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Tasks: Structural Racism

LK20
Photo: We see game pieces in different colours. One black game piece is standing by itself. It is surrounded by the others, but there is a gap between it and them.

Can a society be racist even if most people would never think about engaging in racist behaviour?

Discuss:

Before you move on to the questions below, find out more about white privilege. You can do this by watching the video where psychologist John Amaechi talks about white privelege, which you will find by clicking the link below, or you can search for the term online.

Link to YouTube video where psychologist John Amaechi explains what 'white privilege' is

  1. What is white privilege? Explain the term in your own words.
  2. Write a list of other types of privileges that you think could influence people in positive or negative ways. What are your privileges?
  3. What is structural racism? Explain the term in your own words and point to examples of structural racism in modern society.
  4. Is it possible for a society to be racist, even if the members of that society are not racist?
  5. What is the difference between being a non-racist and being an anti-racist?
  6. How can the problem of structural racism be solved?
  7. Is there structural racism in Norway? Have you ever seen or experienced racism yourself in any form?

Find out:

What does it mean to be a Karen? Where does the term come from? What is a typical Karen and in which situations can you expect to meet her? Is there a male equivalent? The word is an example of a neologism; do you think the word will continue to be used in the long term?

Vocabulary:

The following words are all related to racism and racial relations.

  • Write down a good definition of each, using examples as part of your definition.
  • Some of the words mean almost the same thing. Can you identify them?
  • Every-day racism

  • Bigotry

  • Implicit bias

  • Individual racism

  • Institutional racism

  • Prejudice

  • White privilege

  • Ethnocentrism

  • Racial equity

  • Structural racism

  • Systemic racism

  • Cultural appropriation

  • Ethnicity

Understanding usage:

When you read the article about structural racism, you may have noticed that the word 'Black' was capitalised while the word 'white' was not.

  1. Why do you think there is a difference between the two words?
  2. Read through the article 'AP says it will capitalize Black but not white' from Associated Press.

    Why is there a distinction made between the words 'Black' and 'white', according to the article?

    Link to article: article on the Associated Press' webpage.

  3. Are there any arguments against capitalising just one of the words?

Research:

You are now going to immerse yourself in race relation data from the United States or the United Kingdom.

Divide the class into groups of 3-4 students. Each group chooses a topic that they work with. We have provided you with some suggestions for research questions in the box below, but you are also free to find your own topic.

As a class, make sure that both countries are represented and that your research topics do not overlap too much. Use relevant statistics to support your argument.

Before you start you should decide on a product. You could:

  • make a podcast
  • arrange a panel discussion
  • make a creative film
  • make a written report
  • be the teacher. (Take over the class and engage your fellow students with different educational activities related to your topic.)
Suggested research topics
  • Are Blacks and whites treated differently in the criminal justice system?
  • Are Blacks and whites treated differently in the national health services?
  • Are Blacks and whites treated differently in education and employment?
  • How does race affect social mobility?
  • How do Republicans and Democrats differ in their attitude and approach to race relations? (United States)

Your final product should include relevant statistics. Remember to refer to your sources in a clear way. Also remember to use appropriate terminology related to race and discrimination.

Possible sources

Here you will find various websites that will provide you with a lot of information. Sift through the pages and find what is relevant for your research topic. Also, use precise search queries on the internet to find more information that is relevant for you.

Britain:
'Britain’s big race divide': link to article on CNN's webpage.

Ethnicity facts and figures: link to Government UK's webpage. Statistics about ethnicity.

'The stark evidence of everyday racial bias in Britain': link to article on the newspaper the Guardian's website.

'Minority ethnic Britons face 'shocking' job discrimination': link to article on the newspaper the Guardian's website


USA:
Gallup, Race Relations: link to statistics about race relations on Gallup's webpage.

'Race in America 2019': link to article on Pew Research Center's webpage.

'Health Disparities by Race and Ethnicity': link to article on americanprogress.org's webpage.

'The State of Health Disparities in the United States': link to article on The National Center for Biotechnology Information's webpage.

Write:

  1. In 1988, the scholar and activist Peggy McIntosh published her famous article White Privilege – Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. In this article she presents a list of 50 privileges she admits that she has as a white woman.

    Use the internet and find out more about Peggy McIntosh and her article. Then write a text where you discuss why she decided to write the list and to what extent this list is relevant in our society today. You will find an abridged version of the article by clicking on the following link: 'Link to the article: 'White Privilege – Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack'

  2. In his acceptance speech for best leading actor during the 2020 Bafta award, Joaquin Phoenix called out the structural racism that he experienced in showbiz.

    Write a text where you explore the topic of racism in show business and the stereotyping of black actors in film. Use the internet and find relevant information. Remember to refer to your sources.

  3. What can we as individuals do to fight racism? And whose responsibility is it to create the change? Write a text where you explore these questions. You may find some inspiration in the following two videos, but feel free to include other thoughts and ideas. Remember to refer to any source you may use.

    Video 1: Joy DeGruy: click here to see an excerpt from the documentary Cracking the Code on YouTube

    Video 2: Heather McGhee: click here to see the film: What can I do to Change? on YouTube

Comment on the statistics:

  1. What do the statistics below tell you?

  2. Did anything in the statistics surprise you?

Screenshot of statistics about self-identified ethnicity, USA
Sist oppdatert 24.11.2020
Skrevet av Karin Søvik

Læringsressurser

Democracy and Human Rights