In furtherance of Rutgers Law School’s commitment to anti-racist principles and actions, a group consisting of Rutgers Law School faculty, administrators, and students has curated this webpage of resources and tools to help equip our community with the knowledge and experience to recognize and combat racial injustice and inequality. Equally important, this site contains information and resources designed to help spur inquiry, discussions, and actions focused on advancing racial justice in the law school community and beyond. Recognizing that learning is an ongoing and expansive process, the curators of this page intend to continue adding resources and tools as new resources, ideas, and tools emerge.
- Media & Podcasts
- In the Classroom
- “Judicial Racism and Judicial Antiracism: Retelling the Dred Scott Story” by DeVaughn Jones
- “How Rage Can Battle Racism” by Myisha Cherry
- “6 Ways to Be Antiracist, Because Being ‘Not Racist' Isn't Enough” by Rebecca Ruiz
- Media & Podcasts
- Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings that Formed the Movement edited by Kimberlé W. Crenshaw, Neil Gotanda, Gary Peller & Kendall Thomas
- Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism by Derrick Bell
- White by Law: the Legal Construction of Race by Ian Haney López
- Critical Race Theory: The Cutting Edge by Jean Stefanic
- Words That Wound: Critical Race Theory, Assaultive Speech, and the First Amendment by Mari J. Matsuda, Charles R. Lawrence, Richard Delgado Kimberlè Williams Crenshaw
- Media & Podcasts
- The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
- The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein
- Unequal: How America’s Courts Undermine Discrimination Law by Sandra Sperino and Suja Thomas
- “The Case for Reparations” by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- “Walking While Black” by Garnette Cadogan
- “Explicit Bias” by Jessica Clarke
- “Hidden in Plain Sight: White Supremacy and Far-Right Militancy in Law Enforcement” by Michael German
- “Natural Hair Discrimination” NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc.
- “The FBI Spends a Lot of Time Spying on Black Americans” by Alice Speri
- “The Color of Law,” Conversation between Ta-Nehisi Coates and Richard Rothstein
- “How Was My Son Ahmaud Arbery’s Murder Not a Hate Crime?” Wanda Cooper-Jones
- “Everyday Racism in America,” MSNBC Round Table
- Media & Podcasts
- Stamped from the Beginning: A Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi
- From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality by Michael Klarman
- The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America by Khalil Gibran Muhammad
- The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
- When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Asha Bandele
- I Am Not Your Negro by James Baldwin
- Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class by Ian Haney López
- The History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter
- The Origin of Others by Toni Morrison
- “Historical Foundations of Race” by David Roedige
- “Origin of the Idea of Race” by Audrey Smedley
- “The Historical Origins and Development of Racism” by G. M. Fredrickson
- “The Race Pit” by Alan H. Goodman
- “Africans, Slavery, and Race” by John Cheng
- “Slavery, and the Idea of Race” by California Newsreel
- “The Hidden Cost of Being African American” by Michael Hout
- “Segregated Housing and the Racial Wealth Gap” by Larry Adelman
- “The Disturbing Resilience of Scientific Racism” by Ramin Skibba
- “The Enlightenment’s Dark Side” by Jamelle Bouie
- “Blue-on-Black Violence: A Provisional Model of Some of the Causes” by Devon Carbado
- “Whiteness as Property” by Cheryl I. Harris
- “I’m a Queer Man of Color. Here’s How Intersectionality Impacts Me” by Roberto Valdes
- “The Killing of George Floyd and the Origins of American Racism” Suzanne Plihcik, Dorothy Wickenden, Host
- “Racism in America: A History in Three Acts” (Video)
- “1619” with Nikole Hannah Jones
- “Seeing White” by John Biewen (“14-part documentary series exploring whiteness in America)
- Interactive Tools
- Media Clips
- Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony Greenwald
- Implicit Racial Bias Across the Law by Justin D. Levinson & Robert Smith
- Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do by Jennifer Eberhardt
- “Implicit Bias - A Primer for Courts” by Jerry Kang
- “Our Brains and Difference: Implicit Bias, Racial Anxiety and Stereotype Threat in Education” by Rachel Godsil et al
- “How Subtle Bias Infects the Law” Isabel Bilotta et al
- Media & Podcasts
- On Intersectionality: Essential Writings by Kimberlé W. Crenshaw
- Intersectionality (Key Concepts) by Patricia Hill Collins & Sirma Bilge
- Skin, Tooth, and Bone: A Disability Justice Primer by Sins Invalid
- Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism by bell hooks
- The Meaning of Freedom and Other Difficult Dialogues by Angela Davis
- Eloquent Rage: A Black Femiinst Discovers Her Super Powers by Brittney Cooper
