School of Medicine Publications and Presentations

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The racial reckoning of 2020 involved the largest social movement protest in U.S. history, but support for the Black Lives Matter movement declined shortly after. To advance a moral reckoning on structural racism that dismantles racialized structures and redresses racial inequities, we call on scholar activists within the field of community psychology to realign their own practices by (a) examining structural factors; (b) encouraging structural thinking; and (c) supporting structural intervention for racial justice. Two structural factors–political determinants and commercial determinants–maintain the status quo of structural racism, undermining efforts for racial equity. As a result, we encourage the development of structural thinking, which provides a structural analysis of racism and leads to support for structural intervention. With an intersectional race and class perspective, we detail how structural thinking could be developed among the professional managerial class (through structural competency) and among the oppressed class (through critical consciousness). Finally, we discuss structural intervention factors and approaches that can redress racial inequities and produce structural change. Ultimately, we provide a pathway for community psychologists to support activists building a multiracial, multiclass coalition to eliminate structures and systems of racial, political, and economic injustice.


  • Community psychologists can support activists working toward a moral reckoning on structural racism.

  • Harmful political and commercial determinants maintain structural racism and racial inequities.

  • Structural thinking and structural intervention are essential for addressing structural racism.

  • First-order change interventions should build structural competency or critical consciousness.

  • Second-order change interventions should leverage systemic-level promotion and prevention.


This is the submitted version of the following article: McCarty, S., Liskey, M., George, D., Cook, N., & Metzl, J. (2022). Toward a moral reckoning on structural racism: Examining structural factors, encouraging structural thinking, and supporting structural intervention. American Journal of Community Psychology, which will be published in final form at This article may be used for noncommercial purposes in accordance with the Wiley Self-Archiving Policy [].

Publication Title

American Journal of Community Psychology



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Mentor/PI Department

Family Medicine



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