Racism is, arguably, one of the most profuse and protracted social problems of our time (and particularly salient to the cultural and political carriage of the United States). Given this then, even identifying that to which it refers is highly contested and fraught. Indeed, thinkers ranging from academicians, philosophers, scientists, artists, pedagogues, politicians, religious leaders as well as the range of disciplines— biology, history, sociology, education, anthropology, legal studies, performance studies, economics, linguistics, media studies, psychology, literature, geography, health studies, gender studies, political science, fine arts, environmental science — have all, despite the diversity and expanse of their respective disciplinary mandates, continued to wrestle with the origins, meaning, and myriad manifestations of racism.
While there is no universally accepted definition of racism, the term typically cites some permutation of interpersonal attitudes and behaviors, or systems and structures (and the relationship between them) that are fundamentally rooted in the denigration and oppression of a given racial and/or ethnic group.
Therefore, in alignment with both breadth and complexity of the subject of racism, the topics that comprise this section are by no means comprehensive, but instead highlight some key concepts related to racism—-offering brief meditations as well as bibliographies as a point of entry into broader engagement with the subject.