Ally is an active, consistent, and arduous practice of unlearning and re-evaluating, in which a person in a position of privilege and power seeks to operate in solidarity with a marginalized group.

we act out of a genuine interest in challenging larger oppressive structures

To be an ally is to...

  1. Take on the struggle a your own.
  2. Stand up, even when you feel scared.
  3. Transfer the benefits of your privilege to those who lack it.
  4. Acknowledge that while you, too, feel pain, the conversation is not about you.

Colorblindness is the belief that everyone should be treated “equally” without respect to societal, economic, historical, racial or other difference. No differences are seen or acknowledged; everyone is the same. It is the belief that we look past color and see others as people and that racism is no longer a problem, we all have equal opportunities.

In Social Inequality and Social Stratification in US Society, Christopher Doob writes that "color-blind racism" represents "whites' assertion that they are living in a world where racial privilege no longer exists, but their behavior supports racialized structures and practices."

Individual racism refers to the beliefs, attitudes, and actions of individuals that support or perpetuate racism. Individual racism can be deliberate, or the individual may act to perpetuate or support racism without knowing that is what he or she is doing.

Examples: 

  • Telling a racist joke, using a racial epithet, or believing in the inherent superiority of whites over other groups; 
  • Avoiding people of color whom you do not know personally, but not whites whom you do not know personally (e.g., white people crossing the street to avoid a group of Latino/a young people; locking their doors when they see African American families sitting on their doorsteps in a city neighborhood; or not hiring a person of color because “something doesn’t feel right”); 
  • Accepting things as they are (a form of collusion).

Institutional racism refers specifically to the ways in which institutional policies and practices create different outcomes for different racial groups but always benefiting the dominant group.

The institutional policies may never mention any racial group, but their effect is to create advantages for Whites and oppression and disadvantage for people from groups classified as people of color: for example, city sanitation department policies that concentrate trash transfer stations and other environmental hazards disproportionately in communities of color.

Racism is the belief in the superiority of one race over another, which often results in discrimination and prejudice towards people based on their race or ethnicity. As of the 2000s, the use of the term "racism" does not easily fall under a single definition.

Today, most biologists, anthropologists, and sociologists reject a taxonomy of races in favor of more specific and/or empirically verifiable criteria, such as geography, ethnicity or a history of endogamy. To date, there is little evidence in human genome research which indicates that race can be defined in such a way as to be useful in determining a genetic classification of humans.

Sociologists, in general, recognize "race" as a social construct. This means that, although the concepts of race and racism are based on observable biological characteristics, any conclusions drawn about race on the basis of those observations are heavily influenced by cultural ideologies. Racism, as an ideology, exists in a society at both the individual and institutional level.

Coined by author, activist and white anti-racist thinker Robin Diangelo, white fragility is "a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves."

"White people in North America live in a social environment that protects and insulates them from race-based stress. This insulated environment of racial protection builds white expectations for racial comfort while at the same time lowering the ability to tolerate racial stress, leading to what I refer to as White Fragility. White Fragility is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium," says DiAngelo.

White Privilege refers to the unearned advantages that are granted because of one’s whiteness or ability to “pass” as white. It is both unconsciously enjoyed and consciously perpetuated. It is both on the surface and deeply embedded into American life.

White Silence occurs when people with white privilege stay complicity silent when it comes to issues of race.

White Solidarity is the tacit agreement that we will protect white privilege and not hold each other accountable for our racism. In other words, white people will forbear from correcting each other’s racial missteps, to preserve the peace. 

White Supremacy is a historically based, institutionally perpetuated system of exploitation and oppression of continents, nations and peoples of color by white peoples and nations of the European continent; for the purpose of maintaining and defending a system of wealth, power and privilege

It is a sociopolitical economic system of domination based on racial categories that benefits those defined and perceived as white. This system of structural power privileges, centralizes, and elevates white people as a group. For reference, here are statistics for 2016-17:

  • 10 richest Americans: 100% white (7 of whom are among the ten richest in the world)
  • US Congress: 90% white
  • US Governors: 96% white
  • Top military advisors: 100% white
  • President and Vice President: 100% white
  • Current US presidential cabinet: 91% white
  • People who decide which TV shows we see: 93% white
  • People who decide which books we read: 91% white
  • People who decide which news is covered: 85% white
  • People who decide which music is produced: 95% white
  • People who directed the one hundred top-grossing films of all time, worldwide: 95% white
  • Teachers: 82% white
  • Full-time professors: 84% white
  • Owners of men’s professional football teams: 97% white