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Word Count: 233
Racist and racism are provocative words in American society To some these words have reached the level of curse words in their offensiveness Yet racist and racism are descriptive words of a reality that cannot be denied African Americans Hispanic Americans Native Americans and Asian Americans people-of-color live daily with the effects of both institutional and individual racism Race issues are so fundamental in American society that they seem almost an integral component Some Americans believe that race is the primary determinant of human abilities and capacities Some Americans behave as if racial differences produce inherent superiority in European Americans whites In fact such individuals respond to people-of-color and whites differently merely because of race or ethnicity As a consequence people of color are injured by judgments or actions that are directly or indirectly racist Much of the attention of the last 20 years has focused on individual racist behavior However just as individuals can act in racist ways so can institutions Institutions can behave in ways that are overtly racist ie specifically excluding people-of-color from services or inherently racist ie adopting policies that while not specifically directed at excluding people-of-color nevertheless result in their exclusion Therefore institutions can respond to people-of-color and whites differently Institutional behavior can injure people-of-color and when it does it is nonetheless racist in outcome if not in intent
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