Understanding racism - Definition, Concept, Dimensions, Facts

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Understanding racism - Definition, Concept, Dimensions, Facts

Racism is the thought or belief that a particular race according to physical, cultural, or geographical appearance might be deemed superior or inferior to others.  Any sort of prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism against someone just because of his/her skin color, physique, or cultural appearance is an act of racism.

The concept of racism

Humans, the species of like anatomy and physique and like abilities and tendencies, all trace back to single Adam. They were born equal and they die decaying into the same remains of bones. If that is what their reality is then why do they create differences? Why do they consider some among them superior and the others inferior? What does the superiority complex arise from? The answers to all these questions are buried in the unfortunate notion of “racism”.

Definition of Racism

Our dictionaries define racism as the belief that renders race to be a determinant of dominance of a particular race over others. According to another definition it is an act of prejudice or discrimination on the basis of race.

Historical background

In 18th and 19th centuries, the United States was a hub of slavery, where blacks were kept as slaves by whites. The former were regarded inferior to the latter so much so that they were thought to be intellectually weaker too. In a book named “The Bell Curve”, it was remarked that blacks are intellectually inferior to others and score less than whites in schools because of genetics, meaning their genes were blamed for them being less intelligent than the white Americans. However, humanity yet existed on earth when the notion was ridiculed in New York Times and the lack of intellectual capabilities in blacks was justified by social and psychological implications stemming from discrimination. The book criticized the authors for making conclusions devoid of any scientific proofs.

Present Scenario

This was back in 1700s and 1800s and sadly this discrimination exists until the present. Whites and other races are given preferential treatment in educational institutions and even in employment. This is evident from the percentage of unemployment in the black community which is double as against whites.

Minority racism

The minorities can be racist too. In a society when a particular race is disgraced, disregarded and hated over a period of time, then the victims of racism also acquire hatred against the haters, which is one thing. The other thing is that they start becoming receptive to the inferior treatment, believing that they’re actually inferior to others. This equally fills up the minorities with racism, which is the biggest failure of the society. 

Other Dimensions of Racism

Let’s have a look at some of the other aspects of racism that have been evolved with racism persisting in the world for centuries.

Internalized Racism

As discussed above, when blacks themselves begin to believe that whites are superior to them, it’s called internalized racism, which is rooted in the victims of racism. It is a bitter reality and is actually evident from a number of surveys; for instance young black girls when given the choice to pick a doll, they were seen picking white dolls in the shops while ignoring the black ones. Similarly, many adult black girls are seen preferring white race traits, for instance straight hair.

Horizontal Racism

When a minority group acquires racial behavior against another minority group in a given community, it’s referred to as horizontal racism. For example, a racist attitude of Mexican American towards a Korean American explains the concept of horizontal racism.

Reverse Racism

We’ve often heard about anti-white discrimination. It’s the discrimination against whites. When the minorities reflect bias towards their own race and acquire anti-white feelings, this gives rise to the condition of reverse racism. Even there were allegations against the former President Barack Obama that he had been anti-white during his tenure.

 Interesting Facts about Racism:

  • In Ancient Egypt, dark-skinned kings regarded the light-skinned as ‘the pale degraded race of Arvad’. So, the whites were subjected to racism then.
  • In the same place when the whites came into the power and became kings, they regarded the dark skin colored people as the ‘the evil race of Ish’.
  • Basically, racism is mainly associated with power. Power makes people think that they are superior to others.
  • Federal statistics shows that 1 in 4 students in the USA report racial discrimination at schools every year.

 

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