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The Concept And Types Of Racism

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The lack of total acceptance that racism and white privilege has created a time fuse between minorities and the white community has caused an imbalance in the society. What is racism? What is white privilege?

Racism according to Oxford dictionary is prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior. White privilege according to Cambridge dictionary is the fact of people with white skin having advantages in society that other people do not have.

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According to social science, there are seen types of racism

  • Representational racism
  • Ideological racism
  • Discursive racism
  • Interactional racism
  • Structural racism
  • Systemic racism
  • Racism in Sum

Representational racism is the type of racism shown most popular in movies or in comedy shows. In this form of racism, racial stereotypes are re-enacted. Another example is the casting of black people or Native Americans as criminals in movies.

Ideological racism is a type of racism that involves the thought process of people. An example would be people thinking darker skinned girls are more promiscuous than fairer girls or that fairer skinned people are more intelligent and smarter than darker skinned people.

Discursive racism typically involves using words, racial slurs for example, to demonstrate racism. The word “ghetto” for example is used to describe areas where there is a predominance of black people. Another example is the word “thug”, that word is used to describe the appearance of black males dressed differently.

Interactive racism is a form of racism that is expressed by how we interact with each other. An example would be a white woman holding to her purse tightly when a black male is walking beside her. Another common example is when someone sees a person of colour at a place and automatically assumes the person of colour is an assistant or cleaner. In reality, the person of colour could be the manager, supervisor or even the owner. It is not an uncommon practice to see people of colour being monitored closely when they go into stores because of the prejudice that the person of colour would steal.

Institutional racism is a type of racism that involves laws being made to purposely target people of colour. An example would be carding. People of colour were the most subjected to the carding law. Another example would be the “war on drugs” campaign, the campaign strategically targeted people of colour, black people especially.

Structural racism refers to the historic racism that manifests through a combination of the other types of racism mentioned above.

Systemic racism describes racism based on foundation. For example, countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and even America were built based on racist principles and values. Those values influenced laws amongst other things,

Lastly, Racism in sum is the type of racism that does not look racist at first glance but is indeed racist. For example, people say “I do not see colour” but they hold tightly to their purse when they see a person of colour walking past. That is racism in sum.

Racism has affected all sectors of life. However, I would be focusing on four sections; Education, job inequality, policing and activism. Racism and white privilege in these sectors has made it more difficult for people of colour of progress. A black person has to work harder to achieve what a regular white person would achieve.

Racism has been woven deep into the fabrics of the educational sector in North America. The education system is systemically racist. Schools in black neighbourhoods are not funded as well as schools in white neighbourhoods. This is a fact that has been known by most for a long time but the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights published a report on the 11th of January that confirmed this.

Catherine Lhamon, the chair of the U.S Commission on Civil Rights said, “low-income students and students of color are often relegated to low-quality school facilities that lack equitable access to teachers, instructional materials, technology and technology support, critical facilities, and physical maintenance,” in the Letter of Transmittal of the briefing. There is an unequal amount of white teachers to black students, the students do not have someone their colour to look up to. This on its own is a form of systemic racism.

According to Pew Research, a reputable research centre, There is also a lack of courses in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) in schools with predominately people of colour. The research showed that this is the reason why there are many people of colour in the STEM. David Mosenkis, a data scientist did a study in the state of Pennsylvania. The study involved 500 school districts. He chose Pennsylvania because the state had a lot of people of colour and he also found the same results- schools in white neighbourhoods got more funding that schools in neighbourhoods with people of colour.

A research conducted by researchers at Harvard found that anti-black racism in hiring is as prevalent now as it was in 1989. That is a disturbing report. People of colour are finding it harder to land jobs such because of their skin colour. A Canadian study showed that people with ethnic names on their resume had a weaker chance of getting a job in comparison to people with English names.

There is subtly racism in the job market. In a study published in the Social Science Journal, people of different races but with similar body types were paired together and sent to apply as servers at a restaurant. The study found that minorities were less likely to get hired despite having the same qualifications as their white counterparts. Also, the people of colour that were lucky to get hired were paid up to 12% less.


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