- “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine” by Kimberlé Crenshaw
- “Intersectional feminism: what it means and why it matters right now” by UN Women
- “The Intersectionality Wars” by Jane Coaston
- “Why We Turn to Intersectionality to Confront Anti-Asian Violence” by Alice Y. Hom
- “#SayHerName #BlackWomensLivesMatter: State Violence in Policing the Black Female Body” by Teri A. McMurtry-Chubb
- Media Clips
- "No. You Cannot Touch My Hair!" | Mena Fombo | TEDx Bristol
- "Asian Misrepresentation in Media" | Peter Westacott | TED Talk
- "What exactly is a microaggression? Let these examples from Hollywood movies explain" | Quartz
- Media Clips
- "'This Diversity Is Not Real': How To Tell If Your Program's Diversity Is a Hologram"
- "Token ethnic friends: how pop culture taught me I was support, not the lead"
- "The Real Cost of Being the POC 'In the Room' Required to Shut Down Obviously Racist Products"
- "8 Ways People of Color are Tokenized in Nonprofits"
- You Are Your Best Thing edited by Tarana Burke and Brené Brown
- So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo
- Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum
- All the White Friends I Couldn't Keep: Hope—and Hard Pills to Swallow—About Fighting for Black Lives by Andre Henry
- Media & Podcasts
- “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Peggy McIntosh
- “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race” by Reni Eddo-Lodge
- “Yes, You Can Measure White Privilege” by Michael Harriott
- “Paying Attention to White Culture and Privilege” by Gita Gulati-Partee and Maggie Potapchuk
- “White People Are Still raised to be Racially Illiterate” by Robin DiAngelo
- Critical Race Theory
- Cultural Appropriation
- Cultural Misappropriation
- People of Color
- Restorative Justice
- Social Construct
- Social Construction
- Social Justice
- White Fragility
- White Privilege
- White Supremacy
- a belief or doctrine that rejects the supremacy of one racial group over another and promotes racial equality in society.
- a belief or practice that recognizes pervasive racism in society, and actively combats racial prejudice and discrimination in order to promote racial justice and equality: Most people are proud if they are not racist, but antiracism establishes a higher bar—what are you doing to dismantle racism?
Bias is a preference in favor of, or against a person, group of people, or thing. These initial human reactions, which are often unconscious, are rooted in inaccurate information or reason and are potentially harmful.
Types of Biases:
Implicit Bias is the process of associating stereotypes or attitudes towards categories of people without conscious awareness.
Explicit Biases are biases that you are consciously aware of, and that you admit to yourself and potentially others.
Colorblindness is the racial ideology that posits the best way to end discrimination is by treating individuals as equally as possible, without regard to race, culture, or ethnicity.
Discrimination based on skin color, also known as colorism, or shadeism, is a form of prejudice and/or discrimination in which people who share similar ethnicity traits or perceived race are treated differently based on the social implications that come with the cultural meanings that are attached to skin color.
Critical Race Theory, or CRT, is an academic and legal framework that denotes that systemic racism is part of American society — from education and housing to employment and healthcare. Critical Race Theory recognizes that racism is more than the result of individual bias and prejudice. It is embedded in laws, policies and institutions that uphold and reproduce racial inequalities. According to CRT, societal issues like Black Americans’ higher mortality rate, outsized exposure to police violence, the school-to-prison pipeline, denial of affordable housing, and the rates of the death of Black women in childbirth are not unrelated anomalies.
Theft of cultural elements—including symbols, art, language, customs, etc.—for one’s own use, commodification, or profit, often without understanding, acknowledgement,or respect for its value in the original culture. Results from the assumption of a dominant (i.e. white) culture’s right to take other cultural elements.
Cultural misappropriation distinguishes itself from the neutrality of cultural exchange, appreciation, and appropriation because of the instance of colonialism and capitalism; cultural misappropriation occurs when a cultural fixture of a marginalized culture/community is copied, mimicked, or recreated by the dominant culture against the will of the original community and, above all else, commodified. One can understand the use of “misappropriation” as a distinguishing tool because it assumes that there are 1) instances of neutral appropriation, 2) the specifically referenced instance is non-neutral and problematic, even if benevolent in intention, 3) some act of theft or dishonest attribution has taken place, and 4) moral judgement of the act of appropriation is subjective to the specific culture from which is being engaged.
