A Simple Introduction to Three Main Types of Racism
Race plays an important role in both personal and social life, and race issue is one of the most heated debates around the world for its complexity involving the versatile historical and cultural background 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 the aspects of individual, social institutions, and cultural background, three of the most common types of racism is categorized into individual racism, institutional racism, and cultural racism.
Individual racism, or internalized racism, refers to individuals hold discrimination towards other races based on personal race preference. In most cases of individual racism, race preference is characterized by personal actions, believes and attitudes that one race is superior to another race. 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 aware.
Institutional racism refers to the policies of the dominant race/ethnic/gender institutions and the behavior of individuals who control these institutions and implement policies that are intended to have a differential and/or harmful effect on minority race/ethnic/gender groups? (Pincus 1). Institutional racism and individual racism can be the cause and effect of one another, which can create a vicious circle to enhance social discrimination on the social minority of a society. It’s because of the individual racism, no matter intentional or unintentional, behind institutional racism that social or political systems enforces discriminatory practices to suppress other races. In reverse, as suggested by Chaunda L. Scott, a professor in the Department of Human Resource Development (HRD) at Oakland University, these discriminatory practices can imply. However, what it seems to be fair and justice to one race can actually have totally reverse effect on another race, whose basic right, especially in education, economic, and health care, might thus be violated and deprived. For example, according to a recent American study, African Americans are consistently more likely to be wrongly convicted on murder, sexual assault, and drug abuse, which takes up forty-seven percent of the exonerations despite the fact that they only make up thirteen percent of the US population.
Lastly, cultural racism is the particular type of racism that people of certain language, culture, and customs are prejudiced and discriminated. Such racism involves not only a preference of a certain ethnicity group but also the imposition of the superior culture on the minor culture to define cultural values for the society. Moreover, media, including news, advertisement, and TV shows, often reinforces public’s depreciation towards certain races by carrying subtle but powerful stereotypical message. Consequently, minor ethnic groups are riven to the mainstream culture and lose their cultural heritage. For example, in the 1940s, he KMT party in Taiwan, Kuomintang, enforced a series of Mandarin Language Policy to make Mandarin the national language. If the local people speak their own dialects, such as Taiwanese and Hakka in public, besides receiving fine, a shame board would be hung on their home also as a punishment. Gradually, speaking dialects in public was considered as inappropriate and informal, which greatly discouraged the younger generations to learn their mother tongue.
The issue of racism indicates the fact that one can be mistreated on personal life, social
system, and cultural identity because of one’s ethnicity. The minor ethnic groups in a society tend to suffer from individuals’ prejudice against their skin color, language, and customs. Furthermore, if this kind of discrimination escalates to a social level, the minority’s rights to own the same social opportunities and welfare system will be unjustly violated or even deprived. On a cultural level, the practices emphasizing on the superiority of certain ethnic background also make the indigenous outcast.
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