NSM Faculty/Staff Newsletter

From the Office of the Dean

Structural Racism – We Should Be Anti-Racist

The shocking deaths of black Americans at the hands of the police bring into sharp relief centuries of structural and systematic racism that still exist.

These horrific events tug at our hearts and evoke many emotions, ranging from fear, disgust, and anger to deep seated desires to make changes to ensure racial equity. It is impossible for those of us who are not persons of color to understand the constant and pervasive fear and distrust of authorities.

Many of us have not had ‘the talk’ with our parents or our kids, while some of us have had to do so. That ‘talk’ about implicit bias, racism, what to do and not do when stopped by a police officer, and how to navigate a society that still has a long way to go to overcome structural and systematic racism.

White Americans are at much lower risk of being pulled over while driving and of being faced with aggressive or lethal force. Yet, there is often a tragically different outcome for persons of color when confronted with the same situations. This is just one example of racial discrimination, but there are countless examples in the news and social media of implicit or explicit bias/racism and academia is not excluded.

The current and ongoing situation should make us all look inwardly and take this opportunity to modify and build on institutional policies and procedures, programs, and guidelines as they pertain to equity and inclusion at all levels. As faculty and staff members, we must strive to be Anti-Racist, inclusive of all, and to actively take action against racism.

It is not enough to stay silent. We must recognize our leadership as faculty and staff as a platform and a privilege and pledge to use it to speak up for those who have been systematically silenced. 

As UH President Khator mentioned in a recent message, the University is taking steps to create a ‘group’ to assess the state of racism in the Houston community, headed by Elwyn Lee (Vice President for Community Relations and Institutional Access) and Robert McPherson (Dean of the College of Education).

NSM is creating taskforces of faculty, students, and staff. The taskforces will hold open forums, request input from all stakeholders, and develop action plans in order to ensure equity and inclusion.

If you have ideas to share or want to be involved, please email nsminfo@nsm.uh.edu.

Together, we can work to find meaningful approaches to promote diversity, inclusion and equality on our campus, in the community and in society.


Structural (Institutional) Racism – “Refers to a system in which public policies, institutional practices, cultural representations, and other norms work in various, often reinforcing, ways to perpetuate racial group inequity” www.racialequitytools.org/fundamentals/core-concepts/structural-racism

Anti-racist – “Opposing racism and promoting racial tolerance” www.lexico.com/en/definition/antiracism