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Economic Opportunity:

When families and individuals have the resources to promote their own growth and development and are motivated to support themselves and contribute to the community.


Racism is race prejudice plus the misuse of power by systems and institutions. Racism is not the same as individual race prejudice and bigotry. All people are racially prejudiced (regardless of racial/ethnic identity). It is part of the air we breathe. It is socialized into every person. But this does not mean that everyone is racist. Racism is more than race prejudice. It is more than individual attitudes and actions. Racism is the collective actions of a dominant racial group. Systemic power turns race prejudice into racism. Racial prejudice becomes racism when one group’s racial prejudices are enforced by the systems and institutions of a society, giving power and privilege based on skin color to the group in power, and limiting the power and privilege of the racial groups that are not in power.


Race is a specious (intentionally deceptive, untrue) socio/biological classification created by Europeans during the time of world-wide colonial expansion, to assign human worth and social status, using themselves as the model of humanity, for the purpose of legitimizing white power and white skin privilege.


Anti-racism includes beliefs, actions, movements, and policies adopted or developed to oppose racism. In general, anti-racism is intended to promote an egalitarian society in which people do not face discrimination on the basis of their race, however defined. By its nature, anti-racism tends to promote the view that racism in a particular society is both pernicious and socially pervasive, and that particular changes in political, economic, and/or social life are required to eliminate it.

Systemic Power:

Systemic Power is the legitimate/legal ability to access and/or control those institutions sanctioned by the state. Since the time of first contact, every system and every institution in the U. S. that was created by Europeans and European Americans was structured legally and intentionally to serve the white society exclusively or in superior ways.


Institutions – are structures and mechanisms of social order and cooperation governing the behavior of a set of individuals. Institutions are identified with a social purpose and permanence, transcending individual human lives and intentions, and with the making and enforcing of rules governing cooperative human behavior. The term, institution, is commonly applied to customs and behavior patterns important to a society, as well as to particular formal organizations of government and public service; relatively stable social arrangements and practices through which collective actions are taken. Examples of institutions are: Government, business, unions, schools, churches, courts, and police.

Institutional Racism:

Institutional Racism – “Institutions have great power to reward and penalize. They reward by providing career opportunities for some people and foreclosing them for others. They reward as well by the way social goods are distributed—by deciding who receives training and skills, medical care, formal education, political influence, moral support and self-respect, productive employment, fair treatment by the law, decent housing, self-confidence and the promise of a secure future for self and children. One of the clearest indicators of institutional racism is the exclusion of black members of society from positions of control and leadership.” (Louis Knowles and Kenneth Prewitt)


“A tendency to view alien cultures with disfavor and a resulting sense of inherent superiority.” (From Webster’s Third International Dictionary)

Cultural Racism:

When whites use power to perpetuate their cultural heritage and impose it upon others, while at the same time destroying the culture of ethnic minorities. The racially defined dominant societal group uses systemic power to impose its way of life onto oppressed groups by destroying, distorting, discounting and discrediting their cultures while simultaneously appropriating aspects of their cultures without accountability to these communities. (National Council for Social Studies)

Definition of Dismantling Institutional Racism:

Dismantling racism is a process of developing and institutionalizing accountability to people of color. It is building structures of authority and accountability within institutions that have never been there before. Institutions should serve and be accountable, to both their immediate constituency and the larger community. Institutions often turn this purpose around, and act as if people exist to serve the institution, rather than the institution existing to serve people.

Social Capital:

Social Capital is the term that is being used to describe the ongoing personal interactions among people in a community. Building on the concept of social networking, it is the currency of friendships, business and social interactions, as well as a reflection of the connectness of individuals with others in their world. For purposes of definition, there are two forms: Bonding Social Capital and Bridging Social Capital.

  • Bonding Social Capital represents relationships between those who share pre-existing, recognized similarities of life experience: Veterans, membership in a specific faith community, union membership, mothers, service club membership, hobbies, etc. A common bond is assumed, and relationships develop and strengthen based on those initial connections.

  • Bridging Social Capital represents the opposite – perceived differences in life experiences. The differences may be religious, racial, economic, cultural, geographic, age, and a host of others too numerous to list. Bridging those differences typically requires a person to reach out, to be inclusive, to respectfully and deliberately construct a relationship where none would be presumed to exist. The process of building a relationship is based on discovery of commonalities, similarities, and shared values which would not ever be discerned without a deliberate, intentional conversation.

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