racism /ˈreɪsɪzəm/, racialism /ˈreɪʃəˌlɪzəm/
- the belief that races have distinctive cultural characteristics determined by hereditary factors and that this endows some races with an intrinsic superiority over others
- abusive or aggressive behaviour towards members of another race on the basis of such a belief
— racism (racial discrimination, prejudice / φυλετικές διακρίσεις): ρατσισμός
— racism (hatred of another race / μίσος για άλλη φυλή): ρατσισμός
Racism is usually defined as views, practices and actions reflecting the belief that humanity is divided into distinct biological groups called races and that members of a certain race share certain attributes which make that group as a whole less desirable, more desirable, inferior or superior.
Racism involves the belief in racial differences, which acts as a justification for non-equal treatment (which some regard as “discrimination”) of members of that race. The term is commonly used negatively and is usually associated with race-based prejudice, violence, dislike, discrimination, or oppression, the term can also have varying and contested definitions. Racialism is a related term, sometimes intended to avoid these negative meanings.
As a word, racism is an “-ism”, a belief that can be described by a word ending in the suffix -ism, pertaining to race. As its etymology would suggest, its usage is relatively recent and as such its definition is not entirely settled. The Oxford English Dictionary defines racism as the “belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races” and the expression of such prejudice, while the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines it as a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority or inferiority of a particular racial group, and alternatively that it is also the prejudice based on such a belief. The Macquarie Dictionary defines racism as: “the belief that human races have distinctive characteristics which determine their respective cultures, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule or dominate others.”
Racism rests on two basic assumptions: that a correlation exists between physical characteristics and moral qualities; that mankind is divisible into superior and inferior stocks. [Dante A. Puzzo]