Race Doesn’t Exist Without Racism – Deadric Williams, PhD

Episode 57
Guest: Deadric Williams, PhD
Host: Shimon Cohen, LCSW

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In this episode, I talk with Dr. Deadric Williams, who is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, where he’s been since January 2020. We discuss racism, race, and racialization. Dr. Williams explains how the concept of race comes out of racism, and that many people often approach this the other way around, as if race came first. He breaks down how racism is a combination of ideology and structures, such as laws, policies, and social practices that support the hierarchical dominance of people racialized as White, and oppression of people racialized as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. Dr. Williams emphasizes that the belief in classifying humans into groups according to race is a racist belief that served, and continues to serve, to justify the oppressive practice of European settler colonialism taking land from Indigenous Peoples and enslaving Africans for labor. We discuss how creating whiteness was a means to split oppressed groups by this new category of race, and the way this functioned –and functions– by providing White people with material and psychology benefits at the expense of Black people. Dr. Williams goes in-depth with how racism and racialization function in the larger society, particularly the coding that is used in place of overt racism, affecting the health and well-being of people and families, and ways to identify the mechanisms of racial inequities in the U.S. We need to have a clear understanding that racism leads to race and this overall process so that we can adequately address it. I hope this conversation inspires you to action.

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