Talk:Institutional racism

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The headers seem to indicate serious concerns with the quality and validity of the entry. From a UK perspective (and, no thanks to some random commentator below, UK is not 'just a random country' - we might not have invented imperialism and racism, but we've done quite a lot to develop the concepts, as well as, hopefully, to atone for them and seek remedies) - where was I? No, speaking from what I like to think is an expert position, I feel that the page, while needing a lot of tidying up, is on the right lines. The use of Macpherson's report - which has had immense impact leading to new statutory duties and legislation not just in UK but across the EU - shows just how 'institutional' and indirect racism, inherent in structures, operates. I am less sure about symbolic racism - 'Indian mascots' etc - but accept that they demonstrate mindsets which underpin and maintain / hinder challenges to, structures that embody institutional racisms: the key fact in all this is the silencing of debate and the attempt to 'naturalise' inequalities...

Comment by MRDJ - Professor of Diversity & Equality in Health & Social Care and specialist advisor to UK NHS; editor of the journal Diversity & Equality in Health & Care.

Msrc (talk) 15:45, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

Institutional vs. structural racism[edit]

Institutional and structural racism are NOT the same thing. Institutional racism is racism within an institution. As scholar Rich Benjamin has noted, "[s]tructural racism exists ACROSS institutions, public policy, and other important domains (education, the judiciary, real estate, etc.)." (emphasis added). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:29, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

See also: (talk) 22:36, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

I agree that institutional and structural racism are not the same thing. But they are intertwined and inseperable as structural racism is embedded in institutional racism and research on institutional racism often acrosss institutions rather than merely focusing on one particular racism. We can conceptualize "structural" in a broad or narrow sense. Narrowly, it refers to social structure encompassing all domains. Broadly, it can be interpreted as "pervasive" and "beyond individual"; in this sense, racism in institutions in one domain can be regarded as structural racism. Jingqinxin (talk) 12:52, 24 September 2014 (UTC)


Isn't casteism a form of racism? --m 07:17, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

"functionally integrated"?[edit]

What does "functionally integrated" mean? -- The Anome 09:49, Jun 23, 2005 (UTC)

I didn't write this that passage, but it means that the disparate elements of racism and bigotry in institutional racism function in an integrated manner, as part of a gestalt. Say, a racist employer in a loan company won't hire blacks above a certain level -- custodial staff, secretaries, low-level clerks, but never loan officers or managers with the power to grant loans. The company policy is also to redline black businesses and neighborhoods -- or, the predominantly white staff individually treats applications from blacks differently than they do applications from others. There is no one w/a conscience on the inside to call them on their unlawful behavior, so the practice continues over time, black applicant after black applicant.
As a result, black businesses either fail, do not thrive and can't expand. Black entrepreneurs don't have opportunities commensurate with their other-race counterparts. Because of racist lending practices, homeowners may lose their homes, or cannot obtain mortgages. There's little employment within the community, because cash-strapped, undercapitalized minority businesses cannot afford to hire, or cannot compete for a quality workforce. Lack of employment opportunities means some people who might not do so otherwise turn to destructive livelihoods that undermine the safety and well-being of the communities in which they reside -- in short, violent street crime, burglaries, drugs. Real estate agents also frequently do not show house-hunting blacks properties located in nonblack neighborhoods. Because of white flight (occasioned by racism and fear) and black flight (occasioned by the opportunities of integration and financial means) and the subsequent ghettoization of America's inner cities into islands of poverty and crime; and the lack of a loan, a moderate- or low-income family may not then be able to find an affordable home in a step-up (white or black) neighborhood, where the schools are better. The higher incidence of street crime occasioned by all sorts of factors -- among them, lack of legitimate employment -- causes law enforcement to treat the majority of black males they see as suspects. The result is racial profiling and other discriminatory practices. Blacks are denied service at certain establishments, they are followed around while they shop, and doors are closed in their faces because shopowners fear robberies.
One scenario is that blacks actually can obtain loans -- but at far higher rates than their like-situated, nonblack counterparts. Cash-strapped black families may go without dental appointments and health insurance, juggling bills from month to month. That results in poorer health, delaying doctor visits until an undetected ailment possibly has reached a life-threatening stage. And it results in lousy credit ratings. No credit cards, and people pay higher prices on layaway, or go without.
No access to loans means Blacks are forced to live in an area they can afford -- a possibly dangerous community with failing schools. The family also cannot get a loan for new car when the old one breaks down. They resort to public transportation, which means they cannot get to the food-barn type, big box stores in the suburbs and end up paying higher prices for groceries, children's clothes and other items than their white counterparts. The children obtain a crappy education and end up either dropping out and falling victim to the ills that beset many low-income urban ghettoes, or emerge ill-prepared to compete in the workforce. They get caught up in the criminal justice system, or get low-paying jobs, and the cycle of poverty continues.
I could go on about the "they all look alike" syndrome in eyewitness testimony, coerced confessions, and the prison system, inequities in sentencing based on powdered cocaine and crack cocaine, etc., racism in the application of the death penalty, differences in the way white-collar crime involving millions (and billions) of dollars is prosecuted and punished versus the way street crime involving tens or hundreds of dollars is handled, etc. -- but I think you get the idea. That's what "functionally integrated" means. Racism operates as a system of working parts (kind of like a Rube Goldberg device), rather than an isolated incident; rather than a cluster of random, haphazard events, that militate against the progress of a person, or groups of persons, based on color/ethnic identity. deeceevoice 13:36, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)

