Institutional Change

After completing this module, you will be able to:

1. Explain why it is important to focus on institutions when combating racism
2. Begin evaluating your own organization for barriers to racial diversity

The tasks below will be automatically checked off once you complete watching the videos and taking the quiz.


Lesson 3: Where to Focus

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For a long time, we have been asking individuals to change when it comes to racism. While we should combat individual racism, remember it is the institutions that have the power to prevent someone from getting access to something. We need to turn our efforts to those institutions so we can ensure all people have the rights they deserve when within those institutions.

To identify these barriers, which are often invisible and unconscious, organizations have to commit to evaluating the policies and practices that have become mainstream in their operation.

Lesson 4: Starting the Conversation

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Starting a conversation about racism in your organization can feel overwhelming. There are many places where we can get distracted or head off topic because the topic might feel too overwhelming or you aren’t sure what to do. Remember, eradicating racism is a process and not a problem you will solve overnight. What’s important is that you start, and then you can continue to work towards a more equitable workplace.

Understanding Your Influence

Before you start asking people around your organization about barriers that may exist for different groups of people, take a look around and think about who you do and don’t see around you. Ask yourself why some people may be left out and what role you have in why that is.

Remember, if you have to defend it, you need to reexamine it. Identify your area of influence and start by thinking through how you can make changes in those areas.

Reflection Questions
  1. What barriers do you feel still exist inside your institution? Remember, these barriers may be invisible and unconscious.
  2. What kind of organization do you want to be a part of? Do you feel your organization currently meets those standards? If not, what steps do you see forward?
  3. Do a quick mental evaluation of the diversity of your workplace. What can change about who is there and who isn’t?
Action Steps

How can you take what you’ve learned in this module back to your organization? Read over the Action Steps for Module 2 and start working on these steps in the next week.

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