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Systemic Racism Resources

As part of an ongoing discussion about racism and its impacts, in December 2020/January 2021, the JCC hosted a series entitled “Systemic Racism: Where We Are and How We Got Here,” led by former Indianapolis City County Councilor and Deputy Mayor Paula Means and community organizer and entrepreneur Nedra Feeley. Slide decks from those presentations as well as other suggested resources and a glossary of terms are shared here for the benefit of the community.

Session 1: Where We Are and How We Got Here


Other Resources:

Book – Waking Up White by Debby Irving

Civil Rights Timeline (CNN)

“Black Americans Are Forced to Operate Virtually Our Entire Lives in Battle Mode” (Nathan McCall, Washington Post)

“Could You Pass This Voting Literacy Test Designed to Disenfranchise African Americans?” (Katie Serena, All That’s Interesting)

“Race is Fake: Racism is Real” presentation (Dr. Michael Twyman, Center for Congregations)
For more resources from the Center for Congregations, see below

“The Civil War Timeline — A Complete History” (CivilWarTimeline.net)

Reconstruction Era (History.com)

Shelby County vs. Holder Supreme Court Decision

“The Civil Rights Movement And The Second Reconstruction, 1945—1968” (from Black Americans in Congress, a web publication of History, Art and Archives of the U.S. House of Representatives)

“The Voting Rights Act of 1965 at 50: LBJ, MLK and How It Came to Be” (Maya Rhodan, TIME)

“The Voting Rights Act of 1965 at 50: How It Changed the World” (James C. Cobb, TIME)

“How the Voting Rights Act transformed black voting rights in the South, in one chart” (German Lopez, Vox)

“5 Changes Made to the Voting Rights Act Since it Passed in 1965” (Chris Bondi, Newsmax)

“Congress and the Voting Rights Act of 1965” (National Archives)


Session 2: Home Ownership and Wealth Accumulation


Other Resources:


Redlining Legend
Indianapolis 1939 map with highways overlaid (IUPUI Polis Center/SAVI Community Information System)


Indianapolis 1939 Map with 38th and Meridian Streets Outlined

Home Owners’ Loan Corporation Maps (Digital Scholarship Lab, University of Richmond)

“Residential Security Maps and Neighborhood Appraisals: The Homeowners’ Loan Corporation and the Case of Philadelphia” (Scholarly Commons, University of Pennsylvania)

Agnes Street Field School Report (IUPUI)

“Redlining Robs Black Families of Generational Wealth” (Washington Post)

“Study finds inequities in lending in majority-Black neighborhoods” (Samm Quinn, Indianapolis Business Journal)

“First Merchants makes big moves after lending-bias settlements” (Greg Andrews, Indianapolis Business Journal)

“Report showing gains in bank access overshadowed by COVID” (Indianapolis Business Journal)

“Fall of the Avenue: How developers erased Indiana Ave. while celebrating its jazz history” (Christine Fernando, Indianapolis Star)

“Indiana Avenue: The Ethnic Cleansing of Black Indianapolis” (Wildstyle Paschall, New America)

“The Jazz Catalyst” (Kyle Long, NOTE by Classical Music Indy)

“Past Forward” (Urban Patch – Roots)

Home Ownership by Race, 1995-2015 (U.S. Census)

Book – White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo


Session 3: The Past is Prologue – Teaching Our Children



Session 4: Is Change Necessary? If So, What is My Role?


Other Resources:

“Dr. Susan Moore, Black physician, dies of coronavirus after alleging racist treatment at Carmel hospital” (Justin L. Mack and Holly V. Hays, Indianapolis Star)

Policing for a Black Lives Matter march at the Lincoln Memorial, June 2, 2020
Policing on the U.S. Capitol steps, Jan 6, 2021


Movie – 13th

“Marion County to create unit focused on finding wrongful convictions” (Lawrence Andrea, Indianapolis Star)


“Minority-owned businesses were last in line to receive loans, latest PPP data show” (CBS News)

“Every stitch tells a story: A Black quilter confronts injustice” (Christian Science Monitor)

“Letter from a Birmingham Jail” by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Book – Dear White People by Justin Simien

