My co-author, Dr. Kesho Scott, Associate Professor of American Studies and Sociology at Grinnell College and a diversity trainer for over twenty-give years employs the concept of "Unlearning Racism." This is a methodology that gained prominence in the 1980s by the late West Coast (white) activist, Ricky Sherover-Marcuse (http://www.unlearningracism.org/). She defined racism and all "ISMs" as "...the systematic mistreatment of one group of people by another group of people for a purpose or advantage." According to Scott, these systems of mistreatment are learned, approved, rewarded, and develop a life of their own because they are internalized by people and practiced (and perpetuated) in institutions.
Says Scott, "you can change the people," as she has observed after conducting hundreds of "Unlearning Racism" and Diversity workshops nationally and internationally. However, she notes, unequal systems persists because they are part of the structure and the organizational behavior. The net result of structural racism and structural systems of inequality is that even when non-whites hold leadership positions, the structures can still be racist. This presents non-whites with a dilemma; they feel powerless to protest or challenge the perpetuation of inequality. "And when policies and goals of diversity are 'so-called' institutionalized," says Scott, "non-white attitudes might change, but power is not shared by all."