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The 8 most common types of racism

The types of racism that occur on the planet they are an example of the extent to which there are attitudes based on discrimination that have taken root in many cultures.

In reality, racism can take so many forms that in some cases it goes unnoticed and can be perceived as the natural order of things. That is why it is important to know the different types of racism and know how to identify them on a day-to-day basis. But first, let's start with the basics.

  • Related article: "Stereotypes, Prejudices and Discrimination: Why Should We Avoid Prejudging?"

What is racism?

Racism is a very abstract concept that refers to the act of discriminating against people based on their race, or the tendency to get involved frequently in this kind of discrimination.

Thus, a racist person takes into account his prejudices about the characteristics that people have (hypothetically) because of the lineage from which they come, and defends the idea that individuals should have some rights or others in depending on your race.

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In turn, the concept of race is highly debated, since despite the fact that as a scientific entity does not exist within the field of biology applied to our species, in social sciences and humanities it is used. That means that although there are technically no human races, a large amount of the population does believe it, and for Consequently, it can discriminate taking as a criterion the assumptions racial groups to which the people.

That is why, among other things, the boundaries between different races are so confusing; there is no clear way to tell where one of these population groups begins and where another begins.

Main types of racism

The most common types of racism are as follows. However, it must be taken into account that in practice many of them overlap each other.

1. Institutional racism

The adjective "racist" is also used to refer to laws or institutions that discriminate against people because of their roots. This is the case of institutional racism, embodied in forms of organization and distribution of power that have been established in rules, statutes, etc.

References to institutional racism marry well with philosophical currents related to postcolonial studies or the works of Michel Foucault, that speak of forms of oppression and domination that go beyond the purely psychological and are materially reflected in structures of social organization and laws.

2. Cultural racism

Cultural racism emphasizes a supposed cultural superiority of one ethnic group over another. It should be clarified that this type of racism does not consist in pointing out that there is one culture better than the others, but rather in establishing a deterministic relationship between race and culture. For example, believing that civilizations made up primarily of black populations are incapable of creating good literature is an example of this.

However, it must be borne in mind that this concept is controversial, since it is often criticized for blurring the true meaning of racism, which necessarily would refer to biological characteristics or at least visible physical characteristics and easy to verify based on objective criteria, such as the color of skin.

3. Biological racism

This is one of the types of racism that most emphasizes the influence of genetics on abilities and the psychological propensities of people. From him it is believed that the inheritance passed through the genes determines a good part of who we are, and that this supposes the irremediable superiority of certain races over others.

4. Reverse racism

It is a concept that is used to refer to racist attitudes directed against parts of the population who are not usually the target of racist attacks, usually people perceived as white.

There is some controversy as to whether this phenomenon can really be considered a type of racism, given that it has nothing to do with a form of systemic oppression that goes beyond the individual attitudes of certain people. That is, while racism towards the non-white population is based on historical and material inequalities (dominance of their native lands, greater military power, etc.) racism against whites has nothing to do with a situation of discrimination structural.

However, if we are interested in focusing on a clear and concise meaning for the word racism, possibly we will tend to accept that white people can also suffer a type of discrimination because of racial question.

5. Racism based on skin color

This type of racism is based on appearance, and it is very superficial. Basically, it consists of a contempt or irrational hatred of people because ofsimply, the appearance that gives them their skin color different from what one considers to be "normal". In practice, it overlaps with many other types of racism.

  • Related article: "Appearance: discrimination based on physical appearance"

6. Colorism

It is a form of racism that occurs within population groups that in turn tend to be discriminated against. It consists of belittling or excluding certain people who have very marked traits attributed to their race, that is, that hands approach the appearance of whites. In populations with African origins, for example, the victims are individuals with darker skin, as opposed to other blacks with lighter tones. Its existence is proof that unequal power dynamics also exist within discriminated groups.

7. Xenophobia

Xenophobia is a mixture of racism and nationalism, so there is discrimination on cultural grounds. That is to say, it is discriminated in part by biological origins and in part by the cultural heritage that someone who is perceived as a foreigner has internalized since childhood.

8. Stereotypical racism

It consists of placing a lot of emphasis on the biological characteristics that are usually attributed to certain ethnic groups, creating many moments in which attention is drawn to them. For example, pointing out that people who come from China have yellowish skin is a clear example of forcing reality to fit into patterns of differentiation between people.

Compared to other types of racism, this seems relatively harmless, as it is not based on hatred, but also has adverse effects, because it pigeonholes people and it makes it hard to look beyond these sorting categories.

  • You may be interested: "Types of sexism: the different forms of discrimination"
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