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Everyone is Racist (An old class work on Racism)

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Everyone is Racist

“There is a strange kind of enigma associated with the problem of racism. No one, or almost no one, wishes to see themselves as racist; still, racism persists, real and tenacious” (Memmi, 2000).

There is a common misconception that racism is all between people with white and black skin. The word racist refers to a person, having or showing the belief that a particular race is superior to another. In a broader sense, judging individuals merely for their biological appearance or socioeconomic inheritance is also a form of racism. And this makes every one of us racist to some extent since we all have the tendency of judging a book by its cover as a universal human nature regardless of nation or culture. The form of it may vary from country to community, it may not always even be considered racist in some societies, but racism somehow possesses our daily activity, friendly gossips, or harmless comments and we are being racist without even having any intention of being one. Therefore, we are sustaining the heinous racism because of our ethnic stereotypes and discrimination, religious misconceptions, and institutional circumstances and thus being racist.

The most common and visible form of racism is through ethnic stereotypes (structural racism). More accurately, it means treating an individual based on his/her skin color or physical inheritance. According to Wellman (1993, as cited in Tatum, 2007), it is a system of advantage based on race which pretty much means that prioritizing or neglecting people due to their ethnic identity (physical outlook) is a manner of being racist. In our social life, we often see people get extra attention due to their physical tidiness while some are being ignored or insulted in many forms for incompetence in physical appearance. Many people think that since they are not white, therefore they do not possess any chance of being racist. But that is not at all true. Tatum (2007) said that people of any color can and do perform race biased activity which puts everyone in the suspect list. A common example or practice can prove that point. Whenever we go for choosing a bride in our country (and in many countries), in almost every case fair skin tone gets the utmost priority, and even the definition of beauty is also biased in this account. No matter, how much we talk against racism, when it comes to our personal choices we would always go for the fairest person if other terms apart, which is a direct indication of racial notion. Again, calling someone ‘Kala’ (means black) for darker skin tone, ‘Chakma/ Chinese’ for having small eyes and snub nose or short height is very common in our country which proves how ignorantly we are being racist all the time. However, the opposite also exists. It would not take an expert to confirm that the minor tribal people in Bangladesh usually use ‘Bangal’ to refer to the majority which is proof of ‘reverse racism’ (as cited in Nittle, n.d.). Therefore, regardless of our own racial identity, we are being racist to each other.

Racism is also spanning under the shield of religious misconception and even as a form of secular religion. In the Middle East, the non-Arab Muslims are called ‘Mawali’ (Mawali, 2014) and often treated as inferior Muslims when in Islam any sort of classification among believers is strictly prohibited. Again, among the Sanatan believers (also known as Hindus) there are several casts and people born on lower casts not allowed to become socialized or to get married with higher casted ones. Though the situation is changing and greatly improved, yet, it is not always welcomed by the community even now. Meanwhile, in western countries, due to ‘Islamophobia’ (as cited in Ihsanglu, 2010), people from Muslim countries are often treated as if they are all terrorists which is a direct expression of hatred against Arab and Asian people in most of the cases. However, it might be a shock to know that there is a secular religious group that claims that, it is their religious right not to co-operate with people from another race. “It is one of the most powerful religions in today’s world”, says Kornating-Pipim (2001). So, it is clear that racism is being provoked by the help of religious misconceptions and also as a form of religion.

Amongst all the types, the most dangerous form of racism is ‘institutional racism’. As Silva (2007) says,

“Institutional racism is the manifestation of racism in social systems and institutions. It is the social, economic, educational, and political forces or policies that operate to foster discriminatory outcomes.”

According to Barker (2003), policies practices or procedure in a bureaucratic structure which systematically lead to inequality for groups is institutional racism (as cited in Silva, 2007). In our country, the ‘Biharis’ are one of the worst victims of institutional racism where they are hated by society and ignored by the government. Again, if we see in our domestic life, the working-class people are neglected by their work lords. It is a common scene that the housemaid is sitting under the seat while riding a rickshaw with the master. Even in the educational institutions, students from tribal communities are often bullied for their differences and called by their tribe’s name as a form of mockery. In the media of the ‘beauty first’ principle, the concept of beauty is highly skin color biased. Moreover, in the form of entertainment and humor, media is often promoting racial stereotypes (Dixon, n.d.). Thus, through the outmoded practices of our institutions, we are promoting racism.

People may claim that only white people are racist and therefore, like Tal (2010), some say reverse racism is not possible. However, I believe that reverse racism does exist. In fact, according to Nittle (n.d.), dominating races are also being the victims of racism. As a result, racism occurs regardless of color which terminates the idea of one-sided racism and proves the persistence of color-blind racism (as cited in Silva, 2007). For instance, in South Africa, racial intolerance is at its peak. White men are often hijacked, women are often kidnaped and raped by the natives due to racial hatred for their previous oppression. Here, the whites are now the victim of racism. Thus, it is clear that though racism is about color, a racist may not have any particular color, anyone can be a racist.

In conclusion, it is vivid that racism predominates everywhere through ethnic, religious, or institutional means. It is sustaining because of the ignorance of people and for the lack of proper understanding. And for that, mass awareness is highly necessary. Government and policymakers should also step forward to ensure racial equality of every form. Most importantly, the educational curriculum must confirm that students are getting proper notions about racism so that no more color-blind educated racist can be born. Therefore, I am concluding quoting Parks (n.d.),

“Racism is still with us but it is up to us to prepare our children for what they have to meet, and, hopefully, we shall overcome.”



  • Dixon, T. L. (n.d.). A social cognitive approach to studying racial stereotyping in the mass media. African American Research Perspectives, 6(1), 60-68.
  • Ihsanoglu, E. (2010). Islamophobia and terrorism. Arches Quarterly, 4(7), 11.
  • Koranteg-Pipim, S. (2001). Racism as a religion. Must We Be Silent? Berean Books.
  • Mawali. (2014, November 20). Retrieved December 4, 2014, from Wikipedia:
  • Memmi, A. (2000). Racism. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Nittle, N. K. (n.d.). Does reverse racism exist? Retrieved December 3, 2014, from
  • Parks, R. (n.d.). Retrieved December 4, 2014, from
  • Silva, E. C. (2007). Institutional racism & the social work profession: a call to action. Washington, DC: National Association of Social Workers.
  • Silva, E. C. (2007). Racism without racists: color-blind racism and the persistence of racial inequality in America. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
  • Tal, k. (2010). Why there’s no such thing as “Reverse Racism”. Retrieved December 3, 2014, from
  • Tatum, B. D. (2007). Can we talk about race?: and other conversations in an era of school resegregation. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.


Disclaimer: This was originally compiled during my freshman year as part of an English course’s term paper dated December 2014. I’m not a social science major and this was my first (and only) formal work in this field. This essentially a STEM student’s forced attempt in sociology.
I have retracted some portion of the writing as now I feel that part was generalizing too much and can potentially be incorrect and misinterpreting.

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