What Is Racial Equity?
“Racial equity is about applying justice and a little bit of common sense to a system that’s been out of balance. When a system is out of balance, people of color feel the impacts most acutely, but, to be clear, an imbalanced system makes all of us pay.”
~ CSI President Glenn Harris
Imagine two neighborhoods.
In one neighborhood is a family of four, the Smiths. The Smiths’ neighborhood is stagnating, with abandoned homes, poor schools, and over-policing. Most of their neighbors, including themselves, are people of color.
In the adjoining neighborhood is a family of three, the Jones. The Jones’ neighborhood has plenty of fresh food markets, a robust bus system, parks, health centers and good schools. Families flock there because all of these services translate to economic opportunity and good health. Most of the families who live in this neighborhood, including the Jones, are White.
The racial composition of their neighborhoods didn’t just happen on their own. Who lives in which neighborhood and whether that neighborhood has decent housing, good schools, and well-paying jobs is determined by multiple, institutional policies and practices. Whether intentionally or not, these policies and practices have often discriminated by race, which is why we see so much difference in life outcomes based on race.
For example, in King County, Washington, there is a 10-year life expectancy difference between zip codes where residents are predominantly White and zip codes where residents are predominantly people of color.
We call this reality structural racial inequity.
The flip-side of this reality is racial equity.
At CSI, we define racial equity as both an outcome and a process. As an outcome, we achieve racial equity when race no longer determines one’s socioeconomic outcomes; when everyone has what they need to thrive. As a process, we apply racial equity when those most impacted by structural racial inequity are meaningfully involved in the creation and implementation of the institutional policies and practices that impact their lives.
When we achieve racial equity:
- People, including people of color, are owners, planners, and decision-makers in the systems that govern their lives.
- We acknowledge and account for past and current inequities, and provide all people, particularly those most impacted by racial inequities, the infrastructure needed to thrive.
- Everyone benefits from a more just, equitable system.
So, how do we get there? Read about our Four Strategies