Racism Essay

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The term "institutional racism" describes societal patterns that have the net effect of imposing oppressive or otherwise negative conditions against identifiable groups on the basis of race or ethnicity. In the United States, institutional racism results from the social system that sustained, and was sustained by, slavery and racial segregation. Although the laws that enforced this caste system are no longer in place, its basic structure still stands to this day. This structure may gradually fall apart on its own over a period of generations, but activism is necessary to expedite the process and provide for a more equitable society in the interim. Institutional racism is a complex, multifaceted concept, wherein definitions often stress some aspects of the term and not others. Some definitions, for example, focus on the outcome of segregation and inequality, while others focus on the outcome of unearned privileges and advantages. Frequently, definitions stress that once racism takes hold and is embedded within institutions it does not require "intent." Rather, institutional racism can be perpetuated by seemingly benign policies, practices, behaviors, traditions, structures, etc., which is why it usually goes unchallenged. Institutional behavior can injure people-of-color; and, when it does, it is nonetheless racist in outcome if not in intent. Racism....A word that means a lot of things to many people. To some, that word is the description of a way of life, to other, it is a repulsive term that represents closed-mindedness. In my own eyes, there are no Blacks, no Asians, no Hispanics; there is only one race, and that race is human. No matter what our color or physical features may be, it all boils down to the fact that we are all human. This is yet another concept that we must seek to fully understand before we can consider ourselves ready to attain true peace.

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