Racial discrimination or racism occurs when one person treats another person unfavorably because of their race or characteristics associated with their race. Oftentimes, these characteristics are stereotypes that generalize a population. Racism oftentimes stems from misinformation and believing these stereotypes. Many people also instill racist values in their children because that is what their parents taught them.

Luckily, racism is not an accepted viewpoint in our society. Overt racists can be punished for their actions, especially if it prevents people from succeeding in work, education, or improving their lives. Here, I will discuss some forms of racism and how you can protect yourself from them.

Individual vs. Institutional Racism

There are two types major types of racism that you should consider if you fear persecution. The first is individual racism. This occurs on an individual level, and it means that one person is attacking you in a racist way. This person might your neighbor, one person who works at the same company as you do, or an employee at a store that you frequent. This type of racism is painful, but it exists on a small level. If you experience this type of racism, you can sue that person individually.

The other major type of racism is institutional racism, also known as systemic racism. This type of racism results from a whole company, institution, or system that is set up in a racist way. The system itself perpetuates racism and makes it difficult for minorities to get the same opportunities as those who are white.

Many believe that our justice system has racist tendencies and provides more resources to people who are white. You might experience discrimination from police officers, prosecutors, judges, juries, etc. You will also experience racism from the system itself. Consider that in 2010, 450 out of every 100,000 white men were incarcerated, while that number was nearly double for black men (831 out of every 100,000). The number was even higher for hispanic men, at 2,306 out of every 100,000 men. It is clear that minorities are incarcerated more frequently than white people. This is a result of the systemic issues that attempt to trap minorities in a life of crime and prosecute them for these crimes.

Protection From Racism

One of the best ways to protect yourself from racial discrimination is by contacting a civil rights lawyer. Such a lawyer can review the facts of what has happened to you and help you navigate the law to get justice.

There are many actions that are illegal and that you can get compensation for. If you are the victim of racial discrimination, you can sue individuals and institutions for racist behavior.

But, it is important to remember that just because you are a minority does not mean that you are always the victim of racist discrimination. For example, let’s suppose that you interview for a job as an engineer, but you don’t get it. There are many reasons why you might not get the job that have nothing to do with race. For example, you might not be qualified for the job. If this is the case, the decision not to hire you is not based on your race, and you won’t have a case against that company.

You should go over the specifics of your situation with an attorney. In doing this, you will be able to determine the strength of your case.