Community Anti-Racism Education Initiative (C.A.R.E.)


Various Online Resources

Understanding Prejudice

Important Definitions


Anti-racism is the active process of identifying and eliminating racism by changing systems, organizational structures, policies and practices and attitudes, so that power is redistributed and shared equitably (NAC International Perspectives: Women and Global Solidarity). It is the practice of identifying, challenging, and changing the values, structures and behaviors that perpetuate systemic racism.

Cultural Racism

Cultural racism refers to representations, messages and stories conveying the idea that behaviors and values associated with white people or “whiteness” are automatically “better” or more “normal” than those associated with other racially defined groups. Cultural racism shows up in advertising, movies, history books, definitions of patriotism, and in policies and laws. Cultural racism is also a powerful force in maintaining systems of internalized supremacy and internalized racism. It does that by influencing collective beliefs about what constitutes appropriate behavior, what is seen as beautiful, and the value placed on various forms of expression. All of these cultural norms and values in the U.S. have explicitly or implicitly racialized ideals and assumptions (for example, what “nude” means as a color, which facial features and body types are considered beautiful, which child-rearing practices are considered appropriate.)

Source: Racial Equity Tools


Includes all the way in which people differ, and it encompasses all the different characteristics that make one individual or group different from another.  It is all-inclusive and recognizes everyone and every group as part of the diversity that should be valued.  A broad definition includes not only race, ethnicity, and gender—the groups that most often come to mind when the term “diversity” is used—but also age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, martial status, language, and physical appearance.  It also involves different ideas, perspectives and values. 

Source: UC Berkeley Center for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity

Intersectionality (or Intersectionalism)

It is the study of intersections between forms or systems of oppression domination or discrimination.  It starts for the premise that people live multiple, layered identities derived from social relations, history and the operation of structures of power.  People are members of more than one community at the same time, and can simultaneously experience oppression and privilege (e.g. a woman may be a respected medical professional yet suffer domestic violence in her home).  Intersectional analysis aims to reveal multiple identities, exposing the different types of discrimination and disadvantage that occur as a consequence of the combination of identities.  It aims to address the manner in which racism, patriarchy, class oppression and other systems of discrimination create inequalities that structure the relative positions of women.  It takes account of historical, social and political contexts and also recognizes unique individual experiences resulting from the coming together of different types of identity.

For example, the experience of black women in Cape Town is qualitatively different than that of a white or indigenous woman in the same location.  Similarly, the experience of being lesbian, old, disabled, poor, Northern-based, and/or any number of other identities, are unique and distinct identities and experiences. 
(Women’s Right and Economic Change No. 9, August 2004)


A prejudice is a negative belief or feeling about a particular group of individuals. Prejudices are often passed on from one generation to the next. It is seen as having different sources, chief among them being different forms of fear. Stephan and Stephan's Integrated Threat Theory of Prejudice is inclusive of several different types of threat: the expectation that the other will do one harm; the perception that the different worldview of the other will create challenges to one's own; the presumption that interaction will lead to embarrassment, rejection, or ridicule; and the generation of fear of negative consequences as a result of negative stereotypes. They posit that several factors are likely to influence the degree to which an individual feels these sources of threat:
  • strong identification with one's own group;
  • the degree to which a policy has negative ramifications for that individual;
  • the quantity and, especially, quality of the individual's previous contact with the group;
  • the individual's knowledge of the group;
  • prior intergroup conflict
  • the degree of status differential between the individual's group and the other group.

Source: Dugan, Máire A.. "Prejudice." Beyond Intractability . Eds. Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess. Conflict Information Consortium, University of Colorado, Boulder. Posted: January 2004.

Racial Colorblindness

Racial color-blindness refers to the belief that racism is a thing of the past and that race no longer plays a role in understanding people’s lived experience. There is a great deal of commonality across cultures; however, the color-blind perspective dismisses potential differences based on racial group membership and downplays how these differences may shape human experiences. This limited awareness of the manifestation of race and racism in society is the foundation for most conceptualizations of racial color-blindness.

Source: Color-Blind Racial Ideology


Race Prejudice +The POWER of systems and Institutions = RACISM (The misuse of power by systems and institutions)

The term “racism” specifically to refer to individual, cultural, institutional and systemic ways by which differential consequences are created for groups historically or currently defined as white being advantaged, and groups historically or currently defined as non-white (African, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, etc.) as disadvantaged.

