PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Shelbey Roberts and Eugene Daniel kicked off the town hall unpacking the definition of racism.

“The way I see it, racism is a system that has been put in place and perpetuated and continued against a certain sector of the community to keep them suppressed oppressed and depressed. So racism is a system that’s been put in place by people of power to keep a certain part of a community down,” Pastor Marvin Hightower, President of the NAACP Peoria Chapter said.

But a lot of people think racism is just mean words or actions, but Dr. Marwin Spiller, a doctor of sociology, said in today’s society we rarely see overt, individual racism. He said instead, it’s shown systematically.

“It’s rooted in the society, the system’s, in every nook and cranny of the community, be it lack of opportunity in terms of the job market, lack of decent housing, all those things impacts ones entire existence,” Spiller said.

But when you talk about racism, you have acknowledged white privilege and understand how it impacts people of color. Dr. Carla Campbell explains white privilege gives an advantage to white people to succeed in society compared to other races, based on systemic racism. She said it’s highlighted during racial injustices and inequality.