Economic and social inequalities between white and Black people gained global attention again this year. In this podcast episode, Rashad Robinson, president of Color Of Change — the largest online racial justice organization driven by more than 7.2 million members — spoke on the global racial reckoning of 2020 and how his nonprofit is working to fix the systems and structures that have hurt, harmed, and held back the Black community.
In a conversation with Professor Brian Lowery, Robinson discusses the importance of technology in channeling activism and why it’s important to create long-term infrastructure to harness people’s energy in productive ways. And he warns, in an age of social media, to not mistake visibility and awareness for the ability to change the system.
Prof. Brian Lowery and Rashad Robinson discuss how power translates to the ability to change the rules, and one organization's strategy moving toward systematic and cultural rule change.
Brian Lowery: Can you tell us a little bit about Color of Change?
Rashad Robinson: We were founded in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, about 15 years ago. I talk about Katrina as our founding because I think it animates not only how we got here, but also our theory of change. Katrina was a flood that was caused by bad decision makers that turned into a life-altering disaster. That’s really important, because it wasn’t just an accident; it wasn’t just a natural disaster. Katrina illustrated a lot of things that people already knew: geographic segregation, generational poverty, the impacts of what we’ve done to our planet, and so many other systems that are supposed to engage, take care of, and protect us, and the ways in which structural racism undergirds all of those things. At the heart of Katrina, though, no one was nervous about disappointing Black people. The government, corporations, or the media. And when institutions are not nervous about disappointing your community, it doesn’t matter what research reports you have that illustrate the facts and figures, and it doesn’t even matter what you do in the courts if you don’t have the power and the ability to implement those decisions. You need people, power, and narrative change. About 15 years ago, Kanye West made a statement saying that George Bush doesn’t care about Black people, and our founders sent out an email to about a thousand people saying that Kanye was right. That thousand people grew to about 1.7 million people that have taken action with us in the previous 8 months. During the pandemic and at the height of the uprising, we had an outpouring of everyday people that joined us, and it went from about 1.7 million action-takers to about 7.2 million. We went from about 150,000 people that had subscribed to our SMS feed, which already made us have the largest footprint there of any racial justice organization, to about 6.2 million people. We focus that energy on strategic action — giving every day people the ability to take action. Back to that Katrina moment — people were literally on their roofs begging for the government to do something, and left to die, and people were giving money to the Red Cross instead of working towards systemic change. Color of Change was founded to translate that activism and move it towards strategic action that can be a force multiplier for the type of change that not only makes Black people more powerful, but makes our society work for all of us.
Brian Lowery: We’ve talked quite a bit in this conversation series about the multi-faceted, complex nature of racism in this country. We’ve talked about equity and inclusion in corporations, the wealth gap, systemic racism in technology, housing, health, and more. Race is in essence intertwined with every aspect of life in the United States. How are you working to address these problems; what’s your approach?
Rashad Robinson: Our approach is to see these issues through the lens of power. Power is the ability to change the rules, and so we’re constantly looking for rule change, both systemically and culturally. How we change those rules is incredibly important to the type of changes we can get that can be fulfilling and benefit us over time. We operate from a theory that people do not experience issues, they experience life. The forces that hold us back are deeply interrelated; our racist criminal justice system relies on a racist media culture to sustain it and keep it alive, economic inequality goes hand in hand with political inequality. When we got to the ground in Ferguson, Missouri in the early days of the uprising, the media was coming in and people were putting microphones in people’s faces and talking to local activists. The media would ask them, “what’s the biggest issue that the community is facing?” Some people said it was the criminal justice system and policing, some said it’s economics and all the ways in which fees and regressive taxes have fleeced the community, others looked at the at-large elections that diluted the Black vote and Black political power, and others looked at the environmental factors in the city and the dumping and pollution, and they were all right in some way. But if the community was more powerful, maybe none of those things would have been an issue. To the extent that we constantly recognize the role of power, and if we can build more power for the community, then we can force those in power to do something different, and we will actually be the people in power, and we can change the incentive structure about what it means to deliver for our community.
Brian Lowery: It’s really hard when you talk about changing rules, because there are so many rules that have an effect on the power of a community. As you pointed out, all of those things undermine the ability of the community to have self determination and influence their own destiny. How do you decide what rules to focus on?