That idea aligns with those who define racism as prejudice plus power, a common phrase in the field. Combining the concepts of prejudice and power points out the mechanisms by which racism leads to different consequences for different groups. The relationship and behavior of these interdependent elements has allowed racism to recreate itself generation after generation, such that systems that perpetuate racial inequity no longer need racist actors or to explicitly promote racial differences in opportunities, outcomes and consequences to maintain those differences.

Source:  Racial Equity Tools: Core Concepts


States have a legal duty to acknowledge and address widespread or systematic human rights violations, in cases where the state caused the violations or did not seriously try to prevent them. Reparations initiatives seek to address the harms caused by these violations. They can take the form of compensating for the losses suffered, which helps overcome some of the consequences of abuse. They can also be future oriented—providing rehabilitation and a better life to victims—and help to change the underlying causes of abuse. Reparations publicly affirm that victims are rights-holders entitled to redress.

Source: International Center for Transitional Justice


Stereotypes can be defined as associations and beliefs about the characteristics and attributes of a group and its members that shape how people think about and respond to the group. It can be positive, negative, or neutral. Stereotypes based on gender, ethnicity, or occupation are common in many societies.

Stereotypes represent a set of qualities perceived to reflect the essence of a group. It systematically affects how people perceive, process information about, and respond to, group members. They are transmitted through socialization, the media, and language and discourse.

Source: Prejudice, Stereotyping and Discrimination

White Privilege

  1. Refers to the unquestioned and unearned set of advantages, entitlements, benefits and choices bestowed on people solely because they are white. Generally white people who experience such privilege do so without being conscious of it.
  2. Structural White Privilege: A system of white domination that creates and maintains belief systems that make current racial advantages and disadvantages seem normal. The system includes powerful incentives for maintaining white privilege and its consequences, and powerful negative consequences for trying to interrupt white privilege or reduce its consequences in meaningful ways. The system includes internal and external manifestations at the individual, interpersonal, cultural and institutional levels. 

The accumulated and interrelated advantages and disadvantages of white privilege that are reflected in racial/ethnic inequities in life-expectancy and other health outcomes, income and wealth and other outcomes, in part through different access to opportunities and resources. These differences are maintained in part by denying that these advantages and disadvantages exist at the structural, institutional, cultural, interpersonal and individual levels and by refusing to redress them or eliminate the systems, policies, practices, cultural norms and other behaviors and assumptions that maintain them.

  • Interpersonal White Privilege: Behavior between people that consciously or unconsciously reflects white superiority or entitlement. 
  • Cultural White Privilege: A set of dominant cultural assumptions about what is good, normal or appropriate that reflects Western European white world views and dismisses or demonizes other world views. 
  • Institutional White Privilege: Policies, practices and behaviors of institutions -- such as schools, banks, non-profits or the Supreme Court -- that have the effect of maintaining or increasing accumulated advantages for those groups currently defined as white, and maintaining or increasing disadvantages for those racial or ethnic groups not defined as white. The ability of institutions to survive and thrive even when their policies, practices and behaviors maintain, expand or fail to redress accumulated disadvantages and/or inequitable outcomes for people of color.


  1. White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences Through Work in Women Studies . Peggy McIntosh. 1988.
  2. Transforming White Privilege: A 21st Century Leadership Capacity , CAPD, MP Associates, World Trust Educational Services, 2012.


White Supremacy

White supremacy is a historically based, institutionally perpetuated system of exploitation and oppression of continents, nations and peoples of color by white peoples and nations of the European continent; for the purpose of maintaining and defending a system of wealth, power and privilege.

Source: Challenging White Supremacy Workshop, Sharon Martinas. Fourth Revision. 1995.


Xenophobia is a form of attitudinal, affective, and behavioral prejudice toward immigrants and those perceived as foreign. The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary’s definition of xenophobia as the “fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign” highlights that the term has been historically used to emphasize a sense of fright of outsiders.

However, more recent definitions of xenophobia suggest that the fear of foreigners and their impact is linked with ethnocentrism, which is characterized by the attitude that one’s own group or culture is superior to others (Merriam-Webster Online, n.d.). V. Reynolds and Vine (1987) stated that xenophobia is a “psychological state of hostility or fear towards outsiders” (p. 28). Crowther (1995) emphasized that xenophobia focuses on individuals who come from “other countries” and toward whom native individuals have “an intense dislike or fear” (p. 1385).

Source: Xenophobia: Understanding the Roots and Consequences of Negative Attitudes Towards Immigrants

Source: Intersectionality: A Tool for Gender and Economic Justice

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