Sources, Conceptualizations, and Mechanisms of Racism/Oppression for Academic and Mental Health Outcomes

Whitney M. Polk, Nancy E. Hill, Diane L. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Interpersonal and systemic racism and discrimination persist in our educational system—from primary and secondary institutions through college, despite the forward strides of desegregation, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Black Lives Matter movement. This special topic collection identifies and applies empirically and theoretically grounded conceptualizations of racism to improve our understanding of the experience of racism, interventions to mitigate it, and protective factors. The papers in this collection reflect two themes: 1) racial and religious identities in classrooms, schools, and universities, focusing on how educators mitigate and perpetuate systemic racism, including how White teachers understand the impact of race, how inclusive and antiracism curricula are received and rejected by future educators and clinicians, and the impact of exclusionary social networks in the hiring of teachers of color and 2) school belonging and climate, including documenting that students of color feel less safe, are disproportionately exposed to harsh discipline, question their belonging, and question commitments to diversity. The negative sequelae are concurrent and last into adulthood. In addition, there are several advances in theory and measurement, including assessing gendered and racial biases in teachers’ attributions about students’ abilities, frameworks for mitigating colonial and racialized trauma, and domains of antiracist activism to bring racial justice and equity to schools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAERA Open
StatePublished - Jan 1 2024


  • critical theory
  • educational reform
  • equity
  • mental health
  • minorities
  • mixed methods
  • oppression
  • school belonging
  • school climate
  • social stratification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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