New England Yearly Meeting

A community of Quakers and Quaker meetings across New England.

COMMON DEFINITIONS CONCERNING RACE

Racism:

  • Racism is prejudice with the power to enforce it.
  • Racism is prejudice or discrimination based on the belief that race is the primary factor determining human traits and abilities.
  • Racism holds that genetic or inherited differences produce inherited superiority or inferiority of one race to another.
  • Institutionalized racism is prejudice supported by institutional power and the authority used to the advantage of one race over the other.
  • Racism is any attitude, action, or institutional practice backed up by institutional power that subordinates people because of their color. This includes the imposition of one ethnic group's culture in such a way as to withhold respect for, to demean, or to destroy the cultures of other races. 

Stereotype:

  • A general viewpoint about a group based upon false assumptions. For example “Red haired people have quick tempers”.

Prejudice:

  • Prejudice is an unfavorable opinion formed from irrational feelings without thought or reason.
  • Prejudice is an unfounded hatred, fear or mistrust of a person or group.  For example “I don’t like red haired people because they have quick tempers”.

Privilege:

  •  Privilege is an advantage, right or benefit that is not available to everyone.   For example “Since you and I don’t have red hair we are more suited to jobs where having an even temper is important and if there is an argument it clearly won’t be our fault”.

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Racism:

A situation in which one race maintains supremacy over another race through a set of attitudes, behaviors, social structures and ideologies. It involves four essential and interconnected elements: A. Power: the capacity to make and enforce decisions is disproportionately or unfairly distributed; B. Resources: unequal access to such resources as money, education, information, etc. C. Standards: standards for appropriate behavior are ethnocentric, reflecting and privileging the norms and values of the dominant race/society, D. Problem: involves defining "reality" by naming "the problem" incorrectly, and thus misplacing it.

 Ally

An ally is a member of a dominant group in our society who works to dismantle any form of oppression from which she or he receives the benefit. Allied behavior means taking personal responsibility for the changes we know are needed in our society, and so often ignore or leave to others to deal with. Allied behavior is overt, consistent activity that challenges prevailing patterns of oppression, makes privileges that are so often invisible visible, and facilitates the empowerment of persons targeted by oppression.

Racism:

- Racism involves physical, psychological, spiritual, and social control, exploitation and subjection of one race by another race. It is the social institutionalization of the psychological concept of White/white supremacy (a man-made ideology of white/White superiority and black/Black inferiority). This means that racial discrimination and injustice are established, perpetuated and promoted throughout every institution of society - economics, education, entertainment, family, labor, law, politics, religion, science and war.      Women's Theological Center, Boston, MA, 1994

Racism:

  •       an underlying belief in the superiority of one race over another and its right to dominate.
  •       generalizing one group of people by believing in simplistic stereotypes of that group.
  •       affects every aspect of the lives of communities of color: social, economic, political, health, etc.
  •       may take three main forms (though all work together to maintain a system of oppression):
  •       Individual Racism-individual acts that overtly reflect racist attitudes/beliefs. This is the easiest one to identify. ie. racial slurs, jokes, etc.

 Systemic Racism and Institutional Racism-organizational policies and practices at the structural level that indirectly target communities of color and maintain white privilege. Ie. racism in the criminal justice system (police profiling); racism in the educational system (all white authors on a course reading list.)

Cultural Racism-value system that supports and allows discriminatory actions against racially and ethnoculturally marginalized communities. Ie. white privilege.

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

901 Pleasant Street, Worcester, MA 01602

(508) 754-6760 - [email protected]