“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 intimidation. This specific type of racism is easily observed in the process of its commission and can be quantified. The second type of racism, institutional racism, is covert and much harder to identify. It is much harder to unearth the specific individual responsible for acts, and in some cases it is not a single individual but a group, or a system. Institutional racism is by no means less destructive and harmful to life than the first - it is just much harder to isolate cause and causer. Institutional racism does not receive the same condemning judgement as individual racism because it is often executed by established and respected forces in society, such as the police. An example of individual racism would be a white terrorist (the individual) planting a bomb in a black church which results in the death of five black children. The majority of the world would consider this depraved and condemn the actor which carried it out. However, when in the same city, Birmingham, Alabama, 500 black babies die needlessly each year due to a tragic lack of health and medical facilities, shelter and food, and thousands more are deprived physically, emotionally and intellectually because of a fundamental flaw in the system that causes...
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