You have an articulated response. Jingqinxin (talk) 13:02, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

Removed paragraph on immigration law[edit]

I removed the following paragraph, because I think it deals more with the socio-economic repercussions of immigration law, than institutional racism itself. Thoughts?

This kind of racism puts a burden to local economies due the sub exploitation of human resources, less income for a professional that performs menial jobs means less taxes and increases the strain on a government's social spending and tax payers. This circular logic produces social tension and clashes blaming those that fall victim of this practice as responsible for the deterioration of the economy.

Peruvianllama 06:39, 2 October 2005 (UTC)

It may indicate racism if the laws for immigration from some countries require more qualificatins than from others. If the laws require immigrants from certain countries of a particular religeon require a more thorough backgrond checks, or if people of some countries are encouraged to come more as tourists and students than as immigrants, or even worse if some people are told they are unwelcome, I guess that would be racism at a national level, right?--Wikishagnik (talk) 09:30, 5 September 2014 (UTC) link[edit]

The link reference to should be reviewed by more readers. It appears to censor messages that provide evidence contrary to central message of the website. Is wikipedia potitically neutral? (preceding unsigned comments by (talk · contribs))

You may be interested to read WP:NPOV for info on Wikipedia's stance on neutrality. As for the link itself, unless it's totally irrelevant, I personally don't think it should be removed. Perhaps its bias could be made clear in its description - ' - a group strongly opposing Canadian immigration laws', or something similar but better written. --PeruvianLlama(spit) 09:48, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

Carmicheal was a member of the Black Panther Party and became a black separatist, I am only adding information listed in his biography so please don't revert it again, unless you change his biography as well (unsigned post)

Actually, I knew Stokely personally and never thought of him as a Panther, associating him instead with SNCC, the AAPRP and Pan-Africanism. He was connected with the BPP for a year before finding he clashed on important issues. It's a bit misleading to characterize him as a Panther. Further, Stokely was a nationalist and a Pan Africanist. When I see "separatist," I think RNA, which Stokely was not. He was a nationalist; there's a difference. deeceevoice 15:29, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

Institutional Racism does not equal Structural Racism[edit]

These two are not equal! This article incorrectly conflates the two. Structural racism is larger, and deals with the how the interactions within and between different institutions, in combination with social processes and norms and individual racism, work to create different outcomes along racial lines. _laura t

I haven't even read the entire article. My eye was drawn to the weasely POV. But if you think that's the case, then rewrite it. I don't even have the patience right now to deal with the rather weak example given -- though I did delete the religion example. With all the real institutional racism out there -- and especially given my explanation of it earlier on this page -- you'd think they could do better than culturally biased standardized testing (assuming they really wanted to, which, IMO, seems highly doubtful).deeceevoice 22:06, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

-- -->The majority of the two paragraphs above are totally irrelevant to "institutional racism" and "structural racism" as encylopedia entries and should have no bearing on the content of this entry. That is, with the exception that adding the tag "theory" or a "con" section might be useful. This isn't a blog where we can spout off our political opinions about black crime, it is an encyclopedic entry on a body of (contested or not) theory. Let's keep it at that please! _laura t 8/23/06

