Anti-Racism Terms and Resources


Term Definition Source
Racism A set of assumptions, opinions, and actions stemming from the belief that one race is inherently superior, better than or privileged to another. Racism is evident in a number of ways including rules, regulations, policies, programs (institutional) and also in individual behaviours that uphold these institutions, through behaviours and attitudes. Adapted from TDSB Source: Toronto District School Board Equity Policy P037 (2018)
Race A socially constructed way of judging, categorizing and creating difference among people based on physical characteristics, behaviour or culture – including dress, leisure practices, diet, beliefs, speech, and places of origin. The social construction of race is called racialization: this is the process by which societies construct races as real, different and unequal, in ways that matter to economic, political and social life. Adapted from TDSB Source: Toronto District School Board Equity Policy P037 (2018)
Race, Ethnicity and ‘New Racism’ “New racism” is a term that was coined to describe the shift from crude forms of scientific racism, based on biologically determined social hierarchy, to racism premised on belief in immutable cultural differences. This newer form of racism may be couched in a language of “values,” “incompatible cultures,” and “complex differences,” effectively discriminating without even using the word “race.” Yon
Institutional Power The ability or official authority to decide what is best for others. The ability to decide who will have access to resources. The capacity to exercise control over others.  Leaven 2003
Oppression The combination of prejudice and institutional power which creates a system that discriminates against some groups (often called “target groups”) and benefits other groups (often called “dominant groups”). Examples of these systems are racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, classism, ageism, and anti-Semitism. These systems enable dominant groups to exert control over target groups by limiting their rights, freedom, and access to basic resources such as health care, education, employment, and housing.

Four levels of Oppression/”isms” and Change:

●      Personal: Values, Beliefs, Feelings

●      Interpersonal: Actions, Behaviours, Language

●      Institutional: Rules, Policies, Procedures

●      Cultural: Beauty, Truth, Right

 Leaven 2003
Privilege Privilege operates on personal, interpersonal, cultural, and institutional levels and gives advantages, favors, and benefits to members of dominant groups at the expense of members of target groups. In the United States [and Canada], privilege is granted to people who have membership in one or more of these social identity groups:

●      White people;

●      Able-bodied people;

●      Heterosexuals;

●      Males;

●      Christians;

●      Middle or owning class people;

●      Middle-aged people;

●      English-speaking people

Privilege is characteristically invisible to people who have it. People in dominant groups often believe that they have earned the privileges that they enjoy or that everyone could have access to these privileges if only they worked to earn them. In fact, privileges are unearned and they are granted to people in the dominant groups whether they want those privileges or not, and regardless of their stated intent. Unlike targets of oppression, people in dominant groups are frequently unaware that they are members of the dominant group due to the privilege of being able to see themselves as persons rather than stereotypes.

 Leaven 2003
Prejudice A judgment or opinion that is formed on insufficient grounds before facts are known or in disregard of facts that contradict it. Prejudices are learned and can be unlearned.  Leaven 2003
Stereotype An exaggerated or distorted belief that attributes characteristics to members of a particular group, simplistically lumping them together and refusing to acknowledge differences among members of the group.  Leaven 2003
Inclusion Inclusion is an active, intentional, and continuous process to address inequities in power and privilege, and build a respectful and diverse community that ensures welcoming spaces and opportunities to flourish for all. UBC
DIversity Differences in the lived experiences and perspectives of people that may include race, ethnicity, colour, ancestry, place of origin, political belief, religion, marital status, family status, physical disability, mental disability, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, class, and/or socio-economic situations. UBC
Anti-Black/ Anti-Asian racism Applying racism and specifically to individuals or groups of Black or Asian descent.
Anti-Racist education ●      Requires a political standpoint,

●      Shifts away from diversity to notions of difference and power,

●      Recognizes intersecting forms of inequality,

●      Assumes the role of power in the perpetuation of racism,

●      Criticizes racialized inequalities,

●      Addresses white supremacy,

●      Works throughout and across the curriculum,

●      Urges parents, caregivers and teachers to reflect on their own racialized locations,

●      Examines the role of the school in the perpetuation of inequality,

●      Involves others: a community effort between the classroom and the home,

●      Requires us to destabilize the idea of race itself, “unpacking racial identifications, including whiteness, to recognize how they are created and fluid” (Raby, p. 380)

“The Human Library” Conversations around Equitable, Anti-Racist and Anti-Oppressive Practice [TDSB]
Inclusive Education “Education that is based on the principles of acceptance and the inclusion of all students. Students see themselves reflected in their curriculum, their physical surroundings, and the broader environment, in which diversity is honoured and all individuals are respected” (CRRF Retrieved 9/8/20).

In recent years, the term “inclusive” has proven problematic, insofar as its practitioners and proponents have falsely assumed that an increase in representations of diversity (a wider range of students seeing their communities reflected in the curriculum) somehow automatically equals anti-racism education. This is because the diversity of representations (and even increases in the hiring of teachers of colour and indigenous teachers) does not automatically change how the system functions, nor does it in itself change the power dynamics that continue to grant power and authority to whiteness/white people and dominant methods. Instead, an “add-on” approach to education has been adopted, in which the system remains fundamentally unchanged in its practice and assumptions, with representations of people of colour and indigenous people of colour in a difficult position: the increase in diverse representation is pointed to by white people as evidence that inclusiveness has already been achieved, while they are left in the periphery of the decision-making process.

CARED (Calgary Racism Education)
Intersection-ality The interconnected nature of all forms of oppression against particular groups CARED (Calgary Racism Education)



Topic Website Link / Source
Talking Race and Racism LIST OF PICTURE BOOKS
Diverse Children’s Books Virtual Library Created by Allenby Teachers
A Guide on Talking to Kids About Race CBC Article
How to Talk to Your Child About Racism Holland Bloorview
Teaching Young Children About Bias, Diversity, and Social Justice Edutopia
Intersectionality Social Identity Wheel
How to be an Ally Learning for Justice
10 Tips for Teaching and Talking to Kids About Race EmbraceRace
Teaching Children About Cultural Awareness and Diversity PBS
How to Teach Kids About Race, Diversity and Acceptance Toronto Star
“Raising White Kids” Author On How White Parents Can Talk About Race NPR (Audio)
Nice White Parents NPR Podcast (Audio)
How Parents Should Talk to Their Children About Anti-Black Racism CTV News
Talking to Kids About Discrimination American Psychological Association
Talking to Kids About Racial Stereotypes Media Smarts
Talking to Children About Race and Ethnicity Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (Audio)

Pride Virtual Library