Notes on Institutionalized Racism (in the form of bias, prejudice and
– the course’s definition of institutionalized
racism is that it is the sum total of policies, laws, customs and traditions
that tend to favor one group over another.
In this particular course, we are
talking about institutionalized racism in terms of the major five racial and
ethnic groups, whose wages, salaries, customs, traditions and other
characteristics have been recorded regularly by the U.S. Census Bureau.
In other words, we are using public information and knowledge to assess
the degree of interrelationships among and between different racial and
ethnic groups in the U.S.
2. The major social institutions that we have been discussing include family,
education, the economy (including jobs and occupations), government
(policies which have decreased racism and/or encouraged it, intentionally
or not), the legal and judicial systems education, and sports and
3. Specifically, within the social institutions listed above, we have read,
watched videos, and heard lectures about how institutionalized racism
continues to affect the lives of U.S. residents. We have seen how housing
is very segregated, for example, which leads to segregated school
systems, which leads to segregated economic opportunities, which leads
to overall disparities between the well being of some groups as compared
Our laws have often enforced the segregation that has led to
the disparities we are still observing, though it is also through the legal
system that we are able to begin making changes (such as the Fair
Housing Act, Brown vs. Board of Education, and many others).
Specifically regarding families, anti-miscegenation laws were clearly
intended to prevent the “mixing” of races.
As those laws have been taken
off the books, the percentage of mixed racial/ethnic marriages has
continued to increase over the years, but the pressure of social norms (in
this case, the U.S. people’s support of endogamous marriages) is still
strong enough to ensure that huge numbers of interracial or interethnic
marriages do not take place in the U.S. currently. The current percentage
of interracial or interethnic marriages, as a percentage of all marriages
recorded, is about 3-5%, depending on how ethnic or racial groups are
It is the interconnections among our different social institutions, listed
above (education, economy, family, and so on), that I want you to be able
to use as information to explain the continuing disparities by race and
ethnicity that we have discussed and read about and watched on videos in
the class. As many of you have noted, we are so familiar with our social
norms, especially if we are the majority group, that we often don’t “see”