Rashad Robinson: It’s a little bit of art, a little bit of science. The science piece is that we are a 21st century justice organization, and we have a data team. We are constantly looking at which campaigns are animating our members’ participation. I can’t force decision makers to be nervous about disappointing us if I can’t actually get people to take action and I can’t move them up a ladder of engagement. Even if I think it’s a great issue, if no one’s going to follow me there, it’s not a great issue yet, and I need to spend some more time building or connecting until I can get it there. I have to have campaigns that animate people’s participation. That’s where science comes in. And then we have to be able to seize moments that happen that we don’t design or create. And we can’t always pick. Even if I had spent a year designing a campaign around the American legislative exchange council, which forced over 100 corporations to end taking on voter ID laws and stand your ground laws, I would never have predicted that Trayvon Martin would have happened, and been the animating vehicle for actually taking on stand your ground laws. I could have built a whole prosecutor reform movement that focused energy on prosecutors, but Laquan McDonald created the type of energy that allowed us to have our first real case study. We design campaigns that allow us to take these things on, and we build out the infrastructure, but we also have to be able to find the right moments that animate people’s energy. And then we win a campaign, such as one forcing corporations to divest, the next time I call those corporations to do something they’re going to be more likely to call me back quickly because they remember that they didn’t call me back quickly the last time, and we didn’t just make threats, we followed through with those threats. They also remember that they had a chance to return our phone call — that we called them first. We tried to get on the phone, and they didn’t do it. Now maybe someone got fired, maybe someone got reprimanded. And now the next time, they’ll call us back quicker. I do think about all of these things in terms of multiple levels of power and how institutions view our community. Do they feel like they have to respond quickly? Do they feel like they have to do something when there’s a problem? Do they feel like they stand to lose something by being on the wrong side of us? Those things also give us the ability to maybe not have to run as many campaigns, or start the next campaign out at a different place. That’s also how this issue of interconnectedness works, because if I can move something over to a different place, then I would have the ability to move something else to a different sector. Over time, we’re trying to force a way of dealing with these institutions where we’re unignorable. By being unignorable, we can make even bigger structural and political demand. But, that does require us to recognize all of the things that make us powerful—what our unique superpower is. It’s why we don’t take direct financial support from corporations. Quite frankly, that is a huge part of how we build power and how we think about what it means to change the rules. If there’s a new set of rules for how a corporation has to respond to us, and if they know that $100,000 doesn’t get us to go away and may actually make us more annoyed, then it changes the relationship of what we’re asking for and what change actually looks like.
Brian Lowery: That makes me think about the balance between laying the groundwork — being prepared for something to happen — and responding when something unexpected happens, such as Trayvon Martin or Breonna Taylor. How do you maintain a sense of focusing on one particular campaign, but when something happens in a different area we can pivot and drive change there quickly. How do you do that constant work and also respond nimbly to what’s happening in the moment?
Rashad Robinson: That’s the importance of long-term infrastructure, and building infrastructure that can actually expand and contract when needed and take on these issues. In the era of social media and digital engagement, everything can feel like Whack-a-Mole, that game at the carnival where the moment you hit one thing down, something else pops up, and at the end you feel like you haven’t done anything. We’ve built up a strategy of response, build, pivot, and scale. We respond to moments that are happening in the world, because we have to. Sandra Bland is found hanging in a Waller County jail cell after a traffic stop that went viral, and we know that that police interaction led to her being killed inside that cell. She was given a $5,000 bail, like a lot of Black people in Waller County, and her family was trying together the money over that weekend, but she never left. I can’t start the movement around Sandra Bland by saying that it is really about bail reform. I have to start off with “Justice for Sandra.” But if I just leave people with “Justice for Sandra” and I don’t move people toward systemic change, then I’m not making good on what Sandra’s life and death could be an opening for. If I start there, though, then I’m making demands that people aren’t quite emotionally ready for, and I’m not addressing what people want in that moment — a way in which to deal with the fact that Sandra could have been so many of them or their family members. Respond, build, pivot allows us to recognize that we’re responding in these big moments and building energy, but we’re also working long term on bail reform, prosecutor reform, a whole list of corporate accountability measures, voting rights, and much more. You can respond to these moments and then still direct that energy. Over time, that allows us to build that muscle where we’re focusing it, but while also recognizing the narrative and messaging that we’re trying to underlay to move us toward structural change. We’re also not simply leaving people at the passive voice of Black people having to fix ourselves, or systems having to fix Black people and Black families, where it’s always about charity. Instead, we’re focusing on the more active voice of structural change, and how systems need to be changed. It’s not that Black women are less likely to get senior-level jobs in corporate America, it’s that corporate America excludes Black women from senior-level jobs. On one hand, we just get mentorship and pipeline programs, which allow corporations to not have to deal with misogyny and racism, and all the other ways in which their structures have never created a space for Black women to succeed. Part of how we also have to underlay it is, when we take these big moments, whether it was when we were at 1.7 million or now at 7.2 million, we have to recognize that our members are also communication vehicles to reach more people. If we don’t have a 24-hour news station, or a radio station saying what we want them to say, we also have to think about our members and our members’ voices and try to overlay the type of narrative, stories, and education that allows for them to translate those out into the world.
