“Discuss the Key Differences Between ‘Individual Racism’ and ‘Institutional Racism’. Give Examples to Illustrate Your Argument”.

983 Words May 25th, 2013 4 Pages
“Discuss the key differences between ‘individual racism’ and ‘institutional racism’. Give examples to illustrate your argument”.

The Oxford English Dictionary describes racism as “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a group or individual of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior”. It is significant when concerning oneself with the discussion of racism that a clear and concise distinction is made between the two different types of racism. Firstly there is individual racism. It is defined by overt acts carried out by an individual which can, in extreme cases; result in the death of the victim immediately. However it can also cause destruction of property, assaults, and verbal abuse and
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On the other hand, individual racism cannot be examined in the same way due to the difference between the two. Where institutional racism is covered up and turned a blind eye to, individual racism can be easily recognised, and therefore not ignored, however much people would like to. The election of Barack Obama was seen as a victory over individual racism, when others view it as an insidious means as a way to continue to function in an institutionally racist society. Giddens would argue that individual racism is in itself an aspect or institutional racism. An individual may himself hold racist views, which leads to him joining a white supremacist organisation which promotes its own racist agenda.
The key difference between individual and institutional racism is their impact. While one may be a racist, and the things he says and does may have a horrible effect upon an individual or small group of people, the physical and emotional damage inflicted by a racist organisation burns so much deeper and lasts so much longer and causes much vaster extents of harm. One racist man can easily be stopped. One racist organisation cannot be dealt with so easily. They may have no specific instigator and no specific person or group of people to be held accountable. When we talk of ‘white collar crime’ this is the worst form.

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