The How (Impact) Racism Affects Everyone

“Racism can be defined as organized systems within societies that cause avoidable and unfair inequalities in power, resources, capacities and opportunities across racial or ethnic groups. Racism can manifest through beliefs, stereotypes, prejudices or discrimination. This encompasses everything from open threats and insults to phenomena deeply embedded in social systems and structures.

Racism can occur at multiple levels, including internalized (the incorporation of racist attitudes, beliefs or ideologies into one’s worldview), interpersonal (interactions between individuals) and systemic (for example, the racist control of and access to labor, material and symbolic resources within a society). Racism persists as a cause of exclusion, conflict and disadvantage on a global scale, and existing data suggests racism is increasing in many national contexts.” National Library of Medicine (PLoS One. 2015; 10(9): e0138511. Published online 2015 Sep 23. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0138511)

Most of us know someone who has been impacted by racism, discrimination, bias and prejudice. The disease of racism and prejudice doesn’t just start and stay with the racist, it spreads to everyone on some level, whether or not we’re aware of it. This is, of course, not an exhaustive list but some things to think about if you’re asking yourself “why should I care?”

Here’s some of the many ways racism affects everyone – in no particular order.


  • and racial stereotyping is disrespectful to the dignity of human beings
  • inspires anger, fear, resentment and retaliation and diminishes or takes away a person’s right to freedom and to feel free
  • motivates some people to inflict violence on others leaving a lasting scar of loss, grief, fear, stress, lack of trust and resentment on individuals within communities
  • perpetuates rules and “societal norms” that separate BIPOC (Black, Indigenous & People of Color) and keeps them from access to equal and equitable education, healthcare, housing and job resources.
  • promotes bias, discrimination, bigotry and often cruel and unfair treatment by some people because of someone else’s race or color
  • bigotry and prejudice are destructive to humanity’s attempts at unity
  • divides families
  • divides friends
  • divides coworkers and overall relationships with those those outside of your race
  • promotes shame and embarrassment
  • invites and perpetuates hate; hurt people hurt people
  • is a place for bullies to thrive; bullies can be harmful to anyone who disagrees with them
  • divides people
  • instigates conflict
  • perpetuates the lie of superiority of one race or color over another
  • is the worst of humanity
  • promotes the separation of people by color for no good reason
  • criminalizes people based upon their color
  • makes people uncomfortable and promotes shame and guilt
  • is a companion to inequality and inequity and breeds, resentment, mistrust and violence
  • promotes psychological and physical harm on many innocent lives
  • perpetuated on victims spend an incredible amount of time just trying to be themselves and thrive under often difficult and demoralizing conditions
  • denies the world the best of us
  • or discrimination based on race or ethnicity, is a key contributing factor in the onset of disease in people of color
  • and its economic agendas and public policies support unbalanced distribution of wealth; keeping some (not just BIPOC) poor – for life
  • diminishes and destroys critical or needed public services to avoid sharing them with people of color, often resulting in everyone losing out of resources
  • upholds white resistance to voting rights for all and implementation of programs that would benefit non-white Americans
  • instigates the permission of voter suppression of BIPOC
  • promotes and perpetuates segregation in geographical and educational landscapes
  • promotes policies based on race or ethnicity that contribute to poverty
  • supports misappropriation of funds leaning towards the benefit of the wealthiest
  • encourages geographic manipulation by governing bodies to discriminate against poor and minorities for the distribution of resources that could benefit everyone, not just people of color
  • breeds inequality and continues to escalate while previously fought and won rights are diminished with the erosion of democratic norms
  • destroys or oppresses opportunities for genuine friendship and connection within different races
  • causes people to limit who they can love, be friends or associate with
  • makes individuals and communities more vulnerable to harm and violence
  • denies people the opportunity to have diverse and valuable relationships and experiences
  • isn’t love; and
  • hurts everyone; if some of us are not free to live in peace and dignity, then none of us are free