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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Naming Racism: A Conceptual Look at Internalized Racism in U.S. Schools

  • Author(s): Huber, Lindsay Perez
  • Johnson, Robin N.
  • Kohli, Rita
  • et al.

Internalized racism describes the conscious and unconscious acceptance of a racial hierarchy where whites are consistently ranked above People of Color. Although scholars across multiple disciplines have discussed this concept, the role of schools in instilling and perpetuating internalized racism within Students of Color has very rarely been examined. This paper is a conceptual piece that utilizes a Critical Race Theory framework to acknowledge the racialized experiences within classroom pedagogy, curriculum, and unequal school resources. We examine how these factors can negatively affect racial group-identity and contribute to internalized racism for Students of Color. Because internalized racism works to sustain educational and social inequity, this paper also explores ways that schools can function to break this cycle.

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