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Continued: Minneapolis gaps? Face the truth — it's racism

  • Article by: VINA KAY
  • Last update: September 25, 2013 - 9:10 PM

Take schools as an example. Are students of color opting out of honors-level courses because they believe they can’t succeed? Internalized racism.

Are teachers calling on the same students, who happen to be white, repeatedly, while ignoring the raised hand of a student of color? Interpersonal racism.

Do history courses and texts ignore the stories and contributions of immigrant communities of color, even as they highlight the stories of European immigrants? Institutional racism.

Do students of color who live in a particular low-income area of town also attend a school with fewer resources and opportunities for academic success? Structural racism.

The same analysis can apply to housing, criminal justice, employment, health care and other opportunities. We can find all of these levels of racism in Minneapolis.

Change that breaks down structures of racism and barriers to opportunities will be uncomfortable, partly because the usual way of doing things will be challenged. Building good programs that open up opportunities for communities of color is part of the solution.

But seeing the racism in the room and tackling it head-on must also be a part of a movement for racial justice.

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Vina Kay is director of research and policy for Organizing Apprenticeship Project. A version of this article appeared on the blog opineseason.com.

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