Antiracist Teaching Materials: Course Policies and Practices

“Racism is not usually produced by conscious intentions, purposes or biases of people against others not like them. Racism is a product of racialized structures that themselves tend to produce unequal, unfair, or uneven social distributions, be they grades, access to education, or the expectations for judging writing. Conversely, antiracist projects must be consciously engaged in producing structures that themselves produce fair results for all racial formations involved.”

Asao Inoue, Antiracist Writing Assessment Ecologies: Teaching and Assessing Writing for a Socially Just Future, 2015

“A racist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial inequity between racial groups. An antiracist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial equity between racial groups. By policy, I mean written and unwritten laws, rules, procedures, processes, regulations, and guidelines that govern people. There is no such thing as a non-racist or race-neutral policy. Every policy in every institution in every community in every nation is producing or sustaining either racial inequity or equity between racial groups.”

Ibram X. Kendi, How to be an Antiracist, 2019
As Asao Inoue and Ibram X Kendi suggest above, an antiracist approach might mean not only shifting course content or assignments, but it could also involve reconsidering the policies and practices that structure the classroom space, and the ways these might be reinforcing or challenging status quo racial hierarchies. Using an antiracist lens to revisit and rework something as seemingly neutral or long- unquestioned as a course policy or everyday classroom practice can help your course be more aligned with an antiracist pedagogy. Below are some examples of different interventions at the level of course policies and everyday course practices used by instructors in our program, each with some contextualization as to why these shifts are important in the context of an antiracist pedagogy. 

Contract Grading Policy (Kathleen Lyons)

Late Work Policy (Jessica Jones)

Feminist Classroom Ethos Guide (Sarah Wasserman)

Land Acknowledgement Practice (Eric Morel, Tiffany Probasco)