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Anti-Racism Resources


Black Lives Matter rally, Vancouver, May 2020

Image: Black Lives Matter, Anti-racism rally at Vancouver Art Gallery, May 31, 2020 by GoToVan. CC by 2.0

The Merritt College Library stands against racial injustice and the systemic racism experienced by members of the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) community. This guide links to Merritt Library books and films as well as other online resources.

This guide is not to be interpreted as a complete list of resources, but rather as a starting point for discovery on the topic of anti-racism.

Speak Up and Be an Active Ally!

From the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African American History and Culture article on Being Antiracist:  A commitment to being anti-racist manifests in our choices. When we encounter interpersonal racism, whether obvious or covert, there are ways to respond and interrupt it. Asking questions is a powerful tool to seek clarity or offer a new perspective. Below are some suggestions to use in conversations when racist behavior occurs:

  • Seek clarity: “Tell me more about __________.”
  • Offer an alternative perspective: “Have you ever considered __________.”
  • Speak your truth: “I don’t see it the way you do. I see it as __________.”
  • Find common ground: “We don’t agree on __________ but we can agree on __________.”
  • Give yourself the time and space you need: “Could we revisit the conversation about __________ tomorrow.”
  • Set boundaries. “Please do not say __________ again to me or around me."

From How to be Anti-racist: Speak Out in Your Own Circles by Kristen Rogers (CNN, June 4, 2020): You need to be willing, committed and able to rebut problematic remarks and engage people in informative conversations about race at the dinner table and over board games or ball games. It benefits people of color and everyone else.

From the New York Times, How to Be an Active Bystander When You See Casual Racism, by Ruth Terry (Oct. 29, 2020). To beat the bystander effect, we have to retrain our brains and establish new patterns of behavior. 


Implicit Bias: Also known as unconscious or hidden bias, implicit biases are negative associations that people unknowingly hold. They are expressed automatically without conscious awareness. Many studies have indicated that implicit biases affect individuals’ attitudes and actions, thus creating real-world implications even though individuals may not even be aware that these biases exist within themselves. Notably, implicit biases have been shown to trump individuals’ stated commitments to equality and fairness, thereby producing behavior that diverges from the explicit attitudes that many people profess.

Source: Cheryl Staats, State of the Science: Implicit Bias Review, Kirwan Institute, Ohio State University  (2005). 

Test your Implicit Bias at Harvard's Project Implicit - choose from a variety of quick tests to gauge your bias across several topics.

Microaggressions: Racial microaggressions are the brief and everyday slights, insults, indignities and denigrating messages sent to people of color by well-intentioned white people who are unaware of the hidden messages being communicated. These messages may be sent verbally ("You speak good English."), nonverbally (clutching one's purse more tightly), or environmentally (symbols like the confederate flag or using American Indian mascots).

Source:  Derald Wing Sue, Racial Microaggressions in Everyday Life: Is subtle bias harmless? Psychology Today (2010).

White Privilege: The unquestioned and unearned set of advantages, entitlements, benefits and choices bestowed on people solely because they are white. 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 first-aid kit having “flesh-colored” Band-Aids that only match the skin tone of white people. 
  •  White people’s skin tone will not be a reason people hesitate to trust their credit or financial responsibility. 
  • White people are less likely to be followed, interrogated or searched by law enforcement because they look “suspicious.”

Sources: Cory Collins, What is White Privilege, Really? Learning for Justice (Fall 2018) and Racial Equity Tools Glossary

Institutional Racism:  Institutional racism refers specifically to the ways in which institutional policies and practices create different outcomes for different racial groups. The institutional policies may never mention any racial group, but their effect is to create advantages for whites and oppression and disadvantage for people from groups classified as people of color.


  • Government policies that explicitly restricted the ability of people to get loans to buy or improve their homes in neighborhoods with high concentrations of African Americans (also known as “red-lining”).
  • City sanitation department policies that concentrate trash transfer stations and other environmental hazards disproportionately in communities of color.
  • The creation of Historically Black Colleges as a way to make sure that talented African American students would not attend other universities and colleges that were predominantly white... At the same time, the schools were set up in such a way that they are chronically under-funded.

Source: Maggie Potapchuk, Sally Leiderman, Donna Bivens, and Barbara Major,  Flipping the Script: White Privilege and Community Building  (2005).