What is Racism?

Racism is social discrimination based on the false idea that the human species is divided into races and that one is superior to the others. It is a derogatory and discriminatory attitude not based on scientific criteria , since from a biological point of view it is incorrect to speak of human races.

Racism in Brazil is a crime provided for in Law n. 7,716/1989. It is non-bailable and does not prescribe, that is, whoever committed the racist act can be sentenced even years after the crime.

Racial prejudice is related to other types of prejudice, such as homophobia and xenophobia, or violent behavior, such as bullying.

March 21 was established by the UN (United Nations) as the International Day of Struggle for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The date was chosen in memory of the more than 60 people killed in the massacre that took place in South Africa on that same day in 1960.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was created with the aim of protecting the fundamental rights of human beings, condemning all types of discrimination based on color, gender, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion or any other condition.

Racism and Prejudice

Racism is a type of prejudice that is based on a preconceived and pejorative idea about an ethnicity or social group.

A prejudice is a mistaken opinion, formulated in advance and without due knowledge, about a person, a fact or a situation. It has its origin in a misjudgment of value and has no basis in reality.

There are several types of prejudice, such as social, religious, cultural, linguistic, gender, as to sexual and racial orientation (racism). Xenophobia is also a type of prejudice that stems from disgust towards foreign people.

See also: what is prejudice and the 5 most important moments in the fight against prejudice and racism .

reverse racism

Reverse racism or reverse racism is an expression used to designate the existence of racism by ethnic minorities against dominant ethnic groups. An example of reverse racism is the prejudice of black people towards white people.

The existence of racism presupposes a social discrimination that is only possible through the establishment of power relations and hierarchical differences. And in historical and social terms, black groups do not hold power in relation to whites, so there could not be a situation of oppression. Therefore, many people question the validity of this expression.

types of racism

There are several types of racism, including individual, institutional, cultural, primary, communitarian or differential racism and ecological or environmental racism.

See also the meaning of stereotype .

racism in the world

Racism is a social problem in both underdeveloped and developed nations, mainly in the form of xenophobia. Racism in the United States has serious consequences and leads to an increase in violence in the suburbs with a black and Hispanic majority, in relation to Arab immigrants, among the LGBTQIA+ community, and other groups considered minorities and with different characteristics from North American whites.

The economic crisis and population growth are often reasons for racial problems. Examples include the case of Great Britain with immigrants, France with North Africans, Germany with Syrians or Spain with the Roma population and illegal black workers.

Racism can be related to the politics of a country, one of the greatest examples being National Socialist Germany, which persecuted and exterminated Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, among other groups, based on the argument of an alleged superiority of the Aryan race. Anti-Semitism (racism against Jews) led to the Holocaust, one of the darkest pages of World War II.


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