Institutional Racism: A Primer on Theory and Strategies for Social Change

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Rowman & Littlefield, Jan 1, 2002 - Social Science - 236 pages
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Many people associate racism with bigoted individuals and extremist groups, but Shirley Better argues that its roots go much deeper than negative attitudes. She explores historical origins of institutional racism and its devastating effect on modern society. The author explains that racism persists because the dominant group is unwilling to acknowledge, let alone give up, the benefits of 'whiteness' such as economic privilege and social status. In the United States the economic exploitation of non-white groups has included the reliance on African American slave labor by Southern plantation owners, the systematic removal of Native Americans from their homelands to make room for white settlers, and the relegation of non-white workers to the most low-paid, dangerous, and dirty jobs. Through numerous examples, the author demonstrates that racism is embedded within the fabric of American society, restricting equal access to educational opportunities, employment, and housing. She explores the influence of racism in the criminal justice system where it leads to harsher penalties for members of non-white groups. Having outlined the causes and effects of institutional racism, the author presents numerous strategies for individuals and groups to combat this pervasive social problem. The goal is to gradually chip away at the foundation of institutional racism, replacing it with racial pluralism where differences are embraced and all persons are valued and rewarded according to their efforts. A Burnham Publishers book
  

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Contents

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About the author (2002)

Shirley Better is a professor in the School of Social Work at California State University at Los Angeles, where she designed and implemented an upper division theme of six courses focusing Institutional Racism. She is one of the founders of the National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW) and a founder of ABSW-Los Angeles. Dr. Better serves on the boards of several community-based organizations.

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