Racism in Everyday Life: Understanding the Roles of Power and Privilege in Shaping Inequality

Photo Courtesy: NurPhoto/Contributor/NurPhoto/Getty Images

In the wake of George Floyd’s horrifying murder and the resulting protests decrying both police brutality and the institutional racism that has paved the way for that brutality to persist, now more than ever it’s important to understand what racism looks like and how it affects the everyday lives of people of color. Racism isn’t limited to the overtly bigoted actions that we notice people taking or see in news headlines. It exists in covert forms that affect every aspect of people of color’s lives — and go largely unnoticed by the privileged groups that benefit.

Racism is insidious. It poisons every level of society and harms people of color on a daily basis. It dictates how various organizations and structures operate and how we treat one another. This is unacceptable, and it needs to change. Understanding what racism looks like and how it impacts people in everyday life, whether it’s coming from individuals or institutions, is an important first step in working to dismantle the systems that perpetuate racial inequality.