Racism Definition History and Examples

Tue, 01/05/2016 - 02:26 -- Umair Khan

Racism History

Racism stems when one ethnic groups tries to dominate and eliminate the other one on the basis of differences in hereditary and other grounds. Racism came into existence in the West during the modern era. There are no clear evidences when or how it began in other cultures or even in Europe before the middle ages. Perhaps, the identification of the Jews, the devil and witchcraft during the mid 13th and 14th centuries is considered the first sign of racism in history. Such an attitude came into existence when the Jews converted to Christianity and as a result, their descendants became the victim of discrimination and even exclusion.

There are number of examples of racial discrimination in history. During the era of Renaissance and reformation, when the Europeans came in contact with the people of Africa, Asia and America, they started making judgements about them. Africans due to their color were traded as slaves and they were considered heathens. The blacks were considered to heathen the ancestry. In the 17th century, even a law was passed in North America that blacks and whites cannot marry. Blacks were hence treated as aliens and inferior.

Racism Definition

Racism is considered as a belief that members of each race have certain characteristics, qualities, or abilities that are specific to that race and on the basis of these qualities, they are either considered inferior or superior to another race. According to TheFreeDictionary, it is the belief that races have distinctive cultural characteristics determined by hereditary factors and that this endows some races with an intrinsic superiority over others.

Racial discrimination can be direct or indirect. In case a person is treated less fairly than another person in less similar situation due to color, national origin, descent or ethnic origin, it is called direct discrimination. In case a policy or rule treats everyone in one way but there are some people for which it has an unfair effect due to race, color, national origin or ethnic origin, then it is known as indirect discrimination.

The racist behavior might include the following:

  1. Physical harassment or assault
  2. Verbal abuse, threats, use of ridicule language or serotyped comments
  3. Racist propaganda in the form of signs, graffiti or symbols
  4. Incitement of others for behaving in a racist manner
  5. Institutional racism
  6. Refusing to cooperate with someone due to their language, religion, ethnicity or color

Examples of Racism

Racism today is at its peak just like it was in the past. In fact, it has taken plenty of other forms and things are certainly out of control in many situations. Take a look at some of the examples of racism in America:

Black women are likely to be evicted more than white women. This is due to a number of factors. You will find that unemployment rate for the black women is 10.6 percent whereas black men make 64 percent of what the white men make. Black women are given less leniency when it comes to receiving the payment.

Even in Hollywood, women become the victim of white washing. As there are plenty of Native Americans in Hollywood, the lead roles are given to the white women of course.

There are cases in which people of color are ignored in the social sense. A Chinese-American person when visits a white church, no one will talk to him and there will be very few people to great him. On the other hand, if a white visitor is invited to the church, he is taken for lunch for his first visit and people would love to talk to give the contact details to him. In this case, Chinese-Americans become a victim of racism due to their race.

There are plenty of other instances that show how much racism has been embedded into our society. Even though laws are there but this problem is becoming deeply rooted in our societies and communities.