Teaching About Organized Racism

  • Kathleen Blee
  • Kelsy Burke


It can be easy to engage college and university students in the topic of organized racism, at least on a surface level, as the vile propaganda and violent actions of racist groups and movements are sensational and provocative. However, students’ understandings of organized racism often are very shallow and based largely on caricatured depictions of racist activists in films and on television. This essay describes four common obstacles that instructors face when they teach students about modern U.S. organized racism. These are the problem of the grotesque; the overshadowing of everyday racism; the slide to overly macro or micro explanations; and the paucity of good data. As a remedy to these obstacles, the authors present two alternatives to teaching about organized racism—a sociological approach and a trans-national approach—that may move students toward deeper and more complex interpretations of organized racism.


Racist Group White Privilege Complex Interpretation Racial Hate Everyday Racism 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.St. Norbert CollegeDe PereUSA

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