Book – How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi


Other Suggested References

Poem – “Let America Be America Again” by Langston Hughes

“Budgeting for Equity” document and presentation (Indianapolis City-County Council)

BlackSpace Manifesto

“The rise and fall of IMPD’s celebrity canine” (Ryan Martin, Indianapolis Star)

“Indianapolis’ K-9 unit has its roots in the 1960s civil rights movement” (Ryan Martin, IndyStar; Andrew Fan, Dana Brozost-Kelleher and Ellen Glover, Invisible Institute | Visuals by Mykal McEldowney and Stephen Beard, IndyStar)

“Denial is the Heartbeat of America” (Ibram X. Kendi, The Atlantic)

“Sent Home to Die” (Annie Waldman and Joshua Kaplan, ProPublica)

“Southern schools’ history textbooks: A long history of deception and what the future holds” (Brian Lyman, Montgomery Advertiser)

“A letter to White leaders about White supremacy and Christian nationalism” (Brad M. Griffin, Fuller Youth Institute)

“Storming the Capitol Was About Maintaining White Power In America” (Hakeem Jefferson, FiveThirtyEight)

“How a Pro-Trump Mob Stormed the U.S. Capitol” (New York Times)

Movie – Driving While Black

Book – Caste by Isabel Wilkerson

Book – Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi

Book – Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho

Government Alliance on Race and Equity – Tools and Resources

65 Resources for Racial and Health Equity

“9 Essential Reads for Your Racial Justice Conversations” (Yes Magazine)

Racial Equity Tools: Core Concepts

“The Author of White Fragility Takes On ‘Nice Racism'” (John Blake, CNN)

“JPMorgan is calling for reforms to stop racial bias in housing” (Matt Egan, CNN Business)

Antiracism Learning Resources (Jewish Jacksonville)

“‘We’ve Found the Enemy, and It’s Not Each Other.’ Heather McGhee’s Quest to End America’s Zero-sum Thinking on Race” (Alana Semuels, TIME)

Avoiding Microaggressions in Classrooms and Online

Glossary (in alphabetical order)

Thanks to Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF) Playbook / IPS District Equity Team for some of the definitions in this glossary

Antiracist: Someone who is actively seeking to not only raise their own awareness about race and racism, but also is willing to take action when they see racial power inequities in everyday life

Antisemitism: A certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities

Bias: A preference toward someone or something instead of choosing another

Class: Categorization based on socioeconomic standing

Denial: Refusal to acknowledge the societal privileges (see the term “privilege”) that are granted based on an individual’s ethnicity or grouping.  Those who are in a stage of denial tend to believe, “People are people. We are all alike regardless of the color of our skin.” In this way, the existence of a hierarchical system or privileges based on ethnicity or race can be ignored.

Discrimination: A distinction in favor or against a person or group based on identity

Empowerment: When target group members refuse to accept the dominant ideology and their subordinate status and take actions to redistribute social power more equitably

Equality: Ensuring everyone gets the same things in order to enjoy full, healthy lives

Equity: Ensuring everyone has access to the resources, opportunities, power and responsibility they need to reach their full, healthy potential as well as making changes so unfair differences may be understood and addressed

Inclusion: The involvement and empowerment of all people, especially people of color, people experiencing material poverty, women, LGBTQ people and people with disabilities

Intersectionality: Framework that explores the dynamic between co-existing identities (Ex. Black, woman, poor, lesbian) and connected systems of oppression (Ex. Racism, sexism, classism, homophobia)

Macroaggression: Instances of prejudice enacted with a purpose to uphold White supremacy and target people of color

Microaggression: Everyday, automatic, and negative racialized messages that people of color receive because of their racial group

Opportunity: A resource or circumstance (Ex. Education, access to food, transportation, social support) that makes it possible for a person to thrive

Opportunity Gap: The unequal or inequitable distribution of resources and opportunities

Oppression: A relationship of dominance and subordination between groups of people in which one benefits from the systematic abuse, exploitation and/or injustice directed toward the other

Person of Color: Primarily used to describe any person who is not considered “white”. In its current meaning, the term originated in, and is primarily associated with, the United States; however since the 2010s it has been adopted elsewhere in the Anglosphere (often as person of colour), including relatively limited usage in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Ireland, South Africa and Singapore. As with many terms, the connotations of Person of Color continue to evolve.