And who says I blame black crime on anyone and everyone but blacks? Please. Take your silly ASSumptions elsewhere -- preferably away from this talk page. Laura t has it right. Your nonsense has absolutely nothing to do with this article. *x* deeceevoice 15:21, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

White Racism[edit]

Some one must write articles about racism by one racial group, and how go ahead. White Racism and anothers. 08:57, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Affirmative Action???[edit]

Some one explain HOW Affirmative Action is Institutional Racism???!!!??? It's Institutional Racism NOT to have Affirmative Action. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Carlon (talkcontribs) 18:42, 26 March 2007 (UTC).

Institutional racism is favouring one race over another in burocratic processes, so AA qualifies by this definition. Quote from the article:
Institutional racism (or structural racism or systemic racism) refers to a form of racism which occurs specifically in institutions such as public bodies, corporations, and universities.
Read before asking stupid questions. --Zslevi (talk) 20:44, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

What does this have to do with the article? Suicidesamurai 20:14, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

Affirmative action factors the race of the candidates into the equation, that sounds like institutional racism to me. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:05, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

When you put blinkers on to the social legacy of oppressed people of course you see it this way. When you fail to factor in the ongoing legacy of total racism against people who are discriminated at every turn then it would not make sense. It is looking at the situation incomplete. So in SA you have a BEE to REPAIR the legacy of apartheid, where disadvantages based on race exist. To fix that problem, a very real problem, you need Positive Action, such as BEE and Af Action. You do not need too much brain cells to see that its entire purpose is like (gender equality) to promote balance in a very unbalanced world.--Inayity (talk) 07:58, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

Merge with Academic racism[edit]

Academic racism is unsourced and it seems that the content of it is covered by this article. CJ 12:40, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

Classification contentious?[edit]

I added the following sentence to the end of the second paragraph:

As with the more general term of "racism", "institutional racism" carries with it a socially negative connotation which can make accurate classification contentious.

along with a "fact" tag. To me, that seems like something that is anecdotally true: no-one wants to be called a racist, and so any such claim will be contested with a list of facts as long as your arm. But at the same time, it seems like weaseling out if I don't have a source. I just have no idea where to look in the literature for such a source. Or even what literature in which to look. Thoughts? Is it worth keeping it in and hoping for a source? Better yet, can someone source it? --PeruvianLlama(spit) 21:37, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

Examples of institutional racism[edit]

The example of the eagle feather law is not a form of institutional racism. It is unref'd and incorrect. I am removing this material. Phyesalis 21:12, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

links to page about Institutionally Racist pollicies[edit]

shouldn't there be links to say apartate in south africa or slavery in the U.S.A. and other things like that i just listed a couple because i see it has there sections about the U.K. and sri lanka which i think is irrelevant because those are two random countries Charlieh7337 (talk) 03:48, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Sri Lanka section[edit]

I've tagged this with a 'Totally disputed' flag and the entire first paragraph with attribution necessary tags. Frankly, it's an obvious nationalist POV rant and, arguably, comes close to being racist itself. If these sorts of claims are being made they need to be properly sourced.--Major Bonkers (talk) 09:20, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

I have a problem with: "The most prominent recent convert to this ‘Tamil grievance’ position has been the United States, which in a promising step forward, acknowledged the legitimate political aspirations of the Tamil people."
"...a promising step forward"? Not exactly objective.--Monsterboy (talk) 12:27, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

Section on Singapore[edit]

A section on institutionalized racism in Singapore would be a worthy addition to this article. (talk) 22:49, 24 August 2008 (UTC)


I removed this paragraph on institutional classism, because it has nothing whatsoever to do with institutional racism.

  1. In 1935, the U.S. Congress passed the Social Security Act, guaranteeing an income for millions of workers after their retirements, however, the Act specifically excluded domestic and agricultural workers — many of whom were Mexican-American, African-American, and Asian-American. These workers, therefore, were not guaranteed an income after retirement, thus had less opportunity to save, accumulate, and pass wealth to their future generations.

