African American History

Addressing topics from the Transatlantic Slave Trade to present day

Systemic Racism 

Defining Systemic Racism

A system in which public policies, institutional practices, cultural representations, and other norms work in various, often reinforcing ways to perpetuate racial group inequity. It identifies dimensions of our history and culture that have allowed privileges associated with “whiteness” and disadvantages associated with “color” to endure and adapt over time. Structural racism is not something that a few people or institutions choose to practice. Instead it has been a feature of the social, economic and political systems in which we all exist.

From the Aspen Institute (linked and cited below)


Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash (click to enlarge)

Featured websites & collections 

Racism can be seen in all areas of life from housing, education, criminal justice, health care, employment & income, food security, and voting rights, and even life expectancy. Consider the resources below to learn more. 

Systemic Racism computer with streaming video icon on screen

Featured videos

Linked below are videos both freely online through websites like YouTube or TED, as well as from the library's collection in such databases as Kanopy, Films on Demand, or Academic Video Online. Click or hover your cursor over the icon to learn more about each item.

Source: "Systemic Racism Explained" by, is licensed under a Standard YouTube License.

Systemic Racism heaphones and play icon

Featured podcasts

Linked here are full podcasts or podcast episodes, as well as short audio recordings from news programs such as National Public Radio (NPR) and the like.

Sources used on this page:

Aspen Institute. (2016, July 11). [11 terms you should know to better understand structural racism]. Retrieved March 2, 2023, from structural-racism-definition/

Featured Books & eBooks

Use the arrows to scroll through titles; click on the titles for more info and/or access

Defining Key Concepts

Consider some of the online glossaries linked below to find definitions and examples of terms

Search Tips

Consider the following keywords when searching online or in the library's collections

  • Systemic racism 
  • Structural racism
  • Institutional racism 
  • Interpersonal racism
  • Racial disparities
  • Racial inequality
  • Internalized racism

Racism in Higher Education

Looking for more information about the impacts of racism specifically in the education system? Consider the guide linked below. This guide is aimed at instructors, but has many resources looking at concepts of racism and higher education. 

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Except where otherwise noted, the content in these guides by Tacoma Community College Library is licensed under CC BY SA 4.0.
This openly licensed content allows others to cite, share, or modify this content, with credit to TCC Library. When reusing or adapting this content, include this statement in the new document: This content was originally created by Tacoma Community College Library and shared with a CC BY SA 4.0 license.

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