Racist Language


Language is our most powerful tool to communicate ideas. Racial prejudice is apparent in our use of language around color. Language invoking color hues (e.g. black) and values (e.g. dark) often promote the idea of black as undesirable or inferior. 

  • Blacklist: list of people who can not be trusted
  • Black market: illegal economy
  • Black sheep: odd or unsavory member of the family
  • Blackmail: threat used to coerce someone to meet a demand
  • Black magic: use of supernatural powers for selfish, evil purposes
  • Black humor: humor on inappropriate topics (death, violence, discrimination)
  • In the dark: uninformed
  • Dark Ages: historical period associated with cultural decline in Europe
  • Deep, dark secret: extremely private, shameful secret

  • Dark side: the troubled, negative, usually hidden side of something

  • It’s always darkest before the dawn: phrase encourages persistence during bad times, since the worst times lead to something better.


Racism Concerns in the San Juan Unified School District


In July 2021, the School Board moved to a "by-trustee" system for electing board members, in response to a petition under the 2003 California Voting Rights Act. Instead of 5 board members, we will have 7 who live in the area they represent. This provides opportunities for more diverse board members to be elected. Of the 10 largest school districts in California, SJUSD will be 8th to implement by-trustee school board voting in November 2022.


In September 2019, an elementary teacher threw away students' art because it featured Black Lives Matter.





Some people think Barack Obama's election to the presidency symbolizes that America had moved beyond racial divisions and achieved a post-racial society.


Watch the 1965 clip from James Baldwin, and consider- how would Baldwin respond to those who say the political success of Barack Obama means racism is over?















What is Racism?


Racism is based in the idea that Blacks as a group are different than Asians as a group, or whites as a group are different than Latinos as a group. These differences are said to account for the disparity in access to resources like education, healthcare, and housing. 


Racism creates inequality through personal prejudice and discrimination by institutions. It was created by people. It can be challenged and changed. 


Antiracists resist racist ideas and policies. Antiracists believe in racial equality- the idea that blacks as a group should have roughly equal access as whites as a group to resources like education, healthcare, and housing. 


"Racial inequality is when two or more racial groups are not standing on approximately equal footing" (Kendi). If one race is different, but not better or worse than any other, the group would not fare much better or worse than any others in society. In the United States today, racial groups have unequal access to careers, housing, education, and more. Racial inequality is acceptable to racists, who believe racial groups are different, and those differences create a heirarchy of value. 

Racist Ideas

Related Research Guides

 Reading & Resources

Code Switch Podcast
understanding race project
ProQuest Black Freedom Struggle in the United States

Documentaries rated R or TV-MA