Systemic Racism chart White Supremacy Racial Slurs Hate Crimes Internment Camps Slavery Jim Crow Trail of Tears Voter Suppression Redlining Stop and Frisk ID Stops Hiring Laws Media Representation Assuming Whiteness Language Discrimination Overt Covert Institutional Individual


Overt Racism: Not hidden - out in the open, visible. Examples: public behavior, discriminatory laws that reference race or identity

Covert Racism: Hidden, often masked by descriptions of rationales that hide the racist results

Institutional Racism: When institutions (such as companies, banks, churches, schools, governments, and the media) treat groups of people negatively based on race

Individual Racism: When an individual treats people or groups of people negatively based on race

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Jim Crow

In the 1870s southern state legislatures passed laws segregating whites and people of colour. For example schools, blacks and whites would go to different schools typically with whites having the the nicer building and supplies and black schools having the old buildings and the old supplies like books with pages ripped out and typically sat on the floor instead of chairs and desks. Buses, people of colour had to sit in the back of the bus and if a white person came on the bus and didnt have a seat they would have to give up their seat and stand up. It extended to parks, cemeteries, restaurants, and theatres because they wanted to try to prevent most contacted with people of colour and white people.

These laws segregating the races are called Jim Crow laws. They got this name from a film in the 1830s where white actor Thomas Dartmouth played a clumsy, dim-witted, slave. He said he got the idea for the character from an elderly black man sitting on the street singing “Jump Jim Crow”. He then turned Jim Crow into a character. He used makeup to get a black face, in the movie he preformed jokes and songs stereotyping slaves. As the show’s popularity spread “Jim Crow” became a popular term for black people.

Though Jim Crow laws were officially repealed in the late 1950s, there are still many covert laws and regulations that don’t say they are towards a certain group of people but they tend to affect certain groups in a negative way. For example, a lot of jobs won’t hire people that have been in jail or in any trouble with the law. Black people tend to be arrested more, even for things they didn’t do because some police tend to assume that they are dangerous and watch them more closely or even arrest them. Since they have now been arrested, it will be harder for them to get a job.

An example of police brutality is Philando Castile: after being pulled over and asked for his licence and registration, he then told the officer that he had a gun in the glove box and had a licence for it and then the officer said “Don’t reach for it then” when Philando opened his glove box to get his registration the officer shot him seven times and the officer did not get arrested.

Trail of Tears

“The waves of population and civilization are rolling to the westward, and we now propose to acquire the countries occupied by the red men of the South and West by a fair exchange, and, at the expense of the United States, to send them to land where their existence may be prolonged and perhaps made perpetual.”
Andrew Jackson’s speech to Congress on Indian Removal

In 1830, President Andrew Jackson gave a speech to Congress, attempting to solve the problem of “Indian Removal,” an idea introduced by George Washington. The Indian Removal Act promised the indigenous people that no one would force them into giving up their lands, and promised Congress that these “savages” would be overcome with gratitude and joy, thankful for this new opportunity to welcome the Christian way of life, and to learn to read and write in English.

In 1838, about 16,000 Cherokees were forced off their land, with no time to gather belongings, at the end of the bayonets from 7,000 U.S. troops. With no food, water, or help from the government, they were made to walk about 2,220 miles to what is now Oklahoma. With no government support, 3,000-4,000 people died from cold, starvation and exhaustion.

As a Choctaw leader later told a newspaper reporter from Alabama, this was a “trail of tears and death.”

When we talk about the Trail of Tears, we mostly focus on the Cherokees. They were not the only ones forced to move. However, they were one of the only tribes who refused to sign the agreement put forth by the president.


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Stop and Frisk

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ID Stops

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Hiring Laws

The Birmingham campaign was partially what inspired John F. Kennedy to pass the civil rights act of 1964. The civil rights act outlawed, as well as other things,discrimination based on race,color,sex,or national origin.

It can be hard for people in minority communities to get good jobs.One study said that white names are 50% more likely to get called back than black names,for the same resume.Another study said that in an average of studies since 1989 ,whites got 36% more callbacks than blacks,and 24% more than Latinos,this has not changed in the past 25 years.

Federal hiring law only covers employers that have 15 or more employees.That means that all small business owners do not have to follow federal hiring laws,that means that small business owners are allowed to discriminate in their hiring practices. That means it can be hard for women,african americans,and other ethnic groups to get jobs.

There are government agencies that can investigate issues of discrimination,they can order employers to give a job, give a job back,or give money. Or you can file a lawsuit,then the judge or jury can do the same.But when the employee feels that the employer is being discriminatory the employer does not have to prove that they were not discriminating,the employee has to prove that they were discriminating,also the employer has all the information,in all those ways the law makes hard to prove.

Other links for information on hiring laws and practices, visit the US equal employment opportunity commision

Media Representation

Media representation is a covert institutional-type racism. It is in plays, movies, TV shows, books, and other media, when a certain group of people aren’t given a role, or are given only a negative role. The receiver of the media can develop prejudices based on the media they are presented with. For example, in some places in the US, not a lot of racial diversity exists, and for some white folks the only experience with people of color they have is in the media. But a person in a group who has been represented negatively in the media might develop stereotypes about their own group as well. They might believe that they don’t have the opportunity or ability to do something they want to do.

But media representation is not only about race. It’s also about gender, sexual orientation, religion, and other identities. Women made up less than one-third of lead characters in top movies in 2016. Because of this women can be led to believe that they have no option of being a lead character and therefore let themselves be moved to where the men want to put them in the media. Black, Asian, and Latin-American actors were completely left out of acting categories in the Academy Awards last year, and the year before that.

If media representation was conquered, imagine if you watched a movie and the cast was diverse and equal. Think about how, if the villain was a person of color, you wouldn’t have to be worried about whether or not it was a racist because the cast of good and bad would be equal. In places with not a lot of racial, sexual, or religious diversity, equal media representation might take care of a lot of prejudices that people have from the messages they now receive from the media.

Here are some links to learn more on media representation: Why On-Screen Representative Actually Matters and What is Hollywood Whitewashing?

This link contains some racial slurs and mature sexual information Representation of Race and Gender in the Media

Racial Slurs

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Hate Crimes

A hate crime is when someone is threatening you, harassing you, or physically harming you because of the way they think about your race, physical appearance, disability, sexual orientation or identity. Different states have different laws about hate crimes. Here are some examples of hate crimes from 2017

  • A college student was going home and saw people arguing outside his home . One of those people called him a racial slur and punched him in the face. This happened September 2017. More information
  • In June of 2017 a white British man drove a white van into a group of Muslims that were leaving prayers during Ramadan. One person died ten were injured. More information
  • In May of 2017 a man was on a train out of Portland and was yelling at two woman, one of whom was wearing a hijab. Three people were trying to stop him so the man stabbed them and two died and the other was injured. More information

Some hate crimes are smaller like yelling at someone and some are bigger like murder. It is important to talk about hate crimes because they are real and you should know what is happening.

Assuming Whiteness

Assuming whiteness is when you have a picture in your head of what a person looks like and in your head they are white even though they could be a person of color. This could happen when you are listening to the radio or talking to a person on the phone. You could be going over to someone’s house for dinner and imagining that they are white.

Assuming whiteness can cause problems when you are not thinking about the other racial groups. As a result, you might act like they are not important and ignore them.