Diversity includes all the ways in which people differ, encompassing the different characteristics that make one individual or group different from another. While diversity is often used in reference to race, ethnicity, and gender, we embrace a broader definition of diversity that also includes age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, and physical appearance. Our definition also includes diversity of thought: ideas, perspectives, and values. We also recognize that individuals affiliate with multiple identities.
Equality is the condition under which every individual is treated in the same way, and is granted same rights and responsibilities, regardless of their individual differences
The fair treatment, access, opportunity and advancement for all people, while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that prevent the full participation of some groups. The principle of equity acknowledges that there are historically underserved and underrepresented populations and that fairness regarding these unbalanced conditions is necessary to provide equal opportunities to all groups.
Gaslighting is a colloquialism, loosely defined as making someone question their own reality. The term may also be used to describe a person who presents a false narrative to another group or person which leads them to doubt their perceptions and become misled, disoriented or distressed.
The acknowledgement that multiple power dynamics/”isms” are operating simultaneously—often in complex and compounding ways—and must be considered together in order to have a more complete understanding of oppression and ways to transform it.
Karen is shorthand for a woman who, again, is usually white. She's convinced her way is the right way, whether it’s about charcoal grilling in the park, policing nonwhite people's behavior or demanding to speak to a manager or higher authority who can get her what she wants.
She's the kind of person who posts on Nextdoor about a "suspicious-looking" person walking around her neighborhood or demands to be let into a grocery store without wearing a mask.
The treatment of a person, group or concept as secondary, unimportant, inferior or abnormal compared with those who hold more power in society.
Microaggressions are the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership. In many cases, these hidden messages may invalidate the group identity or experiential reality of target persons, demean them on a personal or group level, communicate they are lesser human beings, suggest they do not belong with the majority group, threaten and intimidate, or relegate them to inferior status and treatment.
Often the preferred collective term for referring to non-White racial groups, rather than “minorities.” Racial justice advocates have been using the term “people of color” (not to be confused with the pejorative “colored people”) since the late 1970s as an inclusive and unifying frame across different racial groups that are not White, to address racial inequities. While “people of color” can be a politically useful term, and describes people with their own attributes (as opposed to what they are not, eg: “non-White”), it is also important whenever possible to identify people through ethnic group, as each has its own distinct experience and meaning and may be more appropriate.
A pre-judgment or unjustifiable, and usually negative, attitude of one type of individual or groups toward another group and its members. Such negative attitudes are typically based on unsupported generalizations (or stereotypes) that deny the right of individual members of certain groups to be recognized and treated as individuals with individual characteristics.
The unearned and often unrecognized advantages, benefits or rights conferred upon people based on their membership in a dominant group (e.g., white people, heterosexual people, men, people without disabilities, etc.) beyond what is commonly experienced by members of the marginalized group.
Race is a human-invented, shorthand term used to describe and categorize people into various social groups based on characteristics like skin color, physical features, and genetic heredity. Race, while not a valid biological concept, is a real social construction that gives or denies benefits and privileges. American society developed the notion of race early in its formation to justify its new economic system of capitalism, which depended on the institution of forced labor, especially the enslavement of African peoples.
Historically rooted system of power hierarchies based on race—infused in our institutions, policies and culture—that benefit White people and hurt people of color.
Types of racism include:
Individual racism refers to the beliefs, attitudes, and actions of individuals that support or perpetuate racism in conscious and unconscious ways. The U.S. cultural narrative about racism typically focuses on individual racism and fails to recognize systemic racism.
Interpersonal racism occurs between individuals. These are public expressions of racism, often involving slurs, biases, or hateful words or actions.
Institutional racism occurs in an organization. These are discriminatory treatments, unfair policies, or biased practices based on race that result in inequitable outcomes for whites over people of color and extend considerably beyond prejudice. These institutional policies often never mention any racial group, but the intent is to create advantages.
Structural racism is the overarching system of racial bias across institutions and society. These systems give privileges to white people resulting in disadvantages to people of color.
