As many of you may know, I blog often about racism, prejudice and white privilege. Recently, there was some debate from the blogging community about what RACISM really is, so I wanted to clarify the definition just a little bit…or at least start to.
Is it as simple as one person not liking another person because of skin color??
NO. That is prejudice.
Is Racism the act of an individual preventing someone from getting a job or accessing other opportunities based on their prejudice??
NO. That is discrimination.
While both prejudice and discrimination play into the system, RACISM is something much BIGGER…it’s a system of unearned privilege and racial supremacy established through colonization and slavery. It is a system of control that has a deep rooted history in the Americas…a history that I hope to share with you more completely very soon. It’s a caste system…and it’s many other things too…but it’s not as simple and singular as many may think. It’s not about saying, “I don’t like X, Y, Z race.” It’s about something MUCH BIGGER than that.
So what is racism? Below is a start…an accurate beginning to the vast definition that could be applied. Thanks to the Un-Fair Campaign for clarifying these!
Definition of Racism, Prejudice and White Privilege
What is prejudice? The prejudging of a person or situation without sufficient knowledge or facts. Personal and individual beliefs about race that are influenced by the dominant group’s values, practices and beliefs. Anyone can be prejudiced.
What is racism? Racism is more than individual prejudice based on race. Racism is the power of a dominant group, through its systems and institutions, to enforce the dominant culture’s history, values, practices and beliefs. It advantages those in the dominant group and disadvantages those who are not. It results in disparities.
What is white privilege? A set of advantages that are given to people who are part of the majority and dominant group. These opportunities and privileges are often invisible.
~ via the Un-Fair Campaign
*On the definition of white privilege, I also want to point out that one does NOT need to be in the majority to have white privilege…although racism usually operates in this way (rewarding the majority). There are plenty of countries out there, like Brazil for example, who have a dark majority and a white, privileged upper class. In majority dark-skinned countries, pale skin is often still at the top of the caste system. Something to think about, because I hear many individuals exclaim that once we are no longer in the majority, we will lose our privilege. Unfortunately, this is not entirely accurate.
For those who’ve participated in Ethnic Studies courses, Sociology or even Cultural Anthropology…viewing racism as a social construct and NOT as an individual emotion or action will resonate with you. I would love to hear the stories of what materials or life experiences moved you to this conclusion. I want to hear your thoughts and explanations and I also plan to give many of my own in a future post.
Please share…what is your best definition of RACISM? What factors helped you to recognize the bigger picture?