The Learning Catalog

Understanding Structural & Institutional Racism

Online Courses


This free online course was designed to help you expand your knowledge of the interlocking social systems and ideology that are the foundations of racial inequality in our society.

There are three sections to the module, with each section taking approximately one hour to complete. Please note there is no test for the course and there are no continuing education (CE) credits available.

Section 1 introduces initial core concepts that will be used in the rest of this module: political economy, racial capitalism, white supremacy, and structural and institutional racism.

Section 2 takes a deeper look at white supremacist ideology, its influence on American society and how it can be deconstructed and otherwise contested.

Section 3 concludes with a look at the history of antiracist activism in the U.S., and the role social workers can play in opposing racism.

You’ll find a short evaluation at the end of the course for you to share feedback.

While this module doesn’t provide the final word on these difficult and challenging issues, we hope that it will expand our knowledge base, introduce new concepts and approaches, and help us work together to build a better, more antiracist world.

About the Instructor: Dawn Belkin Martinez is the associate dean for Equity & Inclusion at Boston University School of Social Work. As a clinical associate professor at the school, her specialties include social justice in clinical practice, racial justice, community organizing as a therapeutic intervention, the Liberation Health framework for social work practice, clinical practice with the Latinx community, family therapy, and substance misuse with adolescents and young adults.  Other course developers include BUSSW PhD candidates Greer Hamilton and Noor Toraif.

For more information, please contact The Network for Professional Education.

Accessibility Information

All online courses are self-paced and are designed as reading-based and include interactive multimedia components including simulations, video, audio, and discussion boards.

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