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Understanding Structural Racialization

Date: 
10/01/2013
Author: 
john a. powell
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I think that understanding structural racialization is one of the key issues for anyone doing civil rights, antipoverty, or social justice work in the United States today :whether as a policy evaluator, an attorney, a social worker, an activist, a pastor, a philanthropist, or a legislator. So I’m especially excited to write an essay for this issue of Clearinghouse Review. Many of us come at a systemic understanding of racial harm through the idea of disparate impact, or through the outcomes of policies rather than their intentions. And that’s important. And in this essay I will talk about persistent racial disparities and the structures that recreate them. But, at its core, I assert that a structural racialization analysis is not only about how racialized disparities are produced, as important as this is. It is about how racialized sensibilities and concerns, both conscious and unconscious, have continued to create our sociopolitical structures, and also affect our understanding of ourselves and our communities. These sensibilities affect us all.
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