Systemic Racism: A combination of systems, institutions and factors that advantage white people and for people of color, cause widespread harm and disadvantages in access and opportunity. One person or even one group of people did not create systemic racism, rather it: (1) is grounded in the history of our laws and institutions which were created on a foundation of white supremacy; (2) exists in the institutions and policies that advantage white people and disadvantage people of color; and (3) takes places in interpersonal communication and behavior (e.g., slurs, bullying, offensive language) that maintains and supports systemic inequities and systemic racism.
A consensus definition of reparations refers to a process of repairing, healing and restoring a people injured because of their group identity and in violation of their fundamental human rights by governments or corporations. Those groups that have been injured have the right to obtain from the government or corporation responsible for the injuries that which they need to repair and heal themselves.
Measures intended to restore the survivor to the original situation before the violations occurred, including, as appropriate: restoration of liberty, enjoyment of human rights, identity, family life and citizenship, return to one’s place of residence (repatriation), restoration of employment and return of property.
Restorative Justice is a theory of justice that emphasizes repairing the harm caused by crime and conflict. It places decisions in the hands of those who have been most affected by a wrongdoing, and gives equal concern to the victim, the offender, and the surround community. Restorative responses are meant to repair harm, heal broken relationships, and address the underlying reasons for the offense. It emphasizes individual and collective accountability.
A social construct is an idea or collection of ideas that have been created and accepted by the people in a society. These constructs serve as an attempt to organize or explain the world around us. (See “What is a Social Construction?”)
The notion that patterns of human interaction (often deemed to be normal, natural or universal) are, in fact, humanly produced and constructed by social expectation and coercion but is presented as “objective.” For example, the erroneous assumption of women being better at housework is not at all connected to their female anatomy, but to social expectations and pressures imposed on women.
Social justice is a communal effort dedicated to creating and sustaining a fair and equal society in which each person and all groups are valued and affirmed. It encompasses efforts to end systemic violence and racism and all systems that devalue the dignity and humanity of any person. It recognizes that the legacy of past injustices remains all around us, so therefore promotes efforts to empower individual and communal action in support of restorative justice and the full implementation of human and civil rights.
Tokenism is the practice of making only a perfunctory or symbolic effort to be inclusive to members of minority groups, especially by recruiting people from underrepresented groups in order to give the appearance of racial or gender equality within a workplace or educational context.
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. Racial stress results from an interruption to what is racially familiar.
Refers to the unquestioned and unearned set of advantages, entitlements, benefits and choices bestowed on people solely because they are white. Generally white people who experience such privilege do so without being conscious of it.
Types of White Privilege:
Structural White Privilege: A system of white domination that creates and maintains belief systems that make current racial advantages and disadvantages seem normal. The system includes powerful incentives for maintaining white privilege and its consequences, and powerful negative consequences for trying to interrupt white privilege or reduce its consequences in meaningful ways. The system includes internal and external manifestations at the individual, interpersonal, cultural and institutional levels.
The accumulated and interrelated advantages and disadvantages of white privilege that are reflected in racial/ethnic inequities in life-expectancy and other health outcomes, income and wealth, and other outcomes, in part through different access to opportunities and resources. These differences are maintained in part by denying that these advantages and disadvantages exist at the structural, institutional, cultural, interpersonal, and individual levels and by refusing to redress them or eliminate the systems, policies, practices, cultural norms, and other behaviors and assumptions that maintain them.
Interpersonal White Privilege: Behavior between people that consciously or unconsciously reflects white superiority or entitlement.
Cultural White Privilege: A set of dominant cultural assumptions about what is good, normal or appropriate that reflects Western European white world views and dismisses or demonizes other world views.
Institutional White Privilege: Policies, practices and behaviors of institutions—such as schools, banks, non-profits or the Supreme Court—that have the effect of maintaining or increasing accumulated advantages for those groups currently defined as white, and maintaining or increasing disadvantages for those racial or ethnic groups not defined as white. The ability of institutions to survive and thrive even when their policies, practices and behaviors maintain, expand or fail to redress accumulated disadvantages and/or inequitable outcomes for people of color.
The idea (ideology) that white people and the ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions of white people are superior to People of Color and their ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions. While most people associate white supremacy with extremist groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazis, white supremacy is ever present in our institutional and cultural assumptions that assign value, morality, goodness, and humanity to the white group while casting people and communities of color as worthless (worth less), immoral, bad, and inhuman and “undeserving.” Drawing from critical race theory, the term “white supremacy” also refers to a political or socio-economic system where white people enjoy structural advantage and rights that other racial and ethnic groups do not, both at a collective and an individual level.