The following are exercises you need to complete. They will help you gain an understanding of how racism is subtle but powerful.

Typical Statements

Put an X. before those statements that represent your present beliefs or an 0 before those that represent previously held beliefs.

_ 1 Just what do these people want, anyway?

_ 2. I don't understand what you people are saying.

_ 3. On the whole, the educated, the upper classes, the emotionally mature, and the deeply religious are much less racist.

_ 4. Other ethnic groups had to struggle. Why is it so different for the Blacks?

_ 5. Angry minorities make me feel so helpless.

_ 6. Racism exists only where minorities exist. Remove the minorities and we won't have these problems.

_ 7. (To a minority) No matter what I say or do, it doesn't suit you. You're never satisfied. As far as you're concerned, I can't do anything right.

_ 8. If you could just get people feeling good about themselves, there would be less racism.

_ 9. I'm not racist, but when it comes right down to it, I wouldn't marry a Black person.

_ 10. I should not be held responsible for the behavior of my ancestors.

_ 11. I'm with them up to the point where they want to break the law or do something illegal.

_ 12. How can I be pro-Black without being anti-White?

_ 13. I am not personally responsible for the policies of racist institutions.

_ 14. The most important things minorities need are education and the vote.

_ 15. (White) people should not have to integrate if they don't want to.

_ 16. Love can't be legislated.

_ 17. What are we going to do to alleviate the Black problem?

_ 18. Every person should be judged solely on the basis of his or her accomplishments, regardless of race.

_ 19. We (whites) should get a little more appreciation for what we are doing to help.

_ 20. Some of my best friends are Black. ~

_ 21. (Said to a Black person)I've gotten to know you so well that I lust don't see you as Black any more

_ 22. Every time I express my opinion to a Black person, I get put down.

_ 23. On the basis of statistics, it's true that there is a higher crime rate in the ghetto.

_ 24. Black people are more in tune with their feelings; they are more emotional.

_25. In many situations minorities are paranoid and oversensitive. They read more into the situation than is really there. They find discrimination because they're always looking for it.

_26. Why don't they just relax?



    Below are descriptions of the racist assumptions in some of the 26 typical statements.

    1-2. Feigns ignorance of legitimate minority demands for the basic ideals of all humans-justice, equity, pluralism, human treatment.

    3. Assumes that racism is an individual matter rather than one of all Whites who take advantage the benefits of a White racist dominated society.

    4. Shows a deep ignorance of the special deprivations suffered by Black people because of Whites.

    5. A denial of White responsibility for dealing with White racism. The statement blames minorities for making Whites feel helpless--a special example of "blaming the victim".

    6. Says the problem is in being a minority, not in the reaction of Whites to minorities.

    7. Says there is nothing wrong with what the speaker says or does; it's only in the minority group member's perception of what is being said or done.

    8. Denies the fact of institutional racism and every White person's responsibility to combat it. Denies reality in that if racism weren't so powerful and so effective at keeping minority groups in their place, we'd have given it up a long time ago.

    9. A contradiction--self-evident.

    10. Avoids Whites' current responsibility for dealing with current racism. We are all guilty by -failing to take action and/or partaking of the benefits of a White racist society.

    11. Revolution is permitted for only the right (White) reasons.

    12. Assumes that there can be no true pluralism, that in fact White ~ right and that others are here only as Whites are willing to put up with them.

    13. Denial of responsibility and individual power to effect change.

    14. Denial of the presence and power of institutional racism.

    15. Denies legitimate human rights by treating the problem as one of individuals' feelings.

    16. Minority groups don't want love; they want equity.

    17. Mislabels the problem. It's a White problem.

    18. This is a statement that systematically ignores the cumulative effects of a tradition of institutionalized racism in this society and the larger amount of investment required by Blacks to attain the same accomplishments because of White racism.

    19. Should a battered child appreciate it when the battering stops and be grateful for only the stopping? Justice is appreciated.

    20. Insidious patronizing attitude; suggests a superior position of the White person. Whites choose; Blacks must be chosen.

    21. The speaker must deny minority group member's blackness in order to be able to relate to him/her.

    22. There's nothing wrong with the White opinion, only with the Black's reaction to it.

    23. Blaming the victim doesn't adequately account for what White institutions have done to produce the results.

    24. Reacting to stereotype.

    25. There's obviously something wrong with Blacks' perception of the situation than with the situation itself. Let's change the perceptions and leave the situation alone.

    26. It's all a Black problem. If they'd just be reasonable, they'd see that it's not as bad as they think it is and they'd understand. A total denial of the reality of the results of institutionalized racism.


    Indicate whether you have taken action on the items listed below. Check appropriate column.

    YES NO

  • 1. Have I aggressively sought out more information in an effort to enhance my own awareness and understanding of racism (talking with others, reading, listening?)

    2. Have I spent some time recently looking at my own racist attitudes and behaviors as they contribute to or combat racism around and within me?

    3. Have I reevaluated my use of terms phrases or behaviors that may be perceived by others as degrading or hurtful?

    4. Have I openly confronted a racist comment, joke, or action among those around me?

    5. Have I made a personal contact with myself to take a positive stand against racism, even at some possible risk, when the chance occurs?

    6. Have I become increasingly aware of racist TV programs, advertising, news broadcasts, textbooks, holiday observations, slogans, etc.

    7. Have I complained to those in charge of promoting racist TV programs, advertising, news broadcasts, holiday observations, slogans, etc.?

    8. Have I suggested and taken steps to implement discussions or workshops aimed at understanding and eliminating racism, sexism, and ageism with friends, colleagues, social clubs, or church groups?

    9. Have I been investigating and evaluating political candidates at all levels in semis of their stance and activity against racist, sexist, and ageist government practices?

    10. Have I investigated curricular of local schools in terms of their treatment of the issues of racism, sexism, and ageism (also, textbooks, assemblies, faculty, staff, administration, and athletic programs and directors)?

    11. Have I contributed time and/or funds to an agency, fund, or program that actively confronts the problems of racism, sexism, and ageism?

    12. Have my buying habits supported non-racist, non-sexist, and non-ageist shops, companies, or personnel?

    13. Is my school or place of employment a target for my educational efforts in responding to racism, sexism, and ageism? 

    14. Have I become seriously dissatisfied with my own level of activity in combating racism, sexism, and ageism?

    15. Have I realized that White Americans are trapped by their own schools, homes, media, government, families, etc., even when they choose not to be openly racists or sexists?

    16. Have I ended my affiliation with organizations that are racist, sexist, or ageist in their membership requirements?

    17. Have I subscribed to a publication which will educate me in the area of a culture other than my own? Have I left copies of that publication in sight where my friends and associates might see it and que stion my interest in it?

    18. Have I made an effort to learn some of the language of those in my community who may speak something other than standard English?