A Simple Introduction to Three Main Types of Racism

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Race plays an important role in both personal and social life, and racial issues are some of the most heated debates in the world due to their complexity, involving the diverse historical and cultural backgrounds of different ethnic groups. Consciously or unconsciously, when one race holds prejudice, discrimination, and a sense of superiority to oppress another race, the issue of racism arises. Based on aspects of individual biases, social institutions, and cultural backgrounds, the three most common types of racism are categorized into individual racism, institutional racism, and cultural racism.

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Individual racism, or internalized racism, refers to individuals who hold discrimination towards other races based on personal racial preference. In most cases, individual racism is characterized by personal actions, beliefs, and attitudes that one race is superior to another. As the most common type of racism, it can appear in many forms, like in daily conversation, standup comedy, or even literature, which sometimes are too subtle to be noticed.

Institutional racism refers to the policies of dominant race/ethnic/gender institutions and the behavior of individuals who control these institutions and implement policies intended to have a differential and/or harmful effect on minority race/ethnic/gender groups (Pincus 1). Institutional and individual racism can cause and effect each other, creating a vicious circle enhancing social discrimination on societal minorities. This happens because individual racism, whether intentional or unintentional, underlies institutional racism causing social or political systems to enforce discriminatory practices to oppress other races. As suggested by Chaunda L. Scott, a professor in the Department of Human Resource Development (HRD) at Oakland University, these discriminatory practices can imply a veneer of fairness and justice to one race, actually having totally reverse effects on another race whose basic rights, especially in education, economics, and healthcare, might thus be violated and deprived. For example, a recent American study has shown that African Americans are consistently more likely to be wrongly convicted of murder, sexual assault, and drug abuse, making up forty-seven percent of the exonerations despite the fact that they only constitute thirteen percent of the US population.

Lastly, cultural racism is the specific type of racism where people of certain languages, cultures, and customs are prejudiced and discriminated against. Such racism involves not only a preference for a certain ethnic group but also the imposition of a “superior” culture on minor cultures to define societal values. Moreover, media, including news, advertisements, and TV shows, often reinforce the public’s negative attitudes towards certain races by mandating subtle but powerful stereotypical messages. Consequently, minor ethnic groups are assimilated into the mainstream culture and lose their cultural heritage. For example, in the 1940s, the KMT party in Taiwan, Kuomintang, enforced a series of Mandarin Language Policies to make Mandarin the national language. Locals who spoke their own dialects, such as Taiwanese and Hakka in public, would not only be fined, but also have a shame board hung on their home as punishment. Gradually, speaking dialects in public was considered inappropriate and informal, greatly discouraging younger generations from learning their mother tongue.

The issue of racism indicates the fact that one can be mistreated on personal life, social

System, and cultural identity is often influenced by one’s ethnicity. Minor ethnic groups in a society tend to suffer from individual prejudices against their skin color, language, and customs. Furthermore, if this kind of discrimination escalates to a social level, the rights of the minority to access equal social opportunities and welfare system can be unjustly violated or even deprived. On a cultural level, practices that emphasize the superiority of certain ethnic backgrounds can make the indigenous feel like outcasts.

Works Cited

Pincus, Fred L. Discrimination Comes in Many Forms: Individual, Institutional, and Structural, Maurianne Adams, et al, 2000, Oct 10th 2018, https://media.lanecc.edu/users/martinezp/250%20CRG/Discrim.pdf

Scott, Chaunda L.A Discussion of Individual, Institutional, and Cultural Racism, with Implications for HRD, https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED504856.pdf

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A Simple Introduction to Three Main Types of Racism. (2020, Mar 15). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/a-simple-introduction-to-three-main-types-of-racism/