The Institute on Race and Ethnicity has adopted a psychosocial model to explain its Theory of Change, with the premise that racism is a socially-constructed disease that begins in the mind, and yet is treatable and curable. We believe that the antidote must embody both science and education in order to transform unhealthy thinking and aid in the healing process. This approach assumes that racism when classified as a social disease has some level of predisposition based on a number of factors (value formation, parental/family influence, educational experience, home environment, neighborhood, geographic origin, etc.); however, it by no means needs to be terminal.
Although there is disagreement in scholarly circles on a common definition of racism, it usually takes on three basic forms: individual, systemic, and institutional. Racism in its purest form depends on the ability to give or withhold social benefits, services, facilities, opportunities, and other resources from someone who is entitled to them, yet denied on the basis of race, color, or national origin. The exercise of power can be either legal or illegal, and is not limited to the traditional concepts of power.
The intent, be it conscious or unconscious, is strictly irrelevant; the focus is on the result of the behavior. (Randall, 2006)
Individual racism consists of overt and covert acts by individuals that might cause emotional or mental trauma, injury, death, destruction of property or denial of services or opportunities.
Institutional racism is often more subtle and involves policies, practices and procedures of institutions that have a disproportionately negative effect on racial minorities’ access to and quality of goods, services, and opportunities.
Systemic racism is the basis for how individual and institutional racism is played out, for it is the value system that is embedded in a society that facilitates and supports racial discrimination.
The Institute accepts that it must engage at all three levels to forge a social movement in Arkansas to actualize racial justice. The evolutionary five-stage process outlined below encapsulates the Institute’s Theory of Change.
Racism is pervasive and often insidious; its existence must be called out for what it is, even when perpetrated unintentionally.
Because racism is a disease of the mind, it is important to understand how and to what extent it manifests itself in individuals and institutions.
Fostering a culture of acceptance, fairness, and equality is the best remedy to erasing racial stereotypes and assumptions.
Appropriate measurements must be instituted to determine the effectiveness of interventions aimed at attacking racist attitudes and behaviors.
Individuals and institutions must commit to ongoing self-evaluation of their racial prejudices and racist actions.
Learn more about how we strive to achieve our Goals and Objectives>>>
Randall, V., Dying While Black, Dayton, OH: Seven Principles Press, 2006.