ERIC Number: ED163151
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978
Reference Count: 0
Racism: The Evolution of a Concept.
Coles, Ann S.
Many people have attempted to define exactly what racism is and what causes it. While there is no commonly accepted definition, there is agreement with regard to the facts that (1) no scientific evidence has been found to support the belief that race determines the history and culture of a people; (2) racism is a learned behavior; (3) definitions of racism which do not include a study of socioeconomic factors are confusing; and (4) racism is an instituional, problem. To understand racism in America, one must study the history of the development of racist thinking, beginning with slave codes passed in the 17th century through the 19th century, the notion of "race suicide" (genetic inferiority), the erosion of the Reconstruction Period rights given to blacks, up through the inequalities of the 1950s and 1960s. Even with all the recently enacted legislation and institutional policy changes, racism, overt and covert, is still a significant factor in American society. The question of whether racism is primarily overt or covert, individual or institutional, or specifically a white problem is debated frequently. It is certain, however, that because white people are dominant in the United States, white racism and institutional racism are one and the same, often denying non-whites a relevant education, a voice in political processes, the rights to economic determination, just treatment under the law, and decent health care. (Author/WI)
Descriptors: Black History, Civil Rights, Definitions, Federal Government, Institutional Role, Legislation, Racial Discrimination, Racism, Socioeconomic Influences
Community Change, Inc., P.O. Box 146, Reading, MA 01867
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Community Change, Inc., Reading, MA.
Note: Not available in hard copy due to reproduction quality of the original document