Brian Lowery: I have two questions for you. 1) Who do you think Color of Change’s primary audience is? 2) How do you create stories and distribute them?
Rashad Robinson: It all depends on the campaign. Sometimes, I may have just an audience of one with a campaign, and we have identified that we have to create enough of a threat to get people to do something. I’m going to tell you two quick stories to really animate how we think about this. Back in 2016, we are heading towards the 2016 general election, and we are trying to get Hillary Clinton to give back private prison money. We’re trying to set a new standard around no more private prison money, and no more of this money into her campaign and into Democrats’ campaigns. We sent a few emails and went back and forth with the campaign, and they were clearly slow-walking us, and we knew that we had to create a sense of urgency. So we sent the Clinton campaign two emails. One had a headshot of Hillary smiling, and the email was very positive and talked about how she had given back the private prison money, responded, had the most advanced criminal justice platform of any Democratic nominee, responded to calls from the community, and overall we were very happy. The other was an angry picture of Hillary Clinton that talked about how she had a platform focused on criminal justice but was taking money from the people that were lobbying on the other side, and asked readers how we could trust someone like this. We sent both emails to the Clinton campaign, and said that we will send out one of these emails by the end of the week, and they could pick which one. They picked the smiling Hillary Clinton picture, and gave back the money. In that, my audience was the target. We very often try to weave things to those messages that will get the target out of their seat. Sometimes, we are weaving in things that get the employees out of their seats — a lot of what we’ve done around Facebook has been done through geo-targeted ads that are focused on people at the corporation. In different places, we’re thinking about different things, because we’re trying to spur action. It’s not just about getting our story out, it’s about getting our story in, and the only way to do that is to get people to act and respond. Far more often, corporations will get the email before I send it out publicly. Then, the campaign I send out publicly might be a little different than the email I shared with the corporation privately because now I have to pivot to a more public conversation. Years ago, we created a whole campaign, when Pepsi was still sponsoring ALEC, around Pepsi trying to stop Aunt Jemima from voting. Pepsi decided that ALEC wasn’t a place they wanted to engage. My goal was not to run that ad — that would have been a huge mess I didn’t want to engage in. But Pepsi didn’t know that, and the potential of us running that ad was enough for them to stop. I’m 5'3", and I learned from my dad early on that you don’t go out making threats that you’re not willing to cash because someone might call you on it. We’re very conscious that we don’t make threats or demands that we’re not actually able to do. If we say we’re going to mobilize our members and we say we’re going to have our people move, and then we get called on it, we have to be ready to do it. We don’t have conversations or make demands unless we’ve built up the energy to actually deliver.
Brian Lowery: How do you keep control of your message? On social media, there is a lot of idea jujitsu —you’re out there trying to do social justice and they turn you into someone who’s trying to shut down conversation as opposed to trying to have more dialogue around issues. How do you engage productively in an environment where there is so much noise?
