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Discussion Topics

Institutionalized Racism

Definition:(Also referred to as Institutional Racism) “Institutionalized racism is a form of racism which is structured into political and social institutions. It occurs when institutions, including corporations, governments and universities, discriminate either deliberately or indirectly, against certain groups of people to limit their rights. Race-based discrimination in housing, education, employment and health for example are forms of institutional racism. It reflects the cultural assumptions of the dominant group, so that the practices of that group are seen as the norm to which other cultural practices should conform (Anderson and Taylor, 2006). Institutional racism is more subtle, less visible, and less identifiable than individual acts of racism, but no less destructive to human life and human dignity. The people who manage our institutions may not be racists as individuals, but they may well discriminate as part of simply carrying out their job, often without being aware that their role in an institution is contributing to a discriminatory outcome."


Media Links and Discussion

Each of the following topics includes a link to a piece of media and discussion questions that can be used in discussion.

Michael Moore on NYPD Racism & Police Brutality

Audience: Middle School/High School/ College Students/Adults
Content:Dilemma of being Black in a White society
Discussion questions:

  1. Have you ever had similar things/maltreatment happen to you or someone you know?
  2. How does that make you feel?
  3. How do you feel about law enforcement in your area?
  4. What are ways you can share you experience and help educate law enforcement in your area?

Song “Changes” by Tupac Shakur

Audience: Middle School/High School/ College Students/Adults
Content: Dilemma of being Black in a White society - a song about racial issues in urban areas and how many African Americans feel racism will never stop and things will never change
Lyrics of the Song:

Verse 1
Come on come on I see no changes wake up in the morning and I ask myself is life worth living should I blast myself? I'm tired of bein' poor and even worse I'm black my stomach hurts so I'm lookin' for a purse to snatch Cops give a damn about a negro pull the trigger kill a nigga he's a hero Give the crack to the kids who the hell cares one less hungry mouth on the welfare First ship 'em dope and let 'em deal the brothers give 'em guns step back watch 'em kill each other It's time to fight back that's what Huey said 2 shots in the dark now Huey's dead I got love for my brother but we can never go nowhere unless we share with each other We gotta start makin' changes learn to see me as a brother instead of 2 distant strangers and that's how it's supposed to be How can the devil take a brother if he's close to me? I'd love to go back to when we played as kids but things change, and that's the way it is

That's just the way it is -- Things'll never be the same -- That's just the way it is -- aww yeah (Repeat)

Verse 2
I see no changes all I see is racist faces misplaced hate makes disgrace to races We under I wonder what it takes to make this one better place, let's erase the wasted Take the evil out the people they'll be acting right 'cause both black and white is smokin' crack tonight and the only time we chill is when we kill each other it takes skill to be real, time to heal each other And although it seems heaven sent We ain't ready, to see a black President, uhh It ain't a secret don't conceal the fact the penitentiary's packed, and it's filled with blacks But some things will never change try to show another way but you stayin' in the dope game Now tell me what's a mother to do bein' real don't appeal to the brother in you You gotta operate the easy way I made a G today But you made it in a sleazy way sellin' crack to the kids. I gotta get paid, Well hey, well that's the way it is

That's just the way it is -- Things'll never be the same -- That's just the way it is -- aww yeah (Repeat)

Talking: We gotta make a change... It's time for us as a people to start makin' some changes. Let's change the way we eat, let's change the way we live and let's change the way we treat each other. You see the old way wasn't working so it's on us to do what we gotta do, to survive.

Verse 3
And still I see no changes can't a brother get a little peace It's war on the streets and the war in the Middle East Instead of war on poverty they got a war on drugs so the police can bother me And I ain't never did a crime I ain't have to do But now I'm back with the blacks givin' it back to you Don't let 'em jack you up, back you up, crack you up and pimp smack you up You gotta learn to hold ya own ~they get~ jealous when they see ya with ya mobile phone But tell the cops they can't touch this I don't trust this when they try to rush I bust this That's the sound of my tool you say it ain't cool my mama didn't raise no fool And as long as I stay black I gotta stay strapped and I never get to lay back 'Cause I always got to worry 'bout the pay backs some buck that I roughed up way back comin' back after all these years rat-tat-tat-tat-tat that's the way it is uhh

That's just the way it is -- Things'll never be the same -- That's just the way it is -- aww yeah (Repeat)

You're my brother, you're my sister That's just the way it is (way it is,way it is) Things will never be the same You're my brother, you're my sister That's the way it is Aww yeah

Some things will never change.

Discussion questions:

  1. Can racism ever be eradicated, if so, how? If not, why not?
  2. What’s the artist’s message?
  3. What thoughts does the song bring up for you?