What is scientific racism? What is institutional racism? Are there any discernable differences between the two, or can they be used interchangeably?
closed as off topic by coleopterist, FumbleFingers, choster, tchrist♦, Robusto Mar 5 '13 at 13:10
Questions on English Language & Usage Stack Exchange are expected to relate to English language and usage within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.
Let's start by defining racism for completeness sake. Racism is a belief that humans can be divided into distinct groups, called races, and that one or more group is either superior or inferior to (an)other group(s).
Institutional racism is pretty much what it sounds like. That's simply racism as perpetrated by an institution such as a school, government body, or business. If an organization demonstrates racism (as opposed to an individual demonstrating racism), then it can be classified as institutional racism. It is also known as structural racism, state racism, and systemic racism.
Scientific racism can be practiced by an individual or an institution. It is racism that is supported or justified by scientific or pseudoscientific practices, theories, or hypotheses.
There is also economic racism, which is a social or economic disparity between perceived races that is due to past racism and historical reasons. Economic racism is unique in that it may be caused by persons long deceased; if a difficult to overturn law sets wages for different races, or encourages different races to live in segregated sections of a community, that's economic racism, even if everybody around is trying to overturn the law.
To illustrate, you are a purple person looking for a job.
- If an employee denies you the job, telling you he personally doesn't want to work with a purple person, that's regular racism, no extra label needed.
- If that employee tells you that the board of directors refuses to hire purple people, that's institutional racism.
- If the employee cites a study claiming purple people tend to smell bad and scare away customers as the reason for refusing you the job, that's scientific racism.
- If the employee gives you the job but tells you that purple people make $1/hour less than other people, that's economic racism.