Meaning and Reason of Racism in Society

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Racism is the belief in that one race is superior over another, which results in discrimination and prejudice towards people based on their ethnicity or race. There are many definitions of racism. Like the ideology underlying racism often includes the idea that humans can be divided into distinct subgroups that are different due to their social behaviour and their innate capacities, as well as the idea that they can be ranked as inferior or superior. Historical examples of racism include the Holocaust, the apartheid regime, slavery and segregation. Racism was seen as an important aspect the social organization of many colonial states and empires during the suppression of dark skinned people.

Race and ethnicity are considered to be two distinct or separate in contemporary social science; the two terms have been used equivalently in both popular usage and in social science studies. Ethnicity is often used in a sense close to one traditionally attributed to race, the division of human groups based on qualities assumed to be essential or innate to the group. Therefore, racism and racial discrimination are sometimes used to describe discrimination in ethnic or cultural instances, regardless of whether these differences are shown as racial or not.

Couse’s of Racism

There is no single or exact cause for racism. There are numerous factors that contribute to it that include:

  • A fear of people who are different- xenophobia.
  • A need in some people to feel superior.
  • A need in some people for dominance.

Humans are heirarchical animals and a heirarchy requires that some members be in a lower position. Racism helps some people to rationalize the dominance of one group over another politically, economically and socially in some areas of the world. Some governments use racism to excuse and perpetuate oppression. Feelings in some people that attempts to end discrimination and protection of basic human rights are instead special rights given over to one group.

Long-standing historic patterns of prejudice and the reality of slavery since the earliest human civilizations have contributed to modern racism. Slavery is still practiced in many parts of the world and was part of the common culture in the ancient world and lasted until modern times in the West. Racism thrives under systems that support slavery since the slavers must justify their actions by a fiction of superiority.

For some people who feel insecure in their own status prejudicial attitudes boost their self-esteem. A need in some people to be part of a group even when that group holds negative attitudes toward individuals who are members of different groups.

  • Stereotypical thinking and rigid belief systems.
  • Ancient survival instincts.
  • Lack of diversity where one lives.
  • Social and economic status.

Older generations can sometimes pass on beliefs of hatred to a new generation, and in turn the young ones grow up believing in what has been taught to them. Many people are raised in racist families. They also think of themselves as being better than others who are different. Fear and ignorance. People see the person of another race as a threat to their own position and status and as a self-protective measure they react with a negative response.

Many people harbor racist tendencies that ooze out, especially in homogenous groups and anonymous internet chat rooms and forums. That freedom of anonymity helps to perpetuate racism.

Racism and Racial Bullying

It’s illegal to treat people differently because of their race or culture. If it happens to you, remember – no one has the right to make you feel bad or abuse you for who you are. Racism is where someone thinks you’re inferior because of your colour, ethnicity, nationality or race. This can result in them treating you differently or unfairly, this is called racial discrimination. Racial bullying is a type of racism where someone’s bullying focuses on your race, ethnicity or culture. Racism and racial bullying are wrong and you can get help to make it stop.

Racism and racist bullying can include:

  • being called racist names or being sent insulting messages or threats
  • having your belongings damaged or having to see racist graffiti
  • personal attacks, including violence or assault
  • being left out, treated differently or excluded
  • people making assumptions about you because of your colour, race or culture
  • being made to feel like you have to change how you look
  • racist jokes, including jokes about your colour, nationality race or culture.

Racism can affect anyone. It can make you feel like you’re not important or don’t fit in. You might feel upset, depressed or angry. You can be affected by it even when it’s not aimed at you, like if you hear someone discriminating against someone’s culture.

To most people racism is when one belief that his/her genetically physical characteristics is better than the characteristics of another race. But what does not comes mind is racism did and can lead to the elimination of another race ,division of a nation and the enslavement of another race , as what took place in history. In this modern time where there are laws against discrimination of any sort and words like we are created equally. But racism is still around because the causes of racism still exist. Therefore we should examine the causes of racism. Sometimes racism can develop among people of different race because of the lack of knowledge about the other race culture, belief and history.

Since little is known about the other race their behavior can be misinterpreted. For example the pilgrims that settled in America taught the Native Social norms is also one of the causes of racism because some people are taught to dislike other race by their family or someone who has great influence on them. And in some instances they tend to pass what they were taught to the next generation. For example of a social norm, one of my High school classmate were taught by his parents to dislike a certain race because they were consider to be “bad influence”.

In the film “Skin Deep” one of the students was saying that when one black person shoplift the whole black community feel the effect because the other races will look at black people as shoplifters. That is a perfect example of stereotyping where the whole race is generalize as something that they are not.


Reverse racism or reverse discrimination is a concept often associated with conservative social movements that portrays affirmative action and similar color-conscious programs for redressing racial inequality as a form of anti-white racism, whereby gains by racial minorities result in harms to the white majority.

Belief in reverse racism is widespread in the United States; however, there is little to no empirical evidence that white Americans suffer systemic discrimination, Racial and ethnic minorities generally lack the power to damage the interests of whites, who remain the dominant group in the U.S. Claims of reverse racism tend to ignore such disparities in the exercise of power and authority, which scholars argue constitute an essential component of racism.

Allegations of reverse racism by opponents of affirmative-action policies began to emerge prominently in the 1970s. While the U.S. dominates the debate over the issue, the concept of reverse racism has been used internationally to some extent wherever white supremacy has diminished, such as in post-apartheid South Africa. Allegations of reverse racism, therefore, form part of a racial backlash against gains by people of color.


  1. Yee, June Ying (2008). “Racism, Types of”. In Shaefer, Richard T. (2nd ed.) Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity, and Society. SAGE.
  2. Garner, Steve (2017). Racisms: An Introduction (2nd ed.). London, UK: SAGE Publications.
  3. Racism. In Kuper, A.; Kuper, J. (eds.). The Social Science Encyclopedia, Volume 2 (3rd ed.). London; New York. Routledge.

Cite this paper

Meaning and Reason of Racism in Society. (2020, Nov 12). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/meaning-and-reason-of-racism-in-society/

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