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Racism in America - Past and Present

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Racism is the mistreatment of a group of people on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, place of origin, or ancestry. The term racism may also denote a blind and unreasoning hatred, envy, or prejudice (Dimensions of Racism). Racism has had a strong effect on society. Despite the many efforts made to alleviate racism, what is the future of African Americans' Racism's long history, important leaders, current status, and future outlook will be the main factors in determining how to combat racism. Racism is still present in many societies, although many people are doing their best to put an end to racism and its somewhat tragic ordeals.

Though racism is a controversial subject, many other subjects have received just as much controversy. One of these is discrimination. Discrimination is the denial of equality based on personal characteristics, such as race and color. Racial jokes and ethnic slurs are obvious examples of racial discrimination. These comments not only leave the victim feeling helpless and fearful, but they have a negative impact on worker productivity and economic performance (Dimensions of Racism).

Other examples of these controversial subjects are stereotyping and prejudice.

Stereotype means, "set image." Stereotyping refers to forming an instant or fixed picture of a group of people. Prejudice is very similar. It literally means to "prejudge." No law can prevent prejudiced attitudes. Law can, however, prohibit discriminatory practices and behaviors (Dimensions of Racism).

Racist and racism are provocative words in American society. To some, they become curse words. They are descriptive words of reality that cannot be denied. Some people believe that race is the primary determinant of human abilities and capacities and behave as if racial differences produce inherent superiorities. People of color are often injured by these judgements and actions whether they are directly or indirectly racist. Just as individuals can act in racist ways, so can institutions. Institutions can be overtly or inherently racist. Institutions can also injure people. The outcome is nonetheless racist, if not intentional (Randall).

Whenever people discuss race relations today and the effect of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, they remember the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was and continues to be one of the most i...

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