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Structural Racism
Structural Racism

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Speakers and Topics - the schedule from UK Law's Spring 2011 Conference on Structural Racism.

Unlike traditional forms of racism, which result from bigoted individuals' attitudes and intent, structural racism is produced by social structures that establish and perpetuate white advantage and the subordination of people of color. It is the result of ordinary, day-to-day practices of organizations like business firms and government agencies, such as hiring practices, as well as of social policies produced by political decisions, like farm worker exclusion from Social Security.

Structural racism is a complex, dynamic system of cultural beliefs, historical legacies, practices within and among public and private organizations, and social policies that interweave to cause glaring racial disparities. It results from inadvertent institutional and social arrangements that distribute resources unequally and inequitably. Structural racism explains unequal racial outcomes by focusing not on prejudiced individual behavior but on social infrastructure.

People of color are negatively affected by social structural features such as:
  • dependence on local property taxes for public school funding, resulting in poorer educational outcomes for students of color,
  • reliance on social networks for job information, resulting in lack of access to jobs for people of color,
  • subjective decision-making that is affected by unconscious assumptions and stereotypes, and
  • business decisions made for rational profit-oriented reasons.
Structural racism accounts for the persistent disparities in all measures of quality of life between people of color and whites in the United States today.

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