Equity Challenge Internalized Racism

Now that we have a shared definition for racism, we will explore the topic more deeply by examining the four levels at which racism manifests itself: internalized, interpersonal, institutional, and structural. Often we learn of instances of interpersonal racism, but how racism works at a structural level remains obscure. Starting with internalized racism, we begin by looking inward, and throughout the course of the challenge work out to the structural level, highlighting ways to drive change at each level.

What is Internalized Racism?

In order to properly address racism around us, we need to develop an understanding of what goes on in our own heads first. It is only after this that we will be able to transfer our efforts outward and make a true difference in the lives of those around us. First, review our shared definition of internalized racism and select your resources for the day.

Internalized Racism: A set of privately held beliefs, prejudices, and ideas about the superiority of whites and the inferiority of people of color. Among people of color, it manifests as internalized oppression. Among whites, it manifests as internalized racial superiority.


The Battle to Be Me: How Internalized Racism Impacts People of Color in American (15 Minute Read)

  • This article explores the messages people of color receive from the dominant culture and the negative impact it has on self-conceptualization.

Latinx college students are struggling with self-hate, but counselors can help, scholar finds (6 minutes read)

  • This piece explores the ways in which Latinx college students internalize racism and help from counselors can help them heal and thrive.

Confessions of a ‘model minority’: How I’m learning to confront my own biases (4 minute read)

  • This selection confronts the model minority myth often associated with Asian folks. It weaves a thread between confronting this myth to protect one’s mental health and to stand in solidarity with other people of color.


What is Internalized Racism (11 Minutes)

  • Video Description: What is internalized racism, how it does it affect racialized communities and how does it continue a structural advantage of privilege? Host Farah Nasser chats with University of Toronto professor Girish Daswani, as well as writer and communications professional, Gelek Badheytsang about internalized racism, how some people of colour can develop self-hate for their own community, and how to unlearn it.

Lessons on Internalized Racism (9 Minutes)

  • Video Description Via YouTube : Community leader, activist and educator Jabari Lyles discusses his personal journey to understanding and loving himself as a Black man, in spite of growing up among a predominantly white community. Jabari Lyles is an educator, nonprofit leader and community leader in Baltimore, Maryland. His work focuses on positive outcomes for youth and the LGBTQ community, especially LGBTQ youth of color. He is currently Director of the Maryland chapter of GLSEN, the leading national organization championing LGBTQ issues in K-12 schools. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.