Power: In social science, the ability to use one’s standing and resources to influence and control others

Prejudice: A negative outlook toward a person or group, based on perceived status or characteristics and independent of facts

Privilege: Unintentional advantage a person has by being a member of the dominant group in any given environment (race, class, gender, sexual orientations, etc.)

Race: A socially constructed norm that categorizes individuals by color of their skin

Racial Disparity: Unequal outcomes experienced by one racial or ethnic group when compared to another racial or ethnic group (in contrast, disproportionality compares the proportion of one racial or ethnic group to the same racial or ethnic group in the population)

Racial Disproportionality: The ratio between the percentage of persons in a particular racial or ethnic group at a particular decision point or experiencing an event (maltreatment, incarceration, school dropouts) compared to the percentage of the same racial or ethnic group in the overall population

Racial Equity Lens:  A way of viewing society that is aware of the inequities in access to resources, opportunities, power based on race

Racial Prejudice: A negative outlook toward a person or group, based specifically on their perceived race

Racism: Racial prejudice combined with power

Right: A resource or position that everyone has equal access or availability to regardless of their social group membership

Social Justice: Justice in terms of distribution of wealth, opportunities and privileges within a society

Structural Racism: The systematic distribution of resources, power and opportunity in our society to the benefit of people who are white and the exclusion of people of color. Policies and practices upheld and perpetuated over time by institutions that benefit people who are white at the exclusion of people of color

Wealth Gap: The disparity in earnings and assets between any given groups

White Fragility: Discomfort and defensiveness on the part of a white person when confronted by information about racial inequality and injustice

White Power: A white supremacist slogan commonly shouted at white supremacist events as a racist rallying cry.

White Privilege/White Advantage: The fact of people with white skin having advantages in society that others do not


Anti-Racism Resources for Local Congregations

Compiled by Kate White (Associate Director for Resources, Center for Congregations) to promote anti-racism work in the congregational setting. This list includes wisdom from people of color and informs the actions of predominately white congregations. Due to the great need and disparate experiences across color lines, this list is limited to educating white congregations. Resources for BIPOC congregations should be explored further.


How to Preach a Dangerous Sermon
book and webinar by Frank A. Thomas

“Preaching During Crisis: Igniting Pastoral Imagination in the Face of Fatigue, Injustice and Collective Trauma” Town Hall (view directly on Vimeo)

Discussion Guides

“Growing a Personal Anti-Racist Voice and Identity” (Anita S. Coleman, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary)

“How to Have Helpful Conversations About Race in the Church” (Women of the ELCA)

“Christians and Racial Justice” (Sojourners)


“Sacred Conversations to End Racism” (United Church of Christ)

“Dismantling Racism” Panel Discussions (United Methodist Church)

The Color of Compromise book and video series by Jemar Tisby



Be the Bridge

Allies for Change

Take Action

Book – Becoming an Antiracist Church: Journeying Toward Wholeness by Joseph Barndt

9 Things Your Church Can Do to Fight Racism (North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church)

“Dismantling Racism – Becoming an Actively Anti-Racist Institution” (Unity Church – Unitarian)

“‘400 years of tears’ – how three churches in the present are beginning to atone for the past” (Edie Gross, Faith & Leadership)

“Ways Your Congregation Can Act Now for Racial Justice” (Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Union for Reform Judaism)

“Undoing Racism: Continuum of Action” (Intercommunity Peace & Justice Center)

Faith in Action

Book Studies

Living Into God’s Dream by Catherine Meeks

Roadmap to Reconciliation 2.0 by Brenda Salter McNeil

The Heart of Racial Justice by Brenda Salter McNeil and Rick Richardson

Be the Bridge by Latasha Morrison

Divided by Faith by Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith

Resource Lists

“Resources for a Church that Wants to Fight for Black Lives” (South Bend City Church)

“Racial Reconciliation and Systemic Racism” (Project Peace)

“Combatting Racism” (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops)

“Racial Justice Resources” (Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism)

“Let’s Address Racism” (Congregational Resource Guide, Center for Congregations)