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Racism

  • By: J. Nicole Shelton & Jennifer A. Richeson
  • In: Encyclopedia of Social Psychology
  • Edited by: Roy F. Baumeister & Kathleen D. Vohs
  • Subject:Social Psychology (general)
Definition

Racism is the systematic implementation of a doctrine of racial supremacy that maintains the superiority of one race over another.

Background, Components, and Modern Usage

Racial supremacy is the hallmark of racism, but it is also often characterized by a belief that racial groups are genetically isolated, biologically based entities that exist in nature. Racists believe that the biology of their group has afforded them greater intellect and moral fiber than the biology of other groups, and, therefore, they must control the behaviors of members of lesser groups to maintain the purity (and supremacy) of their own group.

Racism builds upon prejudice and discrimination, phenomena that have been studied in social psychology for more than 100 years. Prejudice is the affect or emotion, usually negative, an individual feels ...

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