Why structural racism matters? | Bite-Sized PD for Educational Equity

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Why structural racism matters?


Today's Bite-Sized PD for Educational Equity was inspired by:

Don’t Talk about Implicit Bias without Talking about Structural Racism

Medium | National Equity Project | Kathleen Osta & Hugh Vasquez

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Why structural racism matters?

Understanding the relationship between implicit bias and structural racism is necessary to address systemic inequality. Unaddressed implicit bias perpetuates structural inequality; inequitable structural outcomes reinforce implicit bias. For example, implicit bias about black males engaging in worse behaviors than white males fuels inequitable suspension rates; which in turn, reinforce a belief that black male students engage in worse behaviors than white male students.


Implicit bias about black males results in greater suspension rates, or structural racism, and greater suspension rates reinforce implicit bias about black males.


Top Five Takeaways for Equity in Education

  1. Understanding implicit bias means looking in the mirror and through the window. The former refers to reflecting on how one’s beliefs and biases are shaped by one’s experiences; the latter refers to interrogating how beliefs and biases contribute to institutional barriers and inequality.  
  2. Understanding implicit bias means accepting that our brains engage in unconscious processing to keep us safe; meaning that we all have implicit bias, no matter our identities.
  3. Understanding implicit bias means understanding that our brains create cognitive shortcuts. 
  4. Understanding implicit bias allows for the dismantling of structural racism, or policies that privilege whites over non-whites.
  5. Understanding implicit bias requires that leaders are vulnerable in admitting their biases and vigilant in dismantling policies that perpetuate structural racism.


Beliefs inform our inequitable policies resulting in inequitable outcomes that reinforce our biases. Many schools and school districts are actively engaged in efforts to change structures to mitigate the effects of bias and increase educational equity within schools and across communities.

DO NOW - Identify one implicit bias that has emerged within you and share it with a trusted friend.

As leaders for equity, we have to examine, unpack and mitigate our own biases and dismantle the policies and structures that hold inequity in place. We call this leading from the inside-out.

~ Kathleen Osto & Hugh Vasquez

Why does structural racism matter?

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