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Anti-racism Resources

This guide explores the causes and impacts of racism and how to be anti-racist.

Overt Racism

Overt racism or explicit racism is the intentional and/or obvious harmful attitudes or behaviors towards another minority individual or group because of the color of his/her skin (Elias, 2015).

  • Includes any speech or behaviors that demonstrate a conscious acknowledgement of racist attitudes and beliefs.
  • Rooted in white supremacy ideology, which it seeks to reinforce and maintain
  • Distinguished by blatant use of negative attitudes, ideas, actions directed at nonwhite racial groups
  • Can be practiced by individuals, groups, institutions, and across societies
  • With the rise of the civil rights movement and passage of civil rights protections, overt racism has become largely taboo in American society (Devine & Elliot, 1995); however recently there has been a rise of overtly racist incidents, such as hate crimes corresponding to the election of President Trump (Williamson & Gelfand, 2019).

Overt racist actions are those that are the easiest to see and describe as racism, unlike the more insidious, or covert forms of racism.


Covert Racism

Covert racism is racial discrimination that is concealed or subtle rather than obvious or public (Coates & Morrison, 2011).

  • Acts to subvert, distort, restrict, and deny racial minorities access to societal privileges and benefits 
  • A key feature of covert racism is that its disguised nature allows perpetrators to claim "plausible deniability" and to essentially gaslight their victims, that is to deny that the act was racist and undermine any claim of harm 
  • May be implicit as a result of unconscious bias that exist within an individual, regardless of ill-will or any self-aware prejudices


From Overt to Covert Racism - How Professional Black Women Still Suffer From a Lingering Legacy of Bias


Everyday Racism In America



Further Reading: 


Accessibility Statement
“Open CSCU” by the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 International License. The individual items included are subject to their respective license provisions.