Dismantling Institutional and Structural Racism: Implementation Strategies Across the United States

  • Domonic A. Bearfield Rutgers University, Newark
  • Nicole Humphrey University of Miami
  • Shannon Portillo Arizona State University
  • Norma M. Riccucci Rugters University, Newark
Keywords: institutional racism, structural racism, White normativity


The field of public administration writes and theorizes a good deal about institutional and structural racism, but as an applied field, we don’t address some of the potential intervention strategies for dismantling racist structures and institutions. This article examines some of the prospective strategies in areas such as reparations, criminal justice, health care, and housing which have been implemented seeking to upend institutional and structural racism in this nation. Policies or programs, unless implemented, create a revolving-door syndrome. However, even when policies are developed and implemented, their efficacy is not always guaranteed, as will be seen. This article discusses how public administration can move away from the “ready, aim, study more” conundrum, and offers suggestions for moving forward to the next frontier.

Author Biographies

Domonic A. Bearfield , Rutgers University, Newark

Domonic A. Bearfield, PhD (bearfield@gwu.edu) is a professor of public policy and public administration at the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at George Washington University.

Nicole Humphrey, University of Miami

Nicole Humphrey, PhD (nhumphrey@miami.edu) is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Miami. Her research connects public administration and organizational behavior, primarily focusing on emotional labor, diversity, and equity. She has been published in several journals, including Review of Public Personnel Administration and Administration & Society.

Shannon Portillo, Arizona State University

Shannon Portillo, PhD (s.portillo@asu.edu) serves as director and professor in the School of Public Affairs at Arizona State University. Her scholarship explores how formal policies and rules and informal social norms shape the work of public organizations. Her most recent book is The Myth of Bureaucratic Neutrality: An Examination of Merit and Representation (Routledge, 2022).

Norma M. Riccucci , Rugters University, Newark

Norma M. Riccucci, PhD (riccucci@rutgers.edu) is the Board of Governors Distinguished Professor at the School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers University, Newark, NJ. She has published extensively in the areas of diversity, representative bureaucracy, and social equity. She is an elected fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.


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Received 2022-05-02
Accepted 2022-05-23
Published 2023-01-03
How to Cite
Bearfield, D. ., Humphrey, N., Portillo, S., & Riccucci, N. (2023). Dismantling Institutional and Structural Racism: Implementation Strategies Across the United States. Journal of Social Equity and Public Administration, 1(1), 75–92. https://doi.org/10.24926/jsepa.v1i1.4837