Racelighting Definitions

Racelighting – is an act of psychological manipulation where people of color receive racial messages that distort their realities and lead them to second-guess themselves.

Active Racelighting – occurs when the perpetrator has the intention of sowing doubt and disorienting the racelightee.

Passive Racelighting – occurs through an accumulation of microaggressions that serve to sow doubt and disorient the racelightee. Most often, these messages are unintentional.

Stereotype Advancement – is advancing stereotypes to frame perceptions of People of Color.

Inauthentic Allyship – refers to advancing the pretense that a person or entity supports or protects People of color when they do not.

Misrepresenting the Past – refers to framing historical injustices against People of Color in ways that benefit White supremacy.

Resistant Actions – are actions meant to defend the perpetrator against personal racism or one’s role in racism.


Updated by J. Luke Wood and Frank Harris III (June 20, 2022)