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Racialism can also be a synonym of racism.
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Racialism is an emphasis on race or racial considerations.[1]

Racialism refers to the belief in the existence and significance of racial categories, but not necessarily in a hierarchy between the races, or in any political or ideological position of racial supremacy. One racialist position is the controversial claim of a measurable correlation between race and intelligence. Some use the term racialism in contrast to the word racism; others used it as a synonym.[citation needed]



While the term racism often refers to individual attitudes and institutional discrimination, racialism usually implies the existence of a social or political movement that promotes a theory of racism. The word racialism was first recorded in 1907, in the sense of "belief in the superiority of a particular race". The term racism was first recorded in 1936, with the meaning: "The theory that distinctive human characteristics and abilities are determined by race".

Most dictionaries, such as the Oxford English Dictionary and the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary, continue to define racialism as an old-fashioned synonym of racism. However, since the 1960s, some authors have introduced a distinct meaning for racialism.

W.E.B. DuBois introduces racialism as having the same meaning as racism had prior to WWII, i.e. the philosophical belief that differences exist between human races, be they biological, social, psychological or in the realm of the soul. He uses racism to refer to the belief that one's particular race is superior to the others.[2] Molefi Kete Asante criticises DuBois for this definition of racialism in The Afrocentric Idea (1992):

...the view — which I shall call racialism — that there are heritable characteristics, possessed by members of our species, which allow us to divide them into a small set of races, in such a way that all the members of these races share certain traits and tendencies with each other that they do not share with members of any other race.

Pierre-André Taguieff (1987) has used the word racialism as a perfect synonym of scientific racism, to distinguish it from popular racism. He argues that racialism is racism that claims to be scientifically founded. Arthur Gobineau's An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races (1853-55) is an example of such racialism. Human zoos have been an important component of both popular racism and racialism. It popularized colonialism to the masses and was a subject of curiosity for anthropology and anthropometric studies, until at least the 1930s.

The field of whiteness studies examines the idea that race is a category that only applies to groups that are perceived to be different in some way. This area of scholarship scrutinizes the ways in which white people have become the standard against which all races are marked. White nationalist organisations such as the National Association for the Advancement of White People insist on these distinctions, and claim that they vehemently oppose state sponsored racism. They say their focus is on racial pride, identity politics, or racial segregation.

Racialism and scientific racism

Main articles: Craniofacial anthropometry, scientific racism, and Genetic views on race

Current racialist positions have moved away from 19th century classifications and rely on genetics instead, studying physiological differences between groups such as race and height, but also more complex, and therefore controversial, questions like race and intelligence or race and health.

In the mid-20th century, support classical scientific racism declined among anthropologists: scientific support for the Caucasoid, Negroid, Mongoloid terminology has fallen steadily over the past century. Whereas 78 percent of the articles in the 1931 volume of Journal of Physical Anthropology employed these or similar terms, only 36 percent did so in 1965 (see African-American Civil Rights Movement (1955-1968)), and just 28 percent did in 1996.[3] In February 2001, the editors of the medical journal Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine asked authors to no longer use "race" as explanatory variable, nor to use obsolescent terms. Other peer-reviewed journals, such as the New England Journal of Medicine and the American Journal of Public Health, have done the same.[4] The National Institutes of Health issued a program announcement for grant applications through February 1, 2006, specifically seeking researchers to investigate and publicize the detrimental effects of using racial classifications within the healthcare field. The program announcement quoted the editors of one journal as saying that "analysis by race and ethnicity has become an analytical knee-jerk reflex."[5]

Racialist vocabulary with inconsistent definitions is still used in medicine to a small extent, even when it has vanished from some census agencies and everyday speech.[6][7][8] Genetics has renewed racialist perspectives, combining with the racialist perspectives of craniofacial anthrometry.[9] Racialism in genetics is criticized as being subjective and otherwise inappropriate, although this tends to be a matter of bias.[10][11]

