June 10, 2021

Day 3: Levels of Oppression

DAY 3 Of YWCA Spokane’s 14-Day Racial Equity & Social Justice Challenge

We hope this challenge provides you with an opportunity to better understand concepts related to race, power, privilege, and leadership.

DAY 1 | DAY 2 | DAY 3 | DAY 4 | DAY 5 | DAY 6 | DAY 7 | DAY 8 | DAY 9 | DAY 10 | DAY 11 | DAY 12 | DAY 13 | DAY 14

Thank you for taking this challenge! If this is your first day of joining us for the 14-Day Racial Equity & Social Justice Challenge, welcome. If you are returning after days 1 & 2 of the challenge, nice work! We are glad you are here. Each weekday from Tuesday, June 8th through Friday, June 25th, YWCA Spokane will send those who sign up for our challenge emails prompting you to make time to learn about racial equity and social justice.

We encourage everyone to talk about what you are learning with friends, share on social media with #ywcaequitychallenge, and take time to reflect on your personal insights after each challenge using this reflection log. Consider joining our Racial & Social Justice Facebook Group to continue the conversation.

DAY 3: levels of oppression

Are you seeing and addressing how racism and other forms of oppression operate at different levels? Dr. Camara Jones, Senior Fellow at the Morehouse School of Medicine, says that in order to address racism effectively, we have to understand how it operates at multiple levels. Often what people think of first and foremost is interpersonal racism, but in order to eliminate racism, we must focus our actions to address systemic forms of racism—institutional and structural.

Structural racism refers to the complex ways in which history, public policies, institutional practices and cultural representations interact to maintain racial hierarchy and inequitable racial group outcomes.

Applying a structural racism lens allows us to see and understand:

  • The racial legacy of our past
  • How racism persists in our national policies, institutional practices, and cultural representations
  • How racism is transmitted and either amplified or mitigated through public, private, and community institutions
  • How individuals internalize and respond to racialized structures

Understanding how each level shows up is crucial to understanding exactly why and how we need to work for racial justice.

If you have…

5 Minutes


10 Minutes


10 Minutes

and and
View this infographic
on levels of racism to better understand how these levels present themselves in our community.
and Read this article
explaining the difference between interpersonal and institutional racism. 
and Listen to this podcast
where author Ijeoma Oluo discusses the need for a systemic approach to seeing and addressing racism.

daily Reflection

Once you have completed today’s challenge, take a moment to reflect on any insights you experienced. How did the challenge make you feel? What is something you learned? Did you notice anything about yourself after taking the challenge? Consider sharing this new awareness with a friend or group to help deepen your understanding of the information. Consider tracking your reflections on the below daily log or joining our online Facebook group to encourage daily sharing with each other about the challenge topics.

Challenge Reflection Log

Share each challenge online with #YWCAEquityChallenge

DAY 1 | DAY 2 | DAY 3 | DAY 4 | DAY 5 | DAY 6 | DAY 7 | DAY 8 | DAY 9 | DAY 10 | DAY 11 | DAY 12 | DAY 13 | DAY 14

Do you have resources you think we should share? We welcome you to let us know by leaving your comments here

By: Rachel Dannen

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