Racism is a belief that one’s own race is superior to another. It can also be defined as discrimination or prejudicial treatment of people based on their ethnic, national, or racial origin. Racism can manifest itself in the form of individual attitudes, institutional practices, or laws and policies. Racism can be directed towards individuals or groups of people who are perceived to be different from the majority group in terms of their physical appearance, culture, language, religion, or other characteristics.
Racism can have a negative impact on the social, economic, and political opportunities available to those who are targets of prejudice. Racism can lead to feelings of insecurity, low self-esteem, and isolation among those who are affected by it. Racism can also lead to violence. Racism is a global problem that needs to be addressed through education, dialogue, and action.
When asked what the meaning of racism is, I typically respond with “When a person makes an insulting remark about someone’s skin color, offending that person.” It’s a shame that my definition of racism doesn’t even come close to describing the real thing. In God Bless America, Melvin James has his own definition for what racist individuals do. He says, “Racist individuals abuse others due to their racial or ethnical background.”
This is a correct and more broad definition, but what are the different types of racism?
There are four Racism. The first one is Individual Racism which is defined as “the attitudes, beliefs, and actions of individuals who see themselves as superior to people of other races”(pg. 106). An example from the book would be when Emmett Till was killed. His killers were two white men who saw him as subhuman because of his skin color. They thought that because he was black, he wasn’t allowed to date their white women and they took it upon themselves to brutally murder him. Institutional Racism is the second type and it’s defined as “the ways in which Racism is built into the fabric of society through its major institutions”(pg. 107).
An example from the book would be when Rosa Parks was arrested for not giving up her bus seat to a white person. The reason she was arrested was because the law said that black people had to give up their seats if the bus got full and there were no more seats in the back. The last two types are Structural Racism and Racism by Intent. Structural Racism is defined as “the distribution of power and resources in society that benefits one group over another”(pg. 108).
Racism by Intent is defined as “deliberate policies and practices designed to discriminate against people because of their race”(pg. 108). An example from the book would be when the government decided to build highways through poor black neighborhoods instead of rich white neighborhoods. The reason they did this was because they wanted to displace the black people and make room for white people.
All four Racism work together to keep Racism alive and well in America today. Without one type, Racism wouldn’t be as big of an issue as it is. It’s important to learn about all four types so that we can combat Racism more effectively.
“Racist people frequently offer alternative justifications for their ethics and actions.” (James 163). So, exactly, what is the historical origin of the idea of race, that is when and how did racism begin, and what impact does it have on Black people all over the world? To grasp the historical meaning of race, one must first understand the aim of racism. According to God Bless America , there are “three key features” of racist behaviors. (James 164)
The first is the idea that one group is innately superior to another. The second is that different groups should be treated differently and the third is violence or the threat of violence against those deemed inferior.(James 164) Racism has been around since the early 1600s when Europeans were colonizing the Americas. At that time, there was a need to rationalize the inhumane treatment of Native Americans and Africans. One way this was done was by categorizing people into races based on physical appearance.(Smedley 93)
This allowed for a hierarchy to be established with whites at the top, followed by blacks, then Native Americans and finally Asians.(Smedley 93) Racism justified slavery and genocide as well as other forms of discrimination such as Jim Crow laws and redlining. Racism is an ongoing problem in America and around the world. Racism leads to discrimination and hate crimes as well as a sense of separation and isolation for those who are targeted. Racism is a public health crisis that must be addressed.
My friend group is very varied, and we all frequent make racist remarks to each other, even if we aren’t intending to be harmful. I sometimes wonder why we make racist jokes at one another and laugh about it as if we didn’t realize the person only said it to belittle us. Even though we are just kidding around, the statement remains and was used in a derogatory way; to injure. According on James’ book, “the first of three key elements of racist behaviors is that they are demeaning.”
Racism is not only about the act of meanness, but it’s also a power dynamic. The person who is being racist holds more power than the person on the receiving end. That’s why a lot of times, people in positions of power tend to be racist because they can get away with it. They have the control to make decisions that will or will not advantage the people who they are Racism towards.
Racism is defined as “the belief that one race is superior to another, or the practice of treating someone unfairly because of their skin color or ethnicity.” It doesn’t only happen between different races, but it can also happen within the same race. Racism has been around for centuries, and it’s still prevalent in today’s society. Racism is a problem that needs to be addressed because it’s something that’s been normalized over the years.
We need to start having conversations about racism, so we can begin to dismantle the system. Racism is an issue that should be taken seriously, and we need to start talking about it more openly.If you think someone is being racist towards you, don’t be afraid to speak up. You have a voice, and you deserve to be heard. Racism is a problem that we all need to work together to fix. Let’s start the conversation today.