Naming and Addressing Systemic Racism

In a talk supported by Hardvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Dr. Camara Jones and Dr. David Williams combine their intellect and knowledge to address the subject of ‘Naming Racism’

To start this topic, Dr. Jones provides a definition of racism. Racism involves a structuring opportunities and assigning value based on the social interpretation of how one looks (which society calls race). This structuring does three things.

  1. Unfairly disadvantages some individuals and communities
  2. Unfairly advantages other individuals and communities
  3. Saps the strength of the whole society through the waste of human resources

Dr. David Williams introduces three challenges to addressing racism.

  1. We need to raise awareness levels of racial inequalities and the persistence of racism
  2. We need to build science base that will guide us in developing the political will to address racial and SES inequities in health
  3. We need to build empathy, that is, identify how to tell the story of the challenges of the disadvantaged in ways that emotionally connect and resonate with the larger society

When it comes to systemic evidence of racism within America, Dr. David and Dr. Jones both address the issues we face within our health system. When looking at life expectancy, there is a significant difference between college educated, and non-college educated individuals of a given race. However, when we look across educations, at every point of education, White Americans have an increased life expectancy over Black Americans.

These facts are further developed within the Radcliffe Institute talk, which you can find here:

As coaches, educating oneself on systematic racism, and the effects it has on races in America is crucial when it comes to being able to accurately and respectfully interact with diverse racial groups in America.

IOC's Tips of the Week are authored by Austin Matzelle