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Concept of Racism and Its Changing Reality (From Impacts of Racism on White Americans, P 27-49, 1981, Benjamin P Bowser and Raymond G Hunt, eds. -- See NCJ-121103)

NCJ Number
J M Jones
Date Published
23 pages
The changing reality of racism encompasses individual, institutional, and cultural racism.
The notion of individual racism, characterized by attitudes of racial superiority, overlaps substantially with the notions of race prejudice and racial discrimination. Research on stereotyping and on the relation between attitudes and behavior shows a common theme, that the norm for racial attitudes has shifted from a sanctioned negative expression to an obligatory neutral or positive expression. Unobtrusive measures of behavior, however, suggest that more positive attitudes are not necessarily associated with a more positive behavioral reality. Research on institutional racism, described as the use of institutional power to implement ideological biases, indicates that the pattern of participation in institutions varies significantly as a function of race and ethnicity. With the exception of the Japanese, all racial and ethnic minority groups are less well off than the white majority. Cultural racism operates in two ways. One is that standards for acceptable performance are established in accordance with tendencies, skills, or attributes of one group and all other groups are judged accordingly. Another way is the tendency to place greater emphasis on areas in which whites excel or have been historically interested than on areas where blacks and others have excelled or shown aptitude and interest. Discrimination against racial minority groups takes the form of preference for majority group members; the problem is not so much with underqualified minority persons as it is with over-representation of mediocre whites. Affirmative action is a systems approach to ameliorate the effects of past discrimination but, as conceived and implemented, has negative and positive consequences. Due to its negative effects, affirmative action should be changed to eliminate the resulting stigma and feelings of deprivation that result. 1 table, 1 figure.


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