Racism vs Discrimination

2 minute read


I came across an interesting article titled Racism vs. Discrimination: Why The Distinction Matters.

Here’s an immensely brief summary of the principal part (I think).

Starts with the definition.


Racism is the belief that personality, behavior, competence, or anything that relates to the quality of humanity aspects can be valued based solely on race.

Thinking that white candidates are more qualified than black candidates (with similar experiences) is racist. Thinking that Asian people are way better in Math is racist.

It somewhat shows that we, humans, have contentions about how people would behave based on their race. This contentions make us perform such racist acts subconsciously.


The simplest explanation would be the following. If racism is a belief and only works in our mind, discrimination is the act upon the belief.

When we assume that white candidates are more trustworthy, we are being racist. When we don’t just believe it and deliberately set the hiring process so that the white candidates dominate the organisation, we are being discriminative.

The root of the problem?

It’s started as humans are biased. We enjoy talking to more attractive people than less attractive ones. We are more serious when taking advices or knowledges from those who have higher degree. We think that those who don’t work hard is lazy. We presume that women are nicer than men. It’s all bias.

The effects?

In essence, when someone proclaims a racist thought, he/she is substantiating an existing system of suppression that judges other people’s quality based solely on race.

This causes traumatic experiences. If you had been beaten or harassed as a child, how would you feel about others making jokes about your pain, or making off-handed remarks that remind you of the worst day in your life? If you asked them not to mention the event again, how would you feel when they told you to “lighten up” or “stop being so sensitive”?

On the other side, would you make a joke about cancer to someone who’s struggling with lymphoma?

When we express racist thoughts (even subconsciously) to a person and that person tells us that we have put pains in them, what should we do? Telling that it wasn’t racist is not the solution.

Think of it like this. If you accidentally kick someone and they say, “you kicked me,” would you say “no I didn’t?”. Most likely, even if you didn’t realize that you did it, you would apologize.

Apologize is the best way to deal with accusations of racism. Apologize that you have judges their humanity aspects solely based on their race. Apologize that, as a human, you are biased. Then, ask yourself what you have said that caused them to react like so.