Rashad Robinson: I will say that we like being David in the David and Goliath struggle. It’s a more aspirational place to be because we feel like we have more tools at our disposal. When you have a public target, they’re oftentimes trying to shrink the conversation and make it one-on-one. As David, we’re trying to expand the conversation and create more visibility for it. That’s a dynamic that’s easier to engage. There are other platforms, like Change.org. On Change.org, anyone can go on that platform and put up a petition. There are a lot of different petitions, and it is very much like Whack-a-Mole. Change.org is, to organizing, what a one night stand is to love — you’re having a lot of engagements, but it’s not building anything. And it’s not that you may not have some fun with a one night stand, or a petition, but you’re not actually going to make anything long-term and meaningful. The thing that’s different about what we’re trying to do with Color of Change and the way we use technology and tools is that, at the end of the day, we’re trying to build power. Years ago, when I was a very young youth organizer in D.C., I got to know the late Julian Bond. For those who don’t know, Julian Bond was a very well-known leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (known as SNCC), chairman of the NAACP, a professor, and many other things. He told me this story about how SNCC installed something called the WATS line, which was essentially a precursor to the 1-800 number. At the time, when you called long-distance, you got transferred operator to operator. And in the South, a lot of the operators were largely controlled by the White Citizens Council, or the KKK, and information would be intercepted. WATS allowed people to bypass operators, and through using it they were able to move information quicker between universities and move things in a more organized fashion. But the technology wasn’t their theory of change. If they didn’t have a power analysis, or a set of demands, they could have had Twitter and it wouldn’t have helped them. So yes, some of these new technologies make these complicated for a moment and we have to figure out how to engage it, but we have a clear theory about power and the role of corporations and government. And we also have a very clear theory that, in this age of social media, is especially important, which is that we don’t mistake presence for power. Presence is visibility, awareness, re-tweets, shoutouts from the state, etc. But when we mistake presence for power, we often think we’ve done something that we haven’t actually done. We will think that a Black President means we’re post-racial. We will think that the celebration of a lot of Black celebrities means that America loves Black people as much as America loves Black culture. America can love, monetize, and celebrate Black culture while also hating Black people at the same time. In this age, where everyone’s chasing different things on social media, we have to constantly recognize that we’re not actually changing rules. And the presence that we build can sometimes be in service of hurting us more than helping us.
Brian Lowery: You draw a distinction between personal empathy and societal empathy, and I think of that as the difference between hearts and minds, and policies and institutions. A lot of people think that to create fundamental change, all you have to do is change hearts and minds, but I hear you saying something different. Tell me why we shouldn’t be fighting for hearts and minds.
Rashad Robinson: I don’t think we shouldn’t fight for hearts and minds; I’ve spent years fighting for hearts and minds. I spent 6 years leading the program work at GLAAD, and people have written papers about my working at GLAAD and fighting for the LGBTQ movement. But I want to be very clear — as a person who really does understand how to build campaigns that change hearts and minds — that it was always about power. And by that, I mean that in order to change hearts and minds we needed to make changes in media structures. We had to force NBC to give a rich white man on the Upper East Side a boyfriend that he would kiss. We had to force Black and LGBTQ characters onto T.V. and hold the media accountable for how they put forth harmful narratives about AIDs and HIV. There was a whole set of things we had to do to shift hearts and minds. Sometimes, when people think about heart and mind shifts, they take out the power; they think that we can just change hearts and minds without holding anyone accountable. People had to lose their jobs and new people had to get jobs in order to get to a hearts and minds shift. That is a changing of power and a changing of rules, both written and unwritten, and that’s what I mean. Sometimes people think it’s all about people simply becoming better people. If we think like that, we’ll end up in a world where racism exists but there are no racists. Everyone is working hard, but somehow the system doesn’t change — the issues that impact communities are still present, but no one is really a racist. We have a very robust program in Hollywood that works with T.V. shows and studios behind and in front of the camera to make sure there is more Black representation in shows. And that, once again, is all about power. On the receiving end, yes, people are getting a new experience and people’s hearts and minds will change. But I think it’s important to realize that the road to get to a hearts and minds shift comes from infrastructure and campaigning, and it’s not just us all getting together to sing kumbaya. It means people will lose their jobs, people who we thought were our friends are not anymore, and people who haven’t been helpful in the past are suddenly bending over backwards after George Floyd and Breonna Taylor to be helpful.
Brian Lowery: I hear you saying that hearts and minds is a nice outcome, but the thing you really want is levers of power, and even if that doesn’t change hearts and minds you don’t care because you’ve gotten to where you want to go anyway. Is that a fair interpretation?
