Technically Racist

Wednesday, October 28 | 1:00PM–1:45PM ET
Session Type: Featured Session
Delivery Format: Live Session

Through their participation in protests during the summer of 2020, activists and their supporters around the world raised public consciousness about structural and systemic racism. While the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor catalyzed these uprisings, the movement quickly revealed other manifestations of racism, anti-Blackness, and white supremacy. Higher education professionals, including those who work in IT, tend to think about racism in narrow terms: denying interviews to applicants with ethnic-sounding names, refusing to hire a person because of their race, calling people racially derogatory terms, and burning a cross on a Black family’s lawn. Those indeed are racist acts. But technically, racism also includes many other experiences that undermine belongingness, inclusion, and success for employees of color. Those experiences will be described in this session. Recommendations for making IT workplaces sites for anti-racist action will be presented.


Define structural and systemic racism * Recognize how workplace racism negatively affects the experiences of IT professionals of color * Develop strategies to make the IT workplace anti-racist

This session is part of the Diana G. Oblinger Innovation forum. The 2020 Diana G. Oblinger Innovation forum will explore the ways in which diversity accelerates and improves innovation and how to remove impediments to more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environments in higher education technology. Experts from industry and academia will explore how to reduce bias, build diverse and inclusive teams, and move beyond impediments to diversity, such as racism and ageism. Higher education technology leaders will reflect on their efforts to advance DEI in their organizations and institutions and higher education at large. The forum will provide you with new insights, new techniques, new allies, and new reasons to participate in advancing diversity.


  • Shaun Harper

    Executive Director, University of Southern California