Racialism as pretext for separatism or supremacism

Alleged scientific findings of racial differences have been used to justify racial separatism, which, when advocated by a dominant group, usually results in de facto discrimination and racial supremacism. Nazi Germany had a racialist policy with its concept of "Großdeutschland" (Greater Germany), alongside its racial supremacist philosophy of anti-Semitism. Malaysia promoted racial supremacism with its policy of "Ketuanan Melayu" (Malay Supremacy), alongside its concept of Bumiputra (Sons of the Soil). In the United States in the 2000s, the term racialism has been appropriated by white separatist and white supremacist groups such as Christian Identity, Aryan Nations, the American Nazi Party and White Aryan Resistance.[12][13]

See also

  • Juridical racialism
  • Black power
  • Black pride
  • Racial hygiene
  • Tribalism
  • Multiculturalism
  • Scientific racism
  • Societalism
  • Xenophobia
  • Whiteness studies
  • White power
  • White pride
  • Nur für Deutsche

Further reading

  • Anderson, Gregory M. "Racial Identity, the Apartheid State, and the Limits of Political Mobilization and Democratic Reform in South Africa: The Case of the University of the Western." Identity 3, no. 1 (2003): 29–52. doi:10.1207/S1532706XID0301_03.
  • Appiah, Kwame Anthony. In My Father's House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture. 1993. ISBN 0-19-506852-1.
  • Arter, David. "Black Faces in the Blond Crowd: Populist Racialism in Scandinavia", Parliamentary Affairs 45, no. 3 (1992): 357–372.
  • Asante, Molefi Kete. The Afrocentric Idea. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1998. ISBN 1-56639-595-X.
  • Dobratz, Betty A. "White Power, White Pride!": The White Separatist Movement in the United States. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1997.
  • Kane, John. "Racialism and Democracy: The Legacy of White Australia." In The Politics of Identity in Australia, ed. Geoffrey Stokes, 117–131. Cambridge, UK: Cambrdige University Press, 1997. ISBN 052158356X.
  • Kennedy, Paul and Nicholls Anthony, eds. Nationalist and Racialist Movements in Britain and Germany before 1914. Saint Antony's College Press, 1981.
  • Lee, Woojin and Roemer, John. Electoral Consequences of Racialism for Redistribution in the United States: 1972–1992 (California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and social Sciences, 2002).
  • Melvern, Linda. Conspiracy to Murder: The Rwanda Genocide. London: Verso, 2004.
  • Ndebele, Nhlanhla. "The African National Congress and the Policy of Non-Racialism: A Study of the Membership Issues." Politikon: South African Journal of Political Studies 29, no. 2 (2002): 133–146.
  • Odocha, O. "Race and Racialism in Scientific Research and Publication in the Journal of the National Medical Association." Journal of the National Medical Association 92, no. 2 (2002): 96–98. PubMed.
  • Sanneh, Kelefa. "After the Beginning Again: The Afrocentric Ordeal." Transition 10, no. 3 (2001): 66–89.
  • Snyder, Louis L. The Idea of Racialism: Meaning and History. Princeton, NJ: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1962.
  • Taylor, Paul C. "Appiah's Uncompleted Argument: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Reality of Race." Social Theory and Practice 26, no. 1 (2000): 103–128.
  • Thompson, Walter Thomas. James Anthony Froude on Nation and Empire: A Study in Victorian Racialism. London: Taylor & Francis, 1998.
  • UNESCO General Conference. Declaration of Fundamental Principles concerning the Contribution of the Mass Media to Strengthening Peace and International Understanding, to the Promotion of Human Rights and to Countering Racialism, Apartheid and Incitement to War (University of Hawaii, 1978).
  • Reggie White's Speech before the Wisconsin State Assembly (click 778)
  • Zubaida, Sami, ed. Race and Racialism. London: Tavistock, 1970.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Racialism". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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