Any qualms about this? -Aeonoris (talk) 04:42, 28 January 2010 (UTC)

Classism and racism are EXTREMELY closely tied, especially in America. Often, racism was used as a means to divide-and-conquer poor farmers (black and white) who were upset with the government or local landowners who had exploited them. I think the section you quoted is a prime example of institutional racism, where a law is put into place that affects a certain class so that, in effect, it will affect a certain race. This is exactly why poll taxes were instated, because they disproportionately affected blacks but was not overtly racist in writing. (talk) 04:09, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
While it may be said that it had an effect on a higher percentage of certain races, this in itself is not racism. For example, if there were cutbacks in higher education (which would disproportionally effect Caucasian and Asian populations), said cutback would not be an example of racism. Talk about classism (even though it is sometimes related to racism) belongs in the classism article. The simple fact that races are not evenly distributed across class does not make class discrimination equal to racial discrimination. -Aeonoris (talk) 21:06, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

This needs to be rewritten[edit]

It completely sucks —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:09, 15 September 2010 (UTC)

Carts and Horses - what ARE we talking about?![edit]

This article is predicated upon a concept, "racism", which is not defined anywhere within it. At the same time the article seems to be founded upon the common but unstated predicate that: "Racism is Bad". We don't want to be "Bad" therefore we don't want to be "Racist". We react something like this: "Tell me what racism is so I can prove to you that I'm not a racist because I am good". In my opinion Racism is a Western cultural concept that forms part of a political ideology.

In my dictionary there are two entries for Racism:

  1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.
  2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.

These seem to me to contain three "definitions", (there are probably others)which are, crudely summarized:

  • a belief that race accounts for differences in "human character"
  • a belief of racial superiority
  • a belief in prejudiced discrimination

There are issues here that need to be addressed:

  • What are we talking about when we say "human character"?
  • What do we mean by "superiority" - superior on what scale?
  • Is there a realistic alternative to prejudiced/pre-judged) discrimination - can we make each decision starting from first principles every time?

It is not possible to say that either: "race accounts for xxx " or that "race does NOT account for xxx ". For example, certain diseases, such as sickle cell anaemia or sarcoidosis are predominantly "black diseases" but they are not exclusively black diseases (as far as I know). So, even at the "simple" physical/biological/genetic level, things are not (sic) black and white. It is not either/or for any complex system especially a living one.

It is not necessary to resolve the central issue of "What is race?", for this article to be rewritten in an encyclopaedic manner, only that it acknowledge the issues, and identifies clearly how it uses the terms and where. At the moment it assumes all of its predicates while mixing and changing between different meanings and inferences throughout.

In my opinion "the problem" of racism, or any -ism, is the impact of prejudiced discrimination in a society where difference is not valued as highly as success and where success is measured in terms of quantity not quality. This is detrimental to the individual, to diversity and ultimately I believe to society itself. There seems to me to be an natural creative tension between inclusion and exclusion that is necessary for development, but which is being corrupted by socio-economic forces.

Racism seems to me to be a social construct, an ideological/subjective interpretations, and which is based upon subordinate concepts of race, nation, culture and country.

Prejudiced discrimination seems to me to be the output of learning. The issue with it is only its degree of fixity at any time. We need to find ways to determine when and to what degree to adhere to what we believe we have learned or experienced previously in determining how we act or behave in the present.

LookingGlass (talk) 12:48, 27 February 2011 (UTC)

Might I suggest that you have missed the point? The issue that the term was originally coined to describe was one where an organisation exhibited a particularly unpleasant feature; that although not all the members of the organisation were to be condemned as participating in exhibiting that feature, those that did were in positions of sufficient power to ensure that overall the organisation did. Further, the implication was that these persons were of sufficient authority to ensure that the repellant feature was self perpetuating and resistant to all attempts by men of good will to change it.

For example: I might argue (I don't) that the Metropolitan Police of the City of London are institutionally corrupt. You should not assume I direct that allegation at any particular officer, many of whom (in this example) may be working with superhuman effort to rid the force of corruption. In contrast I would argue that the mafia is not merely institutionally corrupt but that corruption defines the orgaisation and every member of the organisation participates in that corruption.

Thus to say "the Met is rascist" is a nonsense. To say the Met is institutionally rascist has much more meaning and demands an investigation of who it is that causes the problem, how they are able to exert the power, how they have resisted efforts to clean up the force, and what actions are to flow from this understanding. That being so I don't need to know too much about rascism, just to know that I don't like it when I do see it, in whatever guise, and want our police free of it.

