Skip to main content

Learn about race and racism with online courses and programs

Racism is the discriminatory treatment of individuals based on perceived traits represented by their skin color or ethnicity. Moving toward racial justice requires understanding the history of racism and how it impacts day-to-day life for many individuals.

What are race and racism?

Race is a social construct that groups individuals based on physical traits. It is often associated with particular regions, cultures, or ethnicities, however, the concept of race is rooted in societal perceptions and prejudices. When these biases become the basis for discriminatory treatment against an individual or group, acts of racism can result.

Throughout history, different societies have defined race in a multitude of ways. The perception of race can vary from one culture to another, and can change over time within the same society. While this can make learning about race and racism a complicated undertaking, it is important to explore their history to become a more informed citizen.

Many individuals around the world show their support for racial justice by participating in rallies and marches or signing petitions. Others may turn their passion for anti-racism into a career, helping to spread awareness about important social issues.

Race and Racism | Introduction Image Description

Maximize your potential

Sign up for special offers, career resources, and recommendations that will help you grow, prepare, and advance in your career.

Race and racism course curriculum

Understanding race and racism is important for everyone. By taking the time to learn about racism and racial identity throughout history and how it impacts society today, you can become a better advocate for racial justice in your personal and professional life.

There are many courses available for learners interested in exploring various race-related topics, such as:

  • The emotional tax of racism in the workplace

  • Race and workplace equity

  • Sociological approaches to understanding race relations

  • Civil Rights history throughout the world

  • Unconscious bias in medicine

  • Bias and discrimination in artificial intelligence (AI)

edX offers online courses that allow learners to study a variety of topics including civil rights, sociology, and much more. ‌Sign up for an accelerated boot camp, or enroll in a full degree program and start working toward a bachelor's degree, or (for more advanced learners) a master’s degree in a relevant subject. You can also explore executive education courses specifically designed for busy professionals.

Why learn about race and racism?

If you want to promote racial diversity and social justice in your career, there are many different ways to combine your passion and skill set. You can explore jobs across a variety of sectors, including:

  • Diversity and inclusion officer: Creates inclusive environments, develops diversity initiatives, and promotes cultural understanding among employees.Footnote 1

  • Civil rights lawyer: Focuses on cases related to discrimination, racial profiling, and other issues related to racial justice.Footnote 2

  • Cultural anthropologist: Studies human cultures, including how race and ethnicity intersect with various social, economic, and political factors.Footnote 3

  • Nonprofit manager: Works on program development, fundraising, and overall organization management to promote equity and equality.Footnote 4

  • Conflict resolution specialist: Mediates conflicts related to racial discrimination and helps parties find mutually agreeable solutions.Footnote 5

Each of these roles will have different education and skills requirements. For example, some employers may seek candidates with a degree in anthropology or management, depending on the role. Before deciding on a specific learning path, research the positions you hope to pursue and align your coursework with your career goals.