UNDERSTANDING SYSTEMIC RACISM
Welcome to the 21-Day Equity Challenge!
Our society has a long history of exploiting identity... a history we must all confront.
It is time for us to take a closer look at the inequities that are deeply rooted in our systems and institutions, and work together to create an America where every individual has the opportunity to succeed, regardless of race, gender, sexuality, religion, and identity.
Over the next 21 days, we will explore some difficult topics, like structural racism, segregation, and privilege, to open up dialogue on how we can be champions of equity in our personal and professional lives. To learn and to grow... together.
Before you get started, please fill out this pre-challenge survey.
We also encourage you to download your Day 1 Journal Page – a tool you are invited to use to take full advantage of what the challenge has to offer.
Today, we will define race as a concept. However, before sharing this definition, we ask that you reflect on your personal understanding of race by answering the following questions:
- What is race to you?
- Is race science based, or a social construct?
- How does your race impact you on a day to day basis?
- Are there any unique events that have occurred exclusively because of your race?
After considering these questions, feel free to use the resources below to learn more about racial equity and the role that it can play in the lives of not only yourself, but your peers and coworkers as well.
Remember, we have a large amount of content to provide multiple perspectives. We suggest keeping your learning to 10-15 minutes a day (unless of course you are REALLY intrigued by the day’s content.)
We hope everyone will digest this content slowly to avoid burn out and losing interest over the duration of the challenge. Please find the shared definition of race below.
Race: A socially constructed way of grouping people based on skin color and other apparent physical differences.
TODAY’S CHALLENGE: Do one or more of the following…
Watch Growing Pains from TEDxYouth@Davenport — A collaboration of three lifelong friends, they recount their very different experiences growing up in very similar situations. Nia, Lily, and Nina express their unique and similar struggles, using their voice in this story-based speaking performance. (5:05)
CONVERSATION PIECE: Art Addressing Equity
Artist: Ai Weiwei • Title: Self Portrait in Legos • Date of piece: 2017
LEGO bricks, Image: 15 × 15 in. (38.1 × 38.1 cm.), Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collections; Gift of John and Mary Pappajohn, 2017.33 Photo Credit: Rich Sanders. Courtesy of Ai Wei Wei and the For-Site Foundation.
“Ai Wei Wei is an artist and social activist who has used his art to address the plight of refugees and political prisoners worldwide. Both a refugee and formerly a political prisoner in China, Ai’s self-portrait in Legos follows his large installation of Lego portraits of political prisoners from around the world at Alcatraz Prison in 2014.”
Des Moines Art Center