Updated October 13, 2020
The entire Freire Family – a community of students, parents, staff, board members, and community partners across four campuses and our network office – is committed to developing an actively anti-racist school network. This work is essential to support and uplift our Black community and keep our kids psychologically safe and academically strong as they grow into engaged, self-actualized agents of change in their schools, their communities and the world.
To do so, we must end institutional racism in the Freire community. In partnership with trusted, expert external partners, we will take the first steps of this sustained commitment to eradicate institutional racism by doing the following during the 2020-21 school year:
- Develop an understanding of the historical antecedents and causes of systemic racism (i.e. institutional and structural racism);
- Foster a common set of words and understandings to talk about racism and anti-racism;
- Heighten our awareness of implicit bias and individual-level racism (both internalized and interpersonal) and how that manifests into racism at the institutional level;
- Create clear, consistent and sustainable policies, practices, beliefs and behaviors that we can employ to uproot institutional bias and racism in routine and non-routine ways, including around hiring, staff development, and curriculum and instruction.
- Develop our voices as advocates for equity and anti-racism and work collectively and alongside our kids to begin to “build the future” they deserve – one free of systemic racism in all its forms.
This vision statement was developed by Freire Schools’ Racial Justice Working Group and the People of Color Collective, building on the work of Freire Middle School’s Our Time is Now group. This is a work in progress; we will revisit this vision at set intervals and revise it to reflect our learning and growth.
Internalized racism lies within individuals. These are our private beliefs and biases about race and racism, influenced by our culture. Internalized racism can take many different forms including racial prejudice toward other people of a different race; internalized oppression, the negative beliefs about oneself by people of color; or internalized privilege, beliefs about superiority or entitlement by white people. An example is that a belief that you or others are more or less intelligent, or beautiful, because of your race.
Interpersonal racism occurs between individuals. These are biases that occur when individuals interact with others and their private racial beliefs affect their public interactions. Examples include racial slurs, bigotry, hate crimes, and racial violence.
Institutional racism occurs within institutions and systems of power. It is the unfair policies and discriminatory practices of particular institutions (schools, workplaces, etc.) that routinely produce racially inequitable outcomes for people of color and advantages for white people. Individuals within institutions take on the power of the institution when they reinforce racial inequities. An example is a school system that concentrates people of color in the most overcrowded schools, the least-challenging classes, and the least-qualified teachers, resulting in higher dropout rates and disciplinary rates compared with those of white students.
Structural racism is racial bias among institutions and across society. It involves the cumulative and compounding effects of an array of societal factors including the history, culture, ideology, and interactions of institutions and policies that systematically privilege white people and disadvantage people of color. An example is the overwhelming number of depictions of people of color as criminals in mainstream media, which can influence how various institutions and individuals treat people of color with suspicion when they are shopping, traveling, or seeking housing and employment – all of which can result in discriminatory treatment and unequal outcomes.
Source: Moving the Race Conversation Forward: How the Media Covers Racism, and Other Barriers to Productive Racial Discourse, Part 1 (Race Forward, January 2014)