Equity Challenge: Week 11
Congratulations! You’ve made it past the half-way mark of our 21 Week Equity Challenge. Thank you for your continued engagement and work developing a deeper understanding of how inequity and racism affect our lives and communities.
Building on previous weeks’ explorations of internalized racism and bias, and the ways these feelings permeate person-to-person interactions, we will now shift to exploring how racism shows up in our organizations and institutions.
We will also continue to share ways you can build on your growing understanding and recognition of racism to actively oppose racism in your communities and institutions.
Week 11: Institutional Racism
Here are some reflection questions for you to think about:

  • Do the institutions you take part in (your workplace, church, government institution, community-based organization or businesses, etc.) have policies or organizational cultures in place that affect others differently than they affect you? Does race play a role in that difference?

  • How do your institutions address racism? Are you part of an organization with a policy of diversity, equity and inclusion? What does that policy say? Is the policy effective in creating a diverse, inclusive institution? How can things be improved? What is needed for the organization to actively address racism?

  • Do you feel comfortable speaking up about racist policies or practices in your organizations? What skills or knowledge do you need to feel comfortable speaking up?
Institutional racism refers “specifically to the ways in which institutional policies and practices create different outcomes for different racial groups” (source). Institutional racism can exist in both the formal and informal workings of organizations and institutions. Institutions can include our workplaces, businesses, governments, churches, nonprofits, and even recreational groups and clubs.
Institutional racism blocks people of color from accessing the goods, services, and opportunities of society. Even while institutional policies may never mention a racial group, their effect is to create advantages for some and oppression and disadvantages for others. Individuals within institutions take on the power of the institution when they reinforce racial inequities.
One crucial step in pursuit of a more just society is to acknowledge the presence of barriers within institutions, particularly when we take part in that institution. Reviewing the continuum on becoming an anti-racist multicultural organization can be a helpful first step for thinking about the way workplaces, government institutions and community groups are addressing racism – and how they must evolve to become fully inclusive, anti-racist multicultural organizations.
Week 11
With the questions and definitions above in mind, do at least one of the following:

10 Signs of Institutionalized Racism (5-minute read)
This article explains the subtle formation of institutional racism, and some questions to assess if and how racism may be showing up and perpetuated in your institution.
Companies are Speaking Out Against Racism, but Here’s What it Really Looks Like to Lead an Anti-racist Organization (5-minute read)
This article features interviews with experts and leaders about what it means to be an anti-racist employer and what it actually looks like in practice.

Belonging: A Conversation about Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (9-minute read)
This article describes the distinctions between equity, diversity and inclusion and what it might look like when organizations implement incomplete strategies.

What are Structural, Institutional and Systemic Racism? (3:26)
What is structural? What is institutional racism? What is systemic racism? This video explains the definitions and provides examples.
Three Myths About Racism (10:23)
While many of us like to believe that we’re closer than ever to reaching a post-racial society, the research of Dr. Candis Watts Smith paints a different picture. In her talk, Dr. Watts Smith dispels what we think we know about racism, and she explores what we can do to work toward anti-racism.

Culture Series - Making Villains and the "Problem" Woman of Color in the Workplace (19:28)
This episode of the Diversity Gap Academy dives into villain narratives and the "problem" woman of color in the workplace. Popularized by research done by the Centre for Community Organizations in Montreal, this episode unpacks a common experience that women of color navigate in majority white-led organizations. This topic is important for any of us who aspire to create more diverse organizational cultures.

Share your reflections or additional resources about today’s topic on social media using #EquityChallenge - or send us a note at unitedway@unitedwayracine.org
Learn more about the Challenge and review weekly topics by visiting
Local Resources
A weekly book discussion group reading books on race and racism.

A yearlong, faith-based series of interactive and multidimensional public events. The series goal is to increase our understanding of how we think and feel about racism, resulting in actions that can help to transform us as individuals and the systems of racism in our country. 

The YWCA of SEW Wisconsin offers a variety of trainings about different facets of equity, such as structural racism, cultural differences, social transformation and more.

Higher Expectations engages community partners, aligns efforts, and maximizes resources to promote excellence and equity in education and employment outcomes in Racine County.
Hear from Deanna Singh, Founder/Chief Change Agent of Flying Elephant and her husband Justin on how to talk to your children about race to help children develop a healthy understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion.


Thursday, April 15 8:00 - 10:30 a.m.

Good Friend, Inc
Tuesday, May 18 12:00 - 12:45 p.m.
Make your commitment to inclusion—the active, intentional and ongoing engagement with diversity—official by signing our Declaration of Inclusion Pledge. This pledge is to respect and appreciate all aspects of any person, including race, religion, skin color, nationality, sexual orientation, gender, physical abilities, age, parental status, work and behavioral styles, and the perspectives of each individual as shaped by their nation, culture and experiences. You will also receive our quarterly diversity newsletter to build your "equity muscle."