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Overcoming Internalized Racism

Updated: May 3, 2023

Recognizing and Addressing the Pervasive Impact of Internalized Racism on Individuals and Communities of Color

In Milwaukee's Lindsay Heights neighborhood, partners from Leading for Racial Equity and the Walnut Way Conservation Corp have joined forces to combat the pervasive issue of internalized racism.

The presentation was led by Rev. Marilyn Miller, a partner at Leading for Racial Equity, LLC and a community leader and consultant. Rev. Miller provided a deep understanding of racial equity and the importance of recognizing implicit bias while being civically engaged and leading change in our community. Rev Miller's approach confronts and works towards dismantling the harmful effects of racism that can be internalized by individuals.

The facilitation aimed to help participants recognize and understand the ways in which racism impacts their internal thought processes and actions towards themselves and others. She shared her insight on how to use creativity, vision, collaboration and collective action to create lasting change. During the facilitation, participants engaged in open discussions, exercises and activities that aimed to foster awareness and empowerment on the subject of internalized racism.

Throughout the presentation, Rev. Miller talked about how the effects of racism have been internalized by people of all races, and how these internalized beliefs can manifest in negative ways. She also discussed the importance of addressing these beliefs and how individuals can work towards overcoming the internalized biases they've inherited from society.

The facilitators emphasized the importance of collective action in challenging and dismantling systemic racism on both individual and institutional levels. The event, titled "We Shall Overcome Internalized Racism," was held at the North Division High School Auditorium, on April 14, 2023. One of the interesting things about the presentation was the use of multiple interactive tools to engage the audience. Participants were presented with various images, ideas and scenarios that challenged our thinking and encouraged us to reflect on our own internalized biases. This led to insightful group discussions and reflection on personal experiences, which helped us gain a better understanding of these complex issues.

The event was a resounding success, driven by the enthusiasm and dedication of the small group of individuals that participated. The resources shared during the facilitation, including the accompanying materials and presentations, are valuable tools for further learning and self-reflection, as well as for fostering greater understanding among communities.

The initiative taken by leaders like Rev. Marilyn Miller, Leading for Racial Equity, and the Walnut Way Conservation Corp are essential steps in creating a more equitable and just society. By addressing internalized racism and challenging the existing systemic structures, we can strive for progress towards a more inclusive and accepting world. Learn more about there work at Leading for Racial Equity: http://www.leadingforracialequity.org/

Which of the following strategies can help individuals recognize and address internalized racism?

  • Self-reflection

  • Community-based solutions

  • Education

True or False: Internalized racism only affects individuals of color and not the wider community.

  • True

  • False

What can community-based organizations do to combat internalized racism?

  • Advocate for policy change that supports community wellness

  • Foster awareness and empowerment

  • Advocate for policy change that supports community wellness


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