Race/Racism Definitions

A class of individuals descended from a common ancestor who share certain common characteristics rooted in adaptations to the intensity of sunlight and other environmental factors. Similarities between people of different racial groups far outweigh their differences. There is no such thing as a “pure” race.

A term referring to an ideology, institutions and social structures that are organized to reflect the belief that one race is superior to another. A society whose major media, political and economic arrangements perpetuate the domination of a particular race is racist.

Racial Discrimination
The exclusion, by persons in authority, of individuals and groups belonging to a particular race from certain types of jobs, housing, political rights and power, and educational and social opportunities. In openly racist societies, racial discrimination can be given the force of law.

Holding preconceived notions and ideas, which lead an individual to form judgments without knowledge of the facts. Prejudice can be manifested in subtle ways and explained away with rationalizations, or openly proclaimed and cultivated in extremist “hate” organizations.

Exaggerated generalizations about particular groups, usually unfavorable, which form the basis of much prejudiced thinking. Stereotypes operate on the assumption that all members of a certain group are the same.

A state of mind in which prejudice and stereotypes produce often violently-held opinions against certain groups and ideas. In addition to racialism, common forms of bigotry are homophobia, sexism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia.

The process of blaming a certain person or group for shortcomings and social problems whose origins lie elsewhere. The term can be traced to a passage in the Book of Leviticus, where a high Priest transfer the sins of the people to the head of a goat which is then sent into the wilderness. 

Viewing one’s own group, religion or culture as superior and the carrier of unique values.

Viewing other groups, or foreigners, with suspicion and hostility.