Racism, Discrimination, and Prejudice

What I've found since social media really began to become integrated into daily life was that many people shared information and voiced opinions without actually knowing things intimately. I find this increasingly true when dealing with racism, discrimination, and prejudice. Most people, regardless of age, do not actually understand how to appropriately use these terms and thrown them around constantly.


Race is, as we use it today, a social construct. If this confuses you think of the United States of America's view on what constituted of being "Black." There was the one drop rule which said even one drop of "Black" blood made you "Black" while other states said 25% or more made you "Black." If it wasn't socially constructed, explain how your race changed depending upon which state you resided in. Now, anthropologists view race as part of genetic makeups and traits that are passed down and directly linked to specific regions and the like. Technically, race is real in the anthropology sense but that is not how we in the world actually use the term.

Racism is defined as "prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race belief that one's own race is superior." What this definition from Dictionary.com doesn't cover is that only a power holder, usually the Anglo-Saxon Protestant able bodied males in the United States, are those that can be racist towards marginalized groups; Think Native Americans, "Black" Americans, and so forth. Who is viewed as "White" and who has been allowed to move up in the United States has changed drastically. Anyone who wasn't from England was considered "other" or "colored" until the mid-1900s when the Irish and Italians were allowed to move out of the "colored" box. That's right, Irish and Italian Americans were not always "White."

Discrimination is defined as the "treatments or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit." Think of how people say, "girls can't play football because it is for boys." This statement is sexual discrimination against girls stating they can't play a sport simply because they are not male. Think of when people "feel uncomfortable" around "Muslim looking" people. That is not RACISM but religious discrimination. If a "Black" person says, "She's white so she can't dance," that is a racially discriminatory comment. People scream that "Black" people can't be racist but they fail to realize they can be racially discriminatory and prejudice just the same as anyone else towards any race or ethnicity.

Prejudice is defined as "an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason." With racial and ethnic relations, I find prejudice is deeply tied to racism and discrimination. It is important to keep in mind that someone can be prejudice and not be racist depending upon where they fall in the power grid.

In conclusion, I hope everyone takes away from this piece the fact that the power holders change depending upon situation, nation, and so on. I would like to point out that one of the most abused and discriminated against group of people on this planet are those of the Jewish faith so remember that the next time you think the world only suffers "Black" and "White" issues. If you are in Ireland the protestant versus Catholic tension is outrageous. If you're in certain part of the USA the Islamophobia is off the charts. If you're in the Dominican Republic, the color of your skin will depict if you are the "right kind of Dominican" now. Think of all of this before you think the world is just black and white because I can assure you that there are plenty of prejudice, racist, and discriminatory views and issues around the globe.

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1 comments

  1. Great post! Totally agree with everything you said. The issue is always about someone being different from the norm. People are afraid of the unknown and there is too much ignorance nowadays. x

    Natalia - thewomaniwantobe.com

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