Friends General Conference

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Spiritual Deepening

Grounding Exercise

Key Definitions

Public domain.
  1. Race

    A social construct of human beings which assigns human worth and social status based on predominantly inherited physical characteristics such as skin color, hair or facial features.



    A host of practices, beliefs, social relations and phenomena based on race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin that work to reproduce a racial hierarchy and social structure that yields superiority and privilege for some, and discrimination and oppression for others. A component of racism is that it is supported by societal and institutional power and authority.  


    Cultural Racism

    Societal beliefs and customs that promote the assumption that the elements of a given culture, including the language and traditions of that culture are superior to those of other cultures because of the race of those involved. Cultural racism exists when there is a widespread acceptance of stereotypes concerning different ethnic or racial groups.

    The process of cultural racism is both historical and contemporary. From slavery, colonization and the forced removal of Indigenous people to conditioning from modern media segregating groups that are non-dominant, dominant cultural values are the imposed norm and do not allow for other forms of knowing, communicating, understanding and being in the world to exist legitimately.


    Institutional Racism

    Institutional/Structural racism is racial bias that occurs within and across institutions and social structures that work to reproduce advantages for white people. It is the impact of any organizational or social structure in which laws, policies, practices, cultural assumptions and socio-political and economic norms work in various and often reinforcing ways to perpetuate racial inequity and discrimination against people of color. (Ewuare Osayande, American Friends Service Committee Chief Diversity Officer, Implicit Bias: Developing Critical Consciousness in Service of Intercultural Advancement PowerPoint Presentation (2016)).