University of Michigan RacismLab Annual Symposium on Race and Racism
TOXIC EQUILIBRIUM: STRUCTURAL RACISM AND POPULATION HEALTH INEQUITIES
The American social structure is composed of a resilient, symbiotic network of the formal and informal institutions that operate to maintain an equilibrium toward White privilege. Across time and place, changes in one institution can reverberate through other institutions, and importantly, when we attempt to intervene toward equity in one institution, other institutions can move to restore this toxic equilibrium. Cultural racism, which encompasses the socially accepted ideologies, values, and behavioral norms determined by the dominant power group, sets this equilibrium. Particularly insidious as it operates on the level of our shared social subconscious, the processes that comprise cultural racism are invisible to many because they are our “givens”, our assumptions, our defaults – but the result shapes our answers to the question: Whose life counts?
For our 6th annual University of Michigan RacismLab Symposium on the Study of Racism, we pay tribute to the legacy of Dr. James Jackson, whose mentorship guided our 1st annual symposium in 2015 and resulted in our guest edited Social Science and Medicine special issue on cultural and structural racism. In the introduction to this special issue, we called for all scholarship on race and health to be grounded in interdisciplinary frameworks of cultural and structural racism and critical race theory.
Our annual symposium continues to be sponsored by the University of Michigan Survey Research Center at the Institute for Social Research. For our virtual meeting in 2021, we partner with the Interdisciplinary Association for Population Health Science (IAPHS) to move our discussions to a national stage. As we move to a national, interdisciplinary discussion, we are honored that a pioneer in the study of structural racism, Dr. Eduardo Bonilla Silva will serve as the keynote speaker this year.