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Overt Racial Discrimination and Institutional Racial Discrimination Essay

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Prior to the 1960's, discrimination was viewed as a "creature of prejudice" (Feagin & Feagin, 1988). What this means is that the problem of discrimination was viewed as one motivated primarily by individuals (or groups of individuals) on the basis of prejudice or hatred. Implicit in this 'prejudice-causes-discrimination-model' (Feagin & Feagin, p. XX) was the assumption that the solution to discrimination was one of simply eliminating prejudice. Thus, the elimination of prejudicial behavior would lead to the eradication of discrimination. Since the 1960's, however, a more comprehensive conceptualization of discrimination has emerged.

According to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Cyrus, 1993), there are two forms of racial discrimination: 1) overt racial discrimination; and 2) institutional racial discrimination. Overt racial discrimination relies on the “use of color and other visible characteristics related to color as subordinating factors (Cyrus, p. 197). Institutionalized racism, a “more subtle and often invisible” form of racial discrimination “does not explicitly use c...


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