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a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others.
a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.
hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.
Contemporary Examples

Bigotry and racism exist, of course—and they are evils that all well-intentioned people must oppose.
What Obama Got Wrong About the Mosque Sam Harris August 12, 2010

The European Union Monitoring Center on racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) produced a working definition in 2005.
UK Jew’s Harassment Claim Fails Paul Usiskin March 31, 2013

The charge of racism without a shred of proof, much less irrefutable evidence, is doing terrible damage to our cultural fabric.
Democrats Have Maxed Out the Race Card Ron Christie December 16, 2013

Yet the idea that racial preferences must continue until there is no racism in America is more fragile than typically supposed.
The Supreme Court Steps Back From Tokenism Under a New Name John McWhorter June 23, 2013

Carter cited his Southern roots as a credential for recognizing—and talking about—racism.
The Week in Insults The Daily Beast Video September 17, 2009

Historical Examples

To achieve it they would have to fight the racism common in many segments of American society as well as bureaucratic inertia.
Integration of the Armed Forces, 1940-1965 Morris J. MacGregor, Jr.

The Double V campaign against fascism abroad and racism at home achieved considerably less than the activists had hoped.
Integration of the Armed Forces, 1940-1965 Morris J. MacGregor, Jr.

These men were probably blind to the racism implicit in their policies, a racism nurtured by military tradition.
Integration of the Armed Forces, 1940-1965 Morris J. MacGregor, Jr.

Turning its back on the overt racism of some southern communities, the Army unwittingly exposed an example of racism in the west.
Integration of the Armed Forces, 1940-1965 Morris J. MacGregor, Jr.

The rejection of black units could not always be ascribed to racism alone.
Integration of the Armed Forces, 1940-1965 Morris J. MacGregor, Jr.

the belief that races have distinctive cultural characteristics determined by hereditary factors and that this endows some races with an intrinsic superiority over others
abusive or aggressive behaviour towards members of another race on the basis of such a belief

1936; see racist.

The belief that some races are inherently superior (physically, intellectually, or culturally) to others and therefore have a right to dominate them. In the United States, racism, particularly by whites against blacks, has created profound racial tension and conflict in virtually all aspects of American society. Until the breakthroughs achieved by the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s, white domination over blacks was institutionalized and supported in all branches and levels of government, by denying blacks their civil rights and opportunities to participate in political, economic, and social communities.


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