chance of cleaning it wherever it lands. But we have to stay vigilant, because it’s always still in the air. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Los Angeles Times Op Ed, June 1, 2020
Racism is an insidious disease and combatting this complex system of social and political levers requires ongoing attention from our community and from the institutions that serve this community. To be proactive in eradicating racism, one must think critically about how to best address anti-blackness and recognize privilege. Shared below and on the other guide pages are resources to assist you in understanding systemic racism, taking action, finding data, conducting research, and connecting with UM and local and national resources. Black lives DO matter. In Missoula. In Montana. Everywhere.
We continue to add to this guide. If you have suggested resources for us to include, please email us.
Anti-Racism. The work of actively opposing racism by advocating for changes in political, economic, and social life. Anti-racism tends to be an individualized approach, and set up in opposition to individual racist behaviors and impacts.
Racial Justice. The systematic fair treatment of people of all races, resulting in equitable opportunities and outcomes for all. Racial justice—or racial equity—goes beyond “anti-racism.” It is not just the absence of discrimination and inequities, but also the presence of deliberate systems and supports to achieve and sustain racial equity through proactive and preventative measures.
Racism. Historically rooted system of power hierarchies based on race—infused in our institutions, policies and culture—that benefit White people and hurt people of color. Racism isn’t limited to individual acts of prejudice, either deliberate or accidental. Rather, the most damaging racism is built into systems and institutions that shape our lives. Most coverage of race and racism is not “systemically aware,” meaning that it either focuses on racism at the level of individuals’ speech or actions, individual-level racism, dismisses systemic racism, or refers to racism in the past tense.
White Supremacy. A form of racism centered upon the belief that White people are superior to people of other racial backgrounds and that Whites should politically, economically, and socially dominate non-Whites. While often associated with violence perpetrated by the KKK and other White supremacist groups, it also describes a political ideology and systemic oppression that perpetuates and maintains the social, political, historical and/or industrial White domination.
Race Forward. (2015). Key terms and concepts. In Race reporting guide (pp. 25-34).
Keep in mind: Racism like “many other important concepts in the social sciences, does not have a universally acknowledged or accepted definition. Rather, the concept is defined in different ways by social scientists, and the different definitions have important implications for the processes of public policy."
Smith, R. C. (2021). Racism. In R. C. Smith (ed.), Encyclopedia of African-American politics (3rd ed.). Facts On File.