Cover image: Boy observing KKK rally on site of future Wegman’s parking lot, Ithaca, NY, 1927
Source: The History Center in Tompkins County
Welcome to the TC Structural Racism website, which provides compelling information to Tompkins County educators, public officials, activists, and concerned citizens about how structural racism negatively impacts all residents of Ithaca and Tompkins County, especially people of color and low income. Structural racism (also known as systemic racism or white supremacy) is social and economic exploitation resulting from centuries of accumulated beliefs, policies, practices, and patterns of discrimination that assume the superiority of white people and consistently devalue and threaten the lives of people of color. The data we present pertains to economic inequity (specifically, income, wealth, unemployment, and poverty), education, health, and housing, though we see food, criminal justice, and transportation as equally important areas to eventually fill in. The data, along with background information and interpretive comments, can be used as a resource for lesson planning, policy proposals, community education, and grassroots organizing.
The current research and writing project was undertaken by Tompkins County SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) at the request of local Community Leaders of Color (CLOC) and Black Lives Matter Ithaca (BLMI). The intent was to show that in spite of the dominant narrative about Ithaca and Tompkins County as a progressive mecca, the vast inequalities created by systemic, i.e., structural, racism in the US are, in fact, present here, clearly and emphatically, as well.
If you want more background on this project and/or on the basics of structural racism, please go to the About page. To get to the specifics of how structural racism shows up in this area, simply go to the pages that interest you (Economic Inequality, Education, etc.). The Resources tab has two short PDFs which can provide a starting point for discussions of this issue, a listing of action strategies for undoing structural racism locally, as well as the data tables used to generate the charts throughout the site. If you want more depth as well as the sources and methods behind these short pieces, we provide a link to the original research done for this work, primarily by Richard Franke, PhD.