Rashad Robinson: I do care about changing hearts and minds, but I know that that comes after power and behavior change. If I start at hearts and minds, I don’t actually get the real political change. This happened with the Obama phenomenon—people thought we were all coming together (“Yes We Can!”), but there was not the analysis on corporate and political power that we needed. And who cares about “Yes We Can” when nothing is truly being changed. More than hearts and minds, I care about behavior. What you could say and how you could treat the LGBTQ people in 2005 when I got to GLAAD looks very different from how you could treat LGBTQ people now. When I got to GLAAD, the other side of the debate was “ex-gay” reparative therapy. By 2011, they weren’t even seeing “ex-gay” activists on Fox News. When I got to Color of Change back in 2011, talking about race made you a racist, and even people on the left would tell you that structural racism didn’t exist because we had a Black president. And their behaviors flowed from that. I believe that if we build power and change behavior, we will actually create models for people to experience a different world, and hearts and minds will change as a result.
Brian Lowery: Right now, there’s something special going on in this country — there’s a clear recognition of the deep racial injustice in this country. BLM is, by some accounts, one of the biggest social movements in our country’s history. Do you think this time will be different from the other movements this country has had?
Rashad Robinson: Over the summer, I watched one particular protest in L.A. where the police had really reacted violently. After I saw that on T.V., I called my friend Patrisse Cullors, one of the Co-Founders of Black Lives Matter. When we spoke on the phone, we somehow got into a really philosophical conversation about the last seven years of organizing. We talked about how after every major social movement, there would always be a discussion of that movement dying down and losing energy — we heard it after Trayvon and after Ferguson. But each time, the movement was building off of and learning from the last movement that had happened. In 2016, very few of the movement organizations did voter contact work. This time, everyone’s out talking to voters — for a candidate that most of us don’t even like. We’re doing it because we’ve recognized a whole set of dynamics around power, and have built, grown, and engaged with one another in a different way. The second point about this movement has to do with John Lewis and his role in advocating for policy change. John Lewis was a catalyst for rule change that forced the right wing to have to build an enormous amount of infrastructure to counteract — things like the Powell Memo on the right, which involved corporations taking over institutions to fight back against the progress. It took the whole lot of money and infrastructure building to counteract that rule change. I don’t know if we’re in the same huge leap around rule change right now, but I do think that if Biden wins, we have the potential to win more in the next four years than in the previous 15. I wouldn’t say that we’re in so much of a rule-change moment — such as the Lewis and King eras — but I would say we are in a moment of deep cultural change. I think we have a new understanding about structural racism. If we can build the narrative infrastructure and support employees and movement organizing within corporations, we will ultimately be able to solidify those through public policy. I do believe we are in a deep moment of change, and although it looks different from the ’60s, it will lead us somewhere.
Brian Lowery: We’ve seen the wealth gap between Black and white families grow over the past 18 years. We’ve seen that segregation in education is, by many accounts, as deep as it was in the 60s, even though it is not legal. Every time we change the rules, it seems like people find a way to subvert those changes. How do you prevent that?
Rashad Robinson: I grew up in the 80s on Eastern Long Island; I was the first person in my family to go to college. My parents were Black in almost every way — Ebony, Jet, and Essence came to our house once a week, and everyone read Jet magazine. I was trained in this idea of Black faces in high places. We would celebrate every time we heard of the first Black police chief, or the first Black person in other high leadership positions. Every time a Black person broke barriers, they were getting inside of a racist structure, or a structure that had excluded us. We thought we could make these structures work for us, and there was this idea that the structures weren’t bad — it was just the fact that we hadn’t been included. There was a theory of diversity and inclusion being the silver bullet to really advance the change Black people needed. But as you just said, the numbers do not lie. When you think of 1980 onwards, you can see that yes, we have more Black millionaires and billionaires than ever, but every other indicator has gone the other way. I don’t know yet the fundamentals and tools of how to navigate this, we are still learning and building. We’re also trying to figure out the severe racial and class divisions, and how Black men showed up in numbers for Donald Trump — we're seeing some splintering of traditional coalitions around economic lines where we previously just saw it around racial lines. I think that this is going to be some of the work and challenge of the future, but I am optimistic. I think racial justice is such a clear, salient winner.
