Racism: Racism and Terms Racial Discrimination Essay

Submitted By aw2096
Words: 487
Pages: 2

Racism is generally defined as actions, practices or beliefs, or social or political systems that are based in views that see the human species to be divided into races with shared traits, abilities, or qualities, such as personality, intellect, morality, or other cultural behavioral characteristics, and especially the belief that races can be ranked as inherently superior or inferior to others, or that members of different races should be treated differently.[1][2] The exact definition of racism is controversial both because there is little scholarly agreement about the meaning of the concept "race", and because there is also little agreement about what does and does not constitute discrimination. Critics argue that the term is applied differentially, with a focus on such prejudices by whites, and defining mere observations of racial differences as racism.[3] Some definitions would have it that any assumption that a person's behavior would be influenced by their racial categorization is racist, regardless of whether the action is intentionally harmful or pejorative. In sociology and psychology,[4] some posit that racism is in effect 'prejudice plus power' and suggest that without the power dimension that racism would not be able to manifest as a cultural, institutional or social phenomenon. [5][6]Other definitions only include consciously malignant forms of discrimination.[7] Among the questions about how to define racism are the question of whether to include forms of discrimination that are unintentional, such as making assumptions about preferences or abilities of others based on racial stereotypes, whether to include symbolic or institutionalized forms of discrimination such as the circulation of ethnic stereotypes through the media, and whether to include the socio-political dynamics of social stratification that sometimes have a racial component. Some definitions of racism also include discriminatory behaviors and beliefs based on cultural, national, ethnic, caste, or religious stereotypes.[2][8] Racism and racial discrimination are often used…