Racial Lenses

What is a racial lense?

A racial lens is what influences how you view the world by way of your own experience, your own racial and ethnic experience. -Glenn Robinson

Why study racial lenses?

From the University of Albany: “Race, Gender, Class analysis invites us to distinguish between “thinking comparatively” and “thinking relationally.” People think comparatively when they learn about experiences other than their own and begin comparing and contrasting the experiences of different groups. This is a step beyond centering one’s own thinking on a single group (typically one’s own)…” -Andersen, Margaret L. and Patricia Hill Collins (click here to read more)

Mixed Heritage Racial Lens

Bill of Rights for People of Mixed Heritage

Not to justify my existence in this world.
Not to keep the races separate within me.
Not to justify my ethnic legitimacy.
Not to be responsible for people’s discomfort with my physical or ethnic ambiguity.

To identify myself differently than strangers expect me to identify.
To identify myself differently than how my parents identify me.
To identify myself differently than my brothers and sisters.
To identify myself differently in different situations.

To create a vocabulary to communicate about being multiracial or multiethnic.
To change my identity over my lifetime–and more than once.
To have loyalties and identification with more than one group of people.
To freely choose whom I befriend and love.

© Maria P. P. Root, PhD, 1993, 1994 http://www.drmariaroot.com


Black (African Heritage) Racial Lens

Black Disadvantage: Unpacking the Obvious Baggage of Blackness -Starlette McNeill

Colonized People’s Lens

The Unravelling of a Colonized Mind  -Jana-Rae Yerxa

White (European Heritage) Racial Lens

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack -Peggy McIntosh

The White Racial Frame -Joe R. Feagin

The White Racial Frame: Centuries of Racial Framing and Counter-Framing -Joe R. Feagin


Abagond’s post based on Joe R. Feagin’s work

Political, Social, and Scientific Racial Lenses

Disambiguation of race and the answer to why all this talk about race -Glenn Robinson

For Teachers

Teaching Teachers to Reflect on Race by Tyrone Howard, associate professor of education and Director of Center X in the Graduate School of Education at UCLA

Sum it up with painful humor

Black people: Racism is the root of 9 out of 10 issues.

Native Americans: Colonization is the root of 9 out of 10 issues.

White people: Money is the answer to 9 out of 10 questions.

Xenophobic Racial Lenses

Some ways cultures describe their own color

For other color descriptions please add via contact form below.

  • Africans – Black
  • Asians – Gold
  • Chicanos – Bronze
  • Native Americans – Earth tone, Golden
  • Europeans – White, Pink, Red

Add addition color labels that you’ve heard a community mention.

9 thoughts on “Racial Lenses

  1. Persephone Jones (@galvezmiro) November 26, 2013 / 12:03 am


    Are you co-signing Starlette McNeill’s Black Heritage Racial Lense that presents blackness as baggage?. She has appropriated anti-racist language in the service of anti-blackness. My blackness and love for my ancestors have fucntioned as a well of strength not baggage weighing me down. There is no love for the many facets of God in colorblind post-racialism.


    • With Love Glenn November 26, 2013 / 12:26 am

      Hi Persephone,
      I wouldn’t say that I’m co-signing Starlette McNeill’s Black Heritage Racial Lens. I didn’t get the idea that Starlette is anti-black. I think she is describing how she sometimes feels or how she is treated. I mostly curate writings and different views on things. I noticed that people were writing about different ways to view the world based on one’s lived perspectives and I collected them on one page. If you know of others that I can add I’m all ears. Each group could write about how they view the world. One could write from both a positive or negative perspective through any racial lens.


    • Starlette McNeill March 10, 2014 / 3:44 pm

      Glenn, thanks so much for sharing various perspectives on the racial lenses held. I am not anti- black; I am anti- race: anti- black/ white/ red/ yellow/ brown/ gold/ bronze/ beige. It’s all baggage. I don’t subscribe to describing and defining any people by colors. I stand firm in my perspective that God is pre- racial and supra- racial and the same can be said of God’s creation. I allow my theology to determine my understanding of anthropology; consequently, God is not blind neither does God create human beings on the basis of race. God was before race.


    • getgln October 27, 2011 / 10:14 pm

      Hi Shannon, Thank you for stopping by! Let me know if you would like to introduce yourself and your blog with a guest article!


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