Institutionalized Racism Essay

+ All Institutional Racism Essays:

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Institutional Racism Essay

In The Color of Fear, Victor said, "Most of the lethal, deadly, toxic racism that people of color experience...comes from moral, fair-minded people who are lovers of justice--mostly decent and very nice folks." Many racist ideas and practices are more obvious than others. Several authors of our readings have discussed the "unintentional" or "unconscious" forms of racism. It is this type of "invisible" racism that Victor is talking about and can often be more difficult to address and change than overt, blatant racism. These forms of racism are more insidious and work behind the scenes and enable racism to exist even in the absence of deliberate racist attitudes and actions.

Racism is a system of oppression based on race that creates advantages and disadvantages among groups of people. Racism includes the beliefs, practices, laws, customs, and social arrangements that systematically burden, disadvantage, devalue or render inferior members of one racial group in relation to another in a society. Racism is based on the belief on innate superiority of one race over another given to us courtesy of essentialism. The beliefs, attitudes, and actions of individuals, cultural norms, and the systematic institutional structures and practices of society support racism and continue its operation in U.S. society.

There are different levels, dimensions, forms and manifestations of racism. Healy disusses the different levels and dimensions. He identifies two levels-individual and institutional and two dimensions- thinking/feeling and doing/acting. One of the categories discussed is institutional discrimination. Healy classifies institutional racism on the institutional level and in the doing/acting dimension. Healy defines institutional discrimination as, "a pattern of unequal treatment based on group membership that is built into the daily operations of society." Instutional racism consists of the laws, customs and practices that systematically produce advantages and disadvantages in society. Institutional racism enables racism to exist regardless of whether or not the individuals maintaining the laws, customs, and practices have racist intentions. Individuals may not be consciously racist and may be the moral, fair-minded, nice folks that Victor refers to, yet participate in racist practices.

One example of institutional racism can be seen when looking at real estate and demographics. Institutional racism can often be invisible. Many racist practices happen behind the scenes and are left embedded in our institutions from historical practices. Karen Brodkin Sacks discusses racist procedures of the FHA in her article How Jews Became White. Although the system of redlining and repeated denying of home loans to blacks are not as transparent as in the past, racial segregation continues to exist. Many neighborhoods in our society are still segregrated....

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