In the early days of the pandemic, the best that people on the left thought we could do in terms of getting people to show up and be activated, was clapping out of our windows at seven o'clock at night or lifting up investigative journalism on our social media to complain about what was happening. And it was racial justice that actually got people out into the streets. That actually shifted the conversation around this moment, even around COVID. I contend that racial justice is not simply the moral thing to do. Racial justice is the clearest force multiplier for the type of change that we need to see in the world. There are people that say that when we get a true democracy, we will finally achieve racial justice. But I contend that it is the other way around — the only way we can get to a true democracy is if we already have racial justice. If you think about all of the large movements that have caught steam, at the heart of them they’ve been at their best when they’ve had a strong racial justice framework that’s been able to drive them. It’s the racial justice movement that allowed us to begin to change prosecutor offices. I believe that if we are going to get a new social compact around safety nets, it is going to have to be racial justice movements that drive for it, fight for it, and bring people in. I am optimistic because I believe that we have a winning argument, and we have a movement of leaders and institutions that have done things that people never believed that we could do. I hope that we can stay in it and stay focused long enough that we don’t run into some of the same pitfalls of thinking that once we get inside the institutions, they will automatically change. Presence alone isn’t power.
Brian Lowery: You’ve made the argument that a win for Black people is a win for everyone. Help me make that argument to someone who sees that as a zero-sum situation; I’m a white guy who sees a win for racial justice as a loss for me. What would you tell me?
Rashad Robinson: Our country is going back into another shut down because of racial injustice. We've left communities exposed. We've targeted, attacked, and exploited Black people and as a result we are going into a deeper economic downturn and have secured our position around the world as a laughingstock. As a result, so many indicators of the health of our democracy are on the decline. I know that people on the individual level can feel like they’re winning in the short term, but I think that the losses are coming. The failure to achieve racial justice and build and support infrastructure for everyone is going to be our downfall. COVID, the upcoming crisis with climate, and so many other things are going to not only expose the way that minorities have been hurt in this country, but they will hurt everyone. And yes, I think that when Black people win, everyone wins. But I also think that the wins for Black people have also lifted the boats of other oppressed people, and the frameworks that other communities have been able to use have come from Black people. Our economy was literally built on the servitude of Black people, and when we fix our systems, we will get closer to more people having the opportunity to achieve, and that will make for a society that is much better, stronger, and more whole for everyone.
Brian Lowery: There are a lot of people on this call who are wondering what they, as individuals, should do. What would you have them do beyond the things that people already understand (donate, vote, etc.)?
Rashad Robinson: First, the most important thing is to say what we mean when we’re talking about inequality. Far too often we tell stories that make inequality sound “unfortunate,” as if it were just a tragedy, like a car accident. What ends up happening is that we get charitable solutions to structural problems. We need to say what we mean — it’s not that Black people are less likely to get loans from banks, it’s that banks are less likely to give loans to Black people. Let’s not focus on more financial literacy programs for Black people alone, let’s actually change the structures of banks that have targeted, exploited, and red-lined Black people since the very beginning. I say that as one of many examples of how we can move from talking about issues in the passive voice — instead of trying to fix oppressed people, we need to fix the systems that have oppressed us. If we had more people focused ons structures and not just charity, think about how many things we could have changed without having to actually pass laws and policies. This is a cultural change — we need to start thinking that there’s nothing wrong with Black people, there’s something wrong with the systems and infrastructures. If you can get more people working towards that, you will build momentum to change policy over time, because people will begin to recognize where investments have to be placed. Social change is not just helping communities deal with the barriers that have stood in their way, it’s being active participants in removing the barriers. That’s how you move away from being complicit with the Amy Coopers in Central Park to being on the right side of history. Second, we are in a moment where we’re seeing a lot of horrible things about race and Black pain — COVID, the uprisings about policing, the rhetoric in the election. As much as we want to talk about Black pain, we should also center Black joy. Black joy isn’t the absence of pain, but the presence of aspiration. It’s not what we’re fighting against, it’s what we’re fighting for. Imagine if we could tell stories that weren’t just in the deficit of Black communities. There’s no “low voter turnout,” there’s just “high voter suppression.” Those are the things that, in your everyday life, you can all do to flip around how we think about these problems so we can begin to think about new solutions.
This is Leadership for Society: The Podcast, a series of conversations hosted by Brian Lowery, senior associate dean for academic affairs at Stanford GSB, that focuses on the most pressing issues of today. In this season of the podcast, Lowery explores the role of race in society, how race interacts with structures of power, and how systemic racism manifests itself in day-to-day business and policy decisions.