Definition of RACISM


Racism is a noun referring to the belief in the superiority or inferiority of individuals or groups based on their race, as well as the systemic discrimination, prejudice, or oppression directed against people of certain racial or ethnic backgrounds. It encompasses ideologies, attitudes, behaviors, policies, and practices that perpetuate racial hierarchies, inequalities, and injustices within societies.

Ideological Beliefs and Attitudes: Racism involves the endorsement or perpetuation of racial stereotypes, biases, and prejudices that devalue, stigmatize, or marginalize individuals or communities based on their racial or ethnic identities. These beliefs may manifest as notions of racial superiority, inferiority, purity, or threat, shaping individuals’ perceptions, interactions, and attitudes toward others.

Institutional and Structural Dynamics: A the institutional level, racism refers to systemic patterns of discrimination, exclusion, or disadvantage embedded within social, economic, political, and cultural institutions. Structural racism encompasses policies, practices, and norms that systematically disadvantage marginalized racial or ethnic groups, resulting in disparities in areas such as education, healthcare, employment, housing, criminal justice, and representation.

Intersectionality and Multiple Forms of Oppression: Racism intersects with other forms of oppression, such as sexism, classism, ableism, and homophobia, creating complex systems of privilege and disadvantage based on intersecting identities. Intersectional approaches to understanding racism recognize the interconnected nature of social inequalities and advocate for inclusive strategies that address the diverse experiences and needs of marginalized communities.

Historical Context and Legacy: Understanding racism requires acknowledging its historical roots and legacy, including colonization, slavery, segregation, genocide, and imperialism, which have shaped contemporary racial hierarchies, power structures, and social inequalities. Historical injustices and traumas continue to influence present-day attitudes, institutions, and disparities, underscoring the ongoing need for racial reconciliation, reparations, and systemic change.

Anti-Racism and Social Justice Movements: Efforts to combat racism encompass anti-racist activism, advocacy, and education aimed at challenging discriminatory beliefs, dismantling oppressive systems, and promoting racial equity, inclusion, and justice. Anti-racist movements mobilize individuals, communities, organizations, and governments to address racism at individual, interpersonal, institutional, and structural levels, fostering solidarity, allyship, and collective action for transformative change.

As a noun, racism denotes the belief in racial superiority or inferiority and the systemic discrimination, prejudice, or oppression directed against people of certain racial or ethnic backgrounds. Racism operates at individual, institutional, and systemic levels, perpetuating inequalities, injustices, and disparities across various domains of society. Addressing racism requires collective efforts to challenge discriminatory beliefs, dismantle oppressive systems, and promote racial equity, inclusion, and justice for all individuals and communities.

Examples of RACISM in a sentence

  • The organization is committed to combating systemic racism and promoting inclusivity in all its programs.
  • The documentary shed light on the historical roots of racism and its lasting impact on marginalized communities.
  • Public discourse often addresses the need to address unconscious biases to eradicate everyday instances of racism.
  • The school implemented educational programs aimed at raising awareness about the consequences of racism and fostering a culture of respect.
  • The community rallied together to condemn an incident of blatant racism and call for unity and understanding.
  • Legislators introduced new laws to address workplace racism and ensure fair treatment for employees of all backgrounds.
  • The university organized workshops to encourage open conversations about race and challenge instances of subtle racism on campus.
  • The activist delivered a powerful speech condemning all forms of racism and advocating for social justice.
  • Efforts to eliminate institutional racism require comprehensive policies that address disparities in education, healthcare, and employment.
  • The company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion includes ongoing training programs to combat unconscious biases and prevent workplace racism.

Origin of RACISM

The term “racism” has its roots in the late 19th century, and its origin is closely tied to the historical context of racial theories and ideologies that emerged during that time. The concept of racism developed as a way to justify and perpetuate discriminatory practices based on the belief in the inherent superiority or inferiority of certain racial groups.

The term “race” itself has a complex history, with early usages related to lineage, descent, or classification based on physical characteristics. The idea of race as a determinant of human characteristics gained prominence during the era of European colonialism, where it was used to categorize and justify social hierarchies.

Here are key points in the historical development of the term “racism”:

  • Scientific Racism: In the 19th century, so-called “scientific racism” emerged, with pseudo-scientific theories attempting to provide a biological or genetic basis for racial differences. These theories were often used to justify colonialism, slavery, and discrimination.
  • Colonial Context: The term gained further prominence in the context of European colonial expansion, where racial hierarchies were employed to rationalize the subjugation of indigenous peoples.
  • Social Darwinism: The concept of “survival of the fittest” from Darwinian evolution was misapplied to human societies, leading to the development of social Darwinism, which suggested that certain races were inherently superior and others inferior.
  • Institutionalization of Discrimination: As these ideologies took hold, discriminatory practices became institutionalized, leading to policies and laws that enforced racial segregation, denied equal rights, and perpetuated racial inequality.

The term “racism” itself came into common usage in the early 20th century to describe these discriminatory beliefs and practices. Over time, efforts have been made to challenge and dismantle racism, advocating for equality, civil rights, and social justice. While progress has been made, racism continues to be a deeply ingrained social issue that requires ongoing efforts to address and eradicate.


  • Racial Discrimination
  • Prejudice
  • Ethnic Bias
  • Bigotry
  • Xenophobia
  • Intolerance
  • Racial Bias
  • Cultural Insensitivity


  • Equality
  • Inclusivity
  • Tolerance
  • Fairness
  • Anti-Discrimination
  • Acceptance
  • Open Minded
  • Diversity


  • Stereotyping
  • Segregation
  • Marginalization
  • Bias
  • Hate
  • Injustice
  • Systemic Inequality
  • Social Exclusion

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