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Race and Racism Courses

Take free online courses about race on edX today!

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learn race and racism

What is racism?

Racism is the belief that humans have different traits, purposes, and social statuses based solely on skin color or ethnicity. People have used racial groups in the past to justify colonialism, social hierarchies, and even slavery based on faulty beliefs and pseudoscience.

Racial discrimination is an ongoing issue. Race is a somewhat modern concept, built during the heights of European imperialism to justify the expansion and policies of imperial powers. Today, these concepts still affect the day-to-day lives of people of color, and structural racism plays a part in some of the world's greatest challenges.

The 20th century has been a time of profound exploration into the effects of systemic racism, white supremacy, and human rights. As we unpack everything from implicit bias to outright xenophobia, the hope is to create a world where no person receives different treatment or experiences life separately based on skin or ethnic group.

Learn about racism

Racism is a spectrum. Whether we're exploring the effects profiling has on specific communities or examining the history of racial segregation in the Jim Crow South or South Africa during apartheid, it's essential to understand the effects of racial discrimination. 

edX offers courses and certifications designed in partnership with leaders in the field. Students can explore the history of race and its effects from home with a global cohort of students. Students explore free courses or opt into official credit or certifications for a fee.

Courses About Racism

CatalystX offers a four-part professional certification: Race, Gender, and Workplace Equity. Students learn how gender and racial bias affect workers and the companies that employ them, exploring anti-racism and intersectionality. Students can also learn strategies to create a truly inclusive workplace. 

Other options include Global Inequality from WellesleyX. Students explore the global history of racism and apply sociological theory to specific cases. Ethical Leadership from BUx offers a look at leadership and political power from the perspective of anti-racism and ethics. Students will also explore leadership when at the crossroads of conflicting values and build an internal system for taking the next best steps.

Exploring Racism and Ethics

We say "never again" to slavery and the Holocaust but cannot connect the dots to cases such as George Floyd or the hate crimes committed in recent years. We study the civil rights movement and the march on Washington DC but miss the connection to colonialism, Native Americans, and today's wealth disparity. As anti-racist work gains speed for the newest generations, our historical understanding can play a part in creating a new world.

Racial inequality is still a worldwide problem, but humans are working to build a new future for everyone, no matter their skin color or ethnicity. Some of our biggest questions will surround how we shape society to protect non-white people and ensure that white supremacy and other inequities belong in the past.