Racial Discrimination - Basic Concepts

Racial Discrimination – Basic Concepts


Racial discrimination occurs when a member of a racial group is subjected to different or unequal (“discrimination”) in different situations, depending on their race.

Where and when can occur the racial discrimination?

Racial discrimination can occur in many different contexts, but, in general, occurs more frequently in the following situations:

Employment. Accusations that a possible employer not hired, not ascended or unlawfully fired an employee based on race; and allegations of harassment of an employee by their race.

Education. Accusations that excluded a person from a program or educational opportunity based on race; and allegations of harassment of students by their race.

Housing. Accusations of no negotiation with a person who was looking for a home, accusations of imposition of the different terms of lease/contract (or “redlining” [discrimination]); and allegations that are not granted a loan depending on the sex of the applicant/tenant/buyer.

Access to buildings and businesses. Accusations that a company is not allowed the entry of a customer or not provided services in function of their race.

Loans/Credit. Allegations of denial of credit; allegations of imposition of terms inequity of loans; and accusations of inadequate consultation during the approval process of the credit/loan in function of the race of the plaintiff.

Vote. Allegations of denial of access to voting points, requirements of qualification/eligibility racially discriminatory for voters, and accusations of “dilution” of votes through practices of redemarcación district on the basis of race.

Improper conduct of the police. Accusations of racial profiling and violations of civil rights, such as the excessive use of force.

(Note: the accusations of racial discrimination also covers discrimination by nationality. If you want, we have more information on the discrimination by nationality in English.)

Laws that prohibit racial discrimination

Most laws guaranteeing and regulating civil rights (including in relation to racial discrimination) originate at the federal level, through federal legislation (such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964). Civil rights have also been defined and interpreted through the decisions of federal courts (such as those taken by the Supreme Court of the united States). States also enacted their own civil rights laws (in general, similar to those of the federal level), and even municipalities like cities and counties can enact ordinances and laws related to civil rights and racial discrimination.

Racial discrimination: How to Get the Help of an Attorney

If you believe you have been the victim of a violation of civil rights based on your race, the first step is to talk with a lawyer who specializes in civil rights. Important decisions related to your case can be complicated: you must know what laws apply in your situation, who may be at fault for the damages you suffered, and how to prove that those responsible acted with intent to discriminate based on race. A civil rights attorney will evaluate all aspects of your case and explain the options you have at your disposal to ensure the best possible outcome.

Watch True Colors – Racial Discrimination in Everyday Life Part 1

Documentary on the “nature of today’s prejudices.” Follows two men (equal in all measurable aspects, except skin color) as they particpate in a variety of “everyday” life interactions and situations to test levels of prejudice based on skin colors. Shows how two young men in St. Louis, one white, one black, but otherwise similar in background, appearance, etc., are treated differently in various situations as they go about shopping, applying for work, and looking for rental housing.

In the 1960s, black Americans were promised that this country would not judge people by the color of the their skin. Three decades later, this video investigates situations in which blacks and whites continue to be treated differently.

Watch True Colors – Racial Discrimination in Everyday Life Part 2

Video raises the question of the relation between discrimination in everyday social exchanges and what sociology calls “structural racism,” the systematic exclusion of people of color from full access to social resources. Where does this program root the problem? In the individual bias of a few people? Or are individuals expressions of a society based on white privilege? Does everyone who identifies as white have a stake in upholding the racial hierarchy with its tendency for white preferential treatment? On the other hand, what responsibility do European Americans have for eliminating or helping to eliminate racial preference? How would some of the problems indicated in the film be addressed or remedied?

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