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DEI Curriculum: Socio-Historical Understanding

DEI Learning Outcome

Students will develop socio-historical understanding of inequalities and underrepresentation.

Key themes include:

  • Race is a social construct and does not represent significant biological difference between humans.
  • Analysis of contemporary and historical systems that structure and reproduce inequalities.
  • Awareness of the international and local diversity of cultures including immigrant experiences, language diversity, and global perspectives on race, ethnicity, and legacies of colonialism.
  • Awareness and self-reflexive understanding of the complex intersectionality of identities that impact perception of self and others.

Questions to consider

  • How is race introduced and discussed in your program/department?
  • In what ways is racism and structural racism covered through program/department content?
  • How is student self-awareness on their identities and impact on others nurtured in your program/department?
  • How is cultural bias and strategies to dismantle biases discussed in your program/department?



Are We Automating Racism?

Many of us assume that tech is neutral, and we have turned to tech as a way to root out racism, sexism, or other “isms” plaguing human decision-making. But as data-driven systems become a bigger and bigger part of our lives, we also notice more and more when they fail, and, more importantly, that they don’t fail on everyone equally. Glad You Asked host Joss Fong wants to know: Why do we think tech is neutral? How do algorithms become biased? And how can we fix these algorithms before they cause harm?

Source:  Vox’s Glad You Asked,


Race: The Power of an Illusion

RACE–The Power of an Illusion asks a question so basic it's rarely raised: what is this thing we call race? Since its release in 2003, the series has become one of the most widely used documentaries ever in formal and non-formal education in the US. Millions of people have used the film to scrutinize their own deep-seated beliefs about race and explore how our social divisions are not natural or inevitable, but made. Now, in 2021, the series remains salient and timely.

Reframing Racial Identity (2:47)

Watch this video to see an alternative way of looking at racial identity based on varying cultures.

How Racism Makes Us Sick (17:27)

Why does race matter so profoundly for health? David R. Williams developed a scale to measure the impact of discrimination on well-being, going beyond traditional measures like income and education to reveal how factors like implicit bias, residential segregation, and negative stereotypes create and sustain inequality. Dr. Williams presents evidence for how racism is producing a rigged system -- and offers hopeful examples of programs across the U.S. that are working to dismantle discrimination.

Three Myths About Racism (10:23)

While many of us like to believe that we’re closer than ever to reaching a post-racial society, the research of Dr. Candis Watts Smith paints a different picture. In her talk, Dr. Watts Smith dispels what we think we know about racism, and she explores what we can do to work toward anti-racism.

A Conversation on Race (videos range from 5-7 minutes)

Available here is a video series depicting experiences surrounding race for people of multiple different backgrounds.

Redlining and Afro American Families (4:31)

A short video that provides historical context on the housing policy of redlining and the long-term implications.

Systemic Racism Explained (4:23)

Systemic racism affects every area of life in the United Sates - from incarceration rates to predatory loans. Trying to solve these problems requires changes in major parts of our system. This video offers a closer look at what systemic racism is, and how we can solve it.

Angela's Journey and Why Race Matters in Wisconsin (6:25)

Host and producer Angela Fitzgerald introduces us to the motivation behind the series Why Race Matters, and the call to action she felt after the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. She shares her own story of moving to Wisconsin and her struggles adjusting to life in a predominately white community.


Black Oxygen: Gabe Doyle (1:13:42)

Listen to United Way of Dane County Community Impact Health Director, Gabe Doyle, on a recent episode of Black Oxygen, a Wisconsin-based podcast lifting up Black voices. This episode discusses vicarious trauma, family, what it means to have a sense of belonging as a bi-racial Black man when you have two white parents, and the systemic changes that are needed for Black people to thrive throughout Wisconsin. Visit or subscribe to Black Oxygen through your favorite podcast app.

By Every Measure: Systemic Racism (27:09)

Hosts of podcast By Every Measure Reggie Jackson and Tarik Moody detail how racism was declared a public health crisis in Milwaukee and explain the distinction between racism and systemic racism.

Native Americans Feel Invisible in the U.S. Health Care System (3:12)

About a quarter of Native Americans report experiencing discrimination in healthcare, according to a poll by NPR. Listen to Native Americans share about their experience with health care in this brief radio interview.

Health Equity Advocate on Black Doctor's Video for Her Treatment for COVID-19 (4:42)

NPR's Mary Louise Kelly talks with health equity advocate Joia Crear-Perry about a video in which the late Dr. Susan Moore said her treatment for COVID-19 suffered because she was Black.