The term institutional racism is often used in the context of racism against people of color, as well as people of Asian and African descent.
In a recent study, researchers from the Max Planck Institute in Berlin found that the use of the term has increased from roughly 2 percent of white respondents in 2010 to nearly 11 percent of respondents in 2017.
In addition to using the term to describe how people of different racial groups perceive and interact with one another, the researchers also examined whether racism can be conceptualized in terms of different institutional factors.
These included racism at work, racism at home, and racism at the state level.
In their paper, published in the journal Psychological Science, the authors defined institutional racism as a system of discrimination based on the presence of other people of a racial group in an institution, such as schools, churches, and government agencies.
These institutions include schools, universities, and workplaces, which are predominantly white.
They found that institutional racism was most common in the United States and Europe, as compared to other developed countries.
“Racism is a pervasive problem that has a long history,” said the study’s lead author, Andreas Fuchs, a PhD candidate at the Max Institute for Mathematical and Biological Physics.
“It is the reason why it is not uncommon for people of African and Asian descent to be discriminated against, as in the case of Asian women in the U.S., and to face discrimination at work and in the home.”
According to the researchers, a key insight of the study was that people of non-white racial backgrounds are more likely to experience discrimination at home and at work than people of white racial backgrounds.
For example, people of Hispanic and Asian ethnic backgrounds were less likely than people from other races to experience a household income inequality (HIE) when compared to whites.
In the study, the data also revealed that institutional biases that affect people of racial minorities were related to factors such as race, age, gender, and education.
The study also found that people with different racial backgrounds had significantly different perceptions of the extent to which institutional racism existed in their communities.
For instance, those who lived in cities were more likely than those in rural areas to perceive institutional racism at their workplace.
“Our results highlight that institutional racist practices are a very common phenomenon in the global south, which has a lot to do with the lack of structural racial and ethnic minorities in the workforce,” said Fuchs.
The findings also highlighted the importance of developing and implementing strategies to combat racism at both the workplace and at home.
“We can’t avoid acknowledging the fact that racism is an important part of our lives,” said Michael S. Cuddy, the study team’s senior author and an associate professor at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
“But we also need to work on how to make sure we do it in a way that does not harm people of all racial and gender backgrounds.”
The study was conducted in collaboration with the Max-Institut für die politische Untersuchungen der deutschen Politik in Berlin, the German Institute for Economic Research, the Institut fünfischen Wissenschaft für Unterschiedungen zur Gesellschaft des Politischen Gesellschreibungs (IWPG) in Munich, and the European Institute for Social Research.
It was funded by the Max Foundation.
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