Understanding Racism 101

1. It can be overt and intentional as in White supremacist groups who advocate for and work to eliminate people of color. Think Charlottesville.

2. It can be covert and intentional as in redlining, gerrymandering, housing segregation, confederate statues and symbols, a criminal justice system where black and brown men have a greater chance of going to prison than their white counterparts committing the same crimes.

3. It can be overt and unintentional as in racial jokes and racially offensive Halloween costumes.

4. It can be in modern forms such as in racial slurs, hiring practices, discriminatory selling goods, services and business practices. Think Starbucks incidents.

5. It can be passive tolerance of others who espouse discriminatory beliefs or practice. Think Republicans who did not vote to condemn Trump's racist remarks.

6. It can be policies and practices designed to keep the status quo of whites in control and in dominance. Think voter suppression and how immigration laws are being tailored.

7. It can be denying racism because it is not your lived experience. Think Mitch McConnell stating that Trump isn't racist. It's like someone punches you and then they tell you it didn't hurt you. The person next to you, who saw you get punched, agrees with the puncher that it didn't hurt. You, on the other hand, experience the pain. After the growing list of definitive racist remarks and behaviors by this President, if you still believe he is not racist, you obviously are not the target of his racism or you have no empathy for those who are affected by racism. Examine your social privilege.

8. It is determined not by intentions but rather by its impact. People of Color experience real fear and consequences as a result of this President's words, actions and behaviors. It affects the quality of our daily lives. Telling women of color to "go back to the country they came from" is different than saying "if you don't like America, leave." Trump certainly didn't leave under Obama's administration and he had lots of negative things to say about America then. No one said he "hated America" and told him to go back to Germany.

9. It differs from personal negative prejudices or biases that we might hold toward certain groups. It is not just someone's opinion. It is systemic, structural, and holds the power to interrupt, interfere with, and possibly destroy the quality of people of color's lives. It is not just Trump's remarks or his behaviors or nasty attitude toward people of color. It is the power he holds in the highest office to be able to make policies, practices and set up conditions that adversely and disproportionately affect people of color. He is working to do that.

10. Having friends of a different race, being married to someone who is an immigrant, hiring people of color isn't proof that you are not racist. Recall that the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, had five black children with enslaved Sally Hemings. Jefferson was publicly silent on issue of slavery and emancipation, yet his five children and Sally were slaves. Trump does have friends of color, is married to an immigrant, and has Ben Carson in his cabinet. He is still a racist.