The types of racism that occur on the planet are an example of the extent to which there are attitudes based on discrimination that have taken root in many cultures.
In reality, racism can take many forms that, in some cases, go unnoticed and can be perceived as the natural order of things. Therefore, it is important to know the different types of racism and to know how to identify them on a daily basis. But first, let’s start with the basics.
What is racism?
Racism is a very abstract concept that refers to the act of discriminating against people according to their race or the tendency to frequently engage in this type of discrimination.
Thus, a racist person takes into account their prejudices about the characteristics that people have (hypothetically) because of the lineage of origin and defends the idea that individuals should have rights or others, depending on their race.
In turn, the concept of race is much discussed, because, although it is a scientific entity, it does not exist in the field of biology applied to our species , in the social and human sciences it is used. This means that while technically there are no human races, a large number of the population believe this and therefore can discriminate based on the racial collective premises to which people belong.
This is why, among other things, the boundaries between different races are so blurred; There is no clear way to indicate where one of these population groups begins and where another begins.
Main types of racism
The most common types of racism are as follows. However, it must be borne in mind that, in practice, many of them overlap.
1. Institutional racism
The adjective “racist” is also used to refer to laws or institutions that discriminate against people because of their roots . This is the case of institutional racism, incorporated in forms of organization and distribution of power that were fixed in rules, statutes, etc.
References to institutional racism combine well with philosophical currents related to post-colonial studies or the works of Michel Foucault, which speak of forms of oppression and domination that go beyond the purely psychological and are materially embodied in organizational structures and social laws.
2. Cultural racism
Cultural racism emphasizes the supposed cultural superiority of one ethnic group over another . It should be clarified that this type of racism is not meant to point out that there is a culture that is better than the others, but to establish a deterministic relationship between race and culture. For example, believing that civilizations formed mainly by blacks are incapable of creating good literature is an example of this.
However, it should be borne in mind that this concept is controversial, as it is often criticized for blurring the true meaning of racism, which necessarily refers to biological characteristics, or at least visible and easy to verify physical characteristics based on criteria. goals, such as skin color.
3. Biological racism
This is one of the types of racism that most emphasizes the influence of genetics on people’s psychological abilities and propensities . It is believed that the inheritance transmitted by genes determines a good part of who we are, and that this implies the irremediable superiority of certain races over others.
4. Reverse racism
It is a concept used to refer to racist attitudes directed against parts of the population that are not often the target of racist attacks , usually people perceived as white.
There is some controversy as to whether this phenomenon can actually be considered a type of racism, as it has nothing to do with a form of systemic oppression that goes beyond the individual attitudes of certain people. That is, while racism towards the non-white population is based on historical and material inequalities (domination of their native lands, greater military power, etc.), racism against whites is not related to a situation of structural discrimination.
However, if what interests us is to focus on a clear and concise meaning for the word racism, we may tend to accept that white people can also suffer racial discrimination.
5. Racism based on skin color
This kind of racism is based on appearance and is very superficial. Basically, it consists of an irrational contempt or hatred of people , because , simply, the appearance that their skin color gives them is different from what is considered “normal”. In practice, it overlaps with many other types of racism.
It is a form of racism that occurs within population groups that, in turn, tend to be discriminated against. It consists of belittling or excluding certain people who have very marked characteristics attributed to their race, that is, who approach the appearance of white people . They are populations of African origin, for example, the victims are individuals with darker skin, as opposed to other blacks with lighter tones. Its existence is proof that unequal power dynamics also exist within discriminated groups.
Xenophobia is a mixture of racism and nationalism , so there is discrimination on cultural grounds. That is, it is discriminated partly by biological origins and partly by the cultural heritage that someone who is perceived as a foreigner internalizes from childhood.
8. Stereotyping of racism
It consists of placing too much emphasis on the biological characteristics that are usually attributed to certain ethnic groups, creating many moments in which attention is paid to them. For example, pointing out that people who come from China have sallow skin is a clear example of forcing reality to fit into schemes of differentiation between people.
Compared to other types of racism, it seems relatively harmless as it is not based on hate, but it also has adverse effects because it destroys people and makes it difficult to see beyond these classification categories.