IMV one must be careful, not to tear the word racism from it's adjective "institutional" and then head off down whetever road that word alone might lead you. Drg40 (talk) 12:40, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

Focus here seems too narrow. I came upon this article in my search for info re racism/segregation, sexism, heterosexism, etc. in institutions. I've been reading about Freemasonry which seems to be but one example. Others in US society include (based on my observations) most houses of worship, fraternal organizations, virtually all cemeteries, etc., etc. Please forgive me if this is not on point; I'm new to this talk stuff.-- (talk) 20:13, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

removed uncited section[edit]

I removed the following section:

The under-representation of Latino and Asian American males in mass media such as TV and movies has also been charged as institutional racism.[who?] Although Hispanics make up over 15% of the American population and Asian Americans make up 5%, they individually make up less than 3% of all characters in prime time.[1] Racism against Hispanic males and Asian American males is even more accentuated by the fact that there are very few instances of Hispanic male/White female or Asian male/White female pairings, while the opposite White Male/Female Hispanic or Asian is almost universal.[original research?]

Because it's been uncited for over a year. If anyone wants to cite and reinstate, go ahead, but it seems rather preachy and not factual. -- (talk) 07:10, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

More examples of institutional racism[edit]

The article lists instances of institutional racism in certain regions of the world, but the list is nowhere near complete. To add on to this list, my proposition is to add a section regarding institutional racism in South Africa. For example, one of my proposed changes is: "In South Africa institutional racism has been a powerful means of excluding from resources and power any person not categorized or marked as white." The article I got this from then goes on to give examples. I have a reliable scholarly source for this statement (from academic search premier), and I also have a few more statements to add. Overall, adding a section regarding South Africa should inspire others to list more instances of institutional racism, thus giving the article more insight. — Preceding unsigned comment added by NJIT HUMNV (talkcontribs) 15:41, 2 May 2012 (UTC)


BulbBAn RfC: Which descriptor, if any, can be added in front of Southern Poverty Law Center when referenced in other articles? has been posted at the Southern Poverty Law Center talk page. Your participation is welcomed. – MrX 16:47, 22 September 2012 (UTC)

Peer review & responses during the educational assignment Winter 2014[edit]


Your content was very good. We found a few grammatical/spelling errors ("Departments that focus on creating courses that educate on American culture and race need to stop being seeing as optional", "institutions of higher education that have traditionally of catered to a specific population", etc.). Under the heading "Institutional racism in higher education:" there is a missing citation at the end of quotations, first paragraph. I (Reyna) recommend not ending the first paragraph with a direct quotation but rather add a sentence or two with own words to end it. Another recommendation would be to add an introductory phrase to direct quotations.

I (Shanti) found a place missing a citation in the first sentence, third paragraph under institutional racism faced by students. It's a great bit of data and readers will wonder where it came from. Overall, reading your article was informative and interesting; readers will gain a good introductory understanding regarding racism in the institutional setting, especially regarding faculty.


We had no concerns regarding the figure used in your article. The figure represented what you discussed in your article regarding racial breakdown of faculty in higher education. It appears to be added appropriately. Good job!


Your references also appear to be appropriate. Although the majority come from journals, you included a New York Times article as well as information from the American Education Research Association. Your research appears to be varied and appropriate for the article. Again, good job! Baileyshanti (talk) 15:37, 12 March 2014 (UTC)baileyshanti


Yessi did a rewrite of the section on institutional racism faced by students. We added a couple more statements with references for clarification as well as adding citations where they were missing. We also reformatted our citations so that they mirrored other citations for this page (that is, the format is now APA style for each citation, not just in-text citations with author name, date/page number.

Where's Australia in all this?[edit]

Sadly the Australian history is not a happy reflection on multiculturalism. As far back as the 1880's we had racially motivated immigration policies that disadvantaged Asian (specifically Chinese) applicants. The White Australia Policy was notorious as a manifesto of government-sanctioned racism. so... where's our section? Alas not my forté but it would be good to see at least some mention. M. (talk) 07:54, 25 November 2014 (UTC)

2012 Tag why is it there (notice)[edit]

Before I remove it, I am asking for help to locate the discussion to see if the issue is still pending. I do not see any major problem with the article that it needs the help of an expert.--Inayity (talk) 07:35, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

  1. ^ Prime Time Television's Black and White World