"Racism is different from racial prejudice, hatred, or discrimination. Racism involves one group having the power to carry out systematic discrimination through the institutional policies and practices of the society and by shaping the cultural beliefs and values that support those racist policies and practices." (Dismantling Racism Works, 2020)
This understanding of racism is based in Critical Race Theory, which asserts that race does not biologically exist, but is a social construct used to create social, economic, and legal differences in order to maintain power and privilege for white people. (Curry, 2020)
Systemic or 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." (NMAAHC, 2020)
Systemic racism is not synonymous with overtly racist acts that often come to mind with "racism" - burning crosses, lynching, and other Civil Rights era imagery. Instead, systemic racism is the fact that in the United States, our systems are set up to inherently disadvantage Black people and other people of color. Examples include redlining and housing discrimination, inequality in health care, and higher rates of police brutality.
This video series is part of a series that explains some of the major ways systemic racism impacts the lives of people of color in America. You can watch the entire series here.
In the U.S., white privilege is the lived experience of greater social/political access, representation and entitlement, and material and economic security that people considered white have as a result of white supremacy. It's important to note that while many white people are oppressed on the basis of class, gender, sexual orientation, ability, religion, culture, ethnicity, etc, it is still true that ALL white people benefit from white privilege in various ways.