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  • Akisam Mukisa

Racism And Discrimination In The Context Of Africans And Afro-Americans

Difference Between Racism And Discrimination


Racism and discrimination are related concepts but have slightly different meanings.

Racism refers to the belief that some races are superior or inferior to others, and the resulting prejudice, discrimination, or mistreatment towards people based on their race or ethnicity. Racism can be manifested in various ways, including hate speech, hate crimes, institutional racism, and systemic discrimination.

Discrimination, on the other hand, refers to any unjust or prejudicial treatment of people based on their personal characteristics, such as their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, or disability. Discrimination can take many forms, including exclusion, marginalization, stereotyping, or unequal treatment.



While racism is a form of discrimination, not all discrimination is necessarily racist. Discrimination can occur based on any personal characteristic, whereas racism specifically relates to race or ethnicity.


It is important to note that both racism and discrimination are harmful and can have severe consequences for individuals and society as a whole. It is crucial to work towards eliminating both in all their forms.


Race And Racism

Race is a term used to describe groups of people who share physical, cultural, or geographical characteristics. While race may be a valid descriptor of some differences among people, it is important to recognize that race is a social construct that has been used historically to justify discrimination, prejudice, and inequality.

Racism is the belief that certain races are inherently superior or inferior to others, and the practice of treating people differently based on their race. Racism can be manifested in individual attitudes and behaviors, as well as in institutional policies and practices that disadvantage certain racial groups.



Racism can have a profound impact on individuals, communities, and society as a whole. It can lead to discrimination, marginalization, and social and economic inequality. It can also contribute to the perpetuation of stereotypes, prejudice, and hatred.

It is important to recognize the historical and ongoing impact of racism, and to actively work to dismantle it at both the individual and systemic levels. This includes educating ourselves and others, challenging racist attitudes and behaviors, advocating for policies and practices that promote equity and justice, and working to build inclusive and diverse communities.

Racism is a complex and multifaceted issue that has roots in a variety of historical, social, and psychological factors. Some possible factors that contribute to the development and perpetuation of racism include:


1. Historical and cultural factors: Racism often has its roots in historical events, such as colonization, slavery, and segregation. These events have created a legacy of inequality and prejudice that can be passed down through generations and reinforced by cultural norms and beliefs.

2. Social and economic factors: Racism can also be influenced by social and economic factors, such as poverty, unemployment, and inequality. When people feel that their economic or social status is threatened, they may be more likely to blame others who are different from them.

3. Psychological factors: Racism can also stem from individual psychological factors, such as fear, ignorance, and prejudice. People may be afraid of what they do not understand and may make assumptions and stereotypes about other groups based on limited information.

4. Power dynamics: Racism is often reinforced by power dynamics that give one group more power and privilege than another. This can occur in a variety of contexts, such as in the workplace, in politics, and in social relationships.

5. Lack of exposure and education: Racism can also be perpetuated by a lack of exposure to other cultures and ideas. When people are not exposed to different perspectives and experiences, they may be more likely to hold onto their own biases and prejudices.

It is important to recognize that these factors do not operate in isolation, and that racism is a complex and ongoing issue that requires ongoing effort and attention.

I ask myself these questions a lot: Is it racist to call black people black or to call a white person white?


For example, in Swahili, which is the most common language in East Africa (Swahili or Kiswahili is a language used in East Africa. It is the official language in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and the African Union, and is spoken by about 80 million people today), we call white people and it is a word that is very popular among our people. We even call our African friends whose skin color is lighter than ours 'Muzungu' and they like it too. Because in our country, unfortunately, a white person or a person with a lighter skin color is seen as superior and more advantageous to a person with a darker skin color.



That's unfortunately the thing that White Europeans made our people think about themselves. The Anti-Personal Indoctrination among ourselves.

The coming of the Europeans to Africa has a bigger influence on racism not only towards us but also amongst ourselves. Ama Ata Aidoo a Ghanaian writer and poet in her interview called the cry for Africa said, ‘since we met you people (European) 100 years ago we gained nothing. You took everything from us and we have given up everything, and in return what have we got! …nothing. And in return what do we get? Anti Personnel Indoctrination among ourselves and deadly disease. She said.


As an African with easy relief I can comfortably say that the racism between Africans what others may refer to as black-on-black racism is more dangerous than that we face from other people of color. For example, most tribal marriages in my country, tribes with lighter skin color are preferred and tribes with darker skin color are extremely rare or not even considered. So why is it like this? Why do we racially discriminate even amongst ourselves?

"Black on black racism" is one of the most controversial and complex topics i have ever talked about with my friends. Racism is defined as prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior. When the same type of behavior occurs within a racial group, it is often referred to as intra-racial prejudice or discrimination.

For example Jamie Foxx one of my favorite and most talented actors, comedian singer and song writer once said in an interview. ‘We black people deal with both racism and perfectionism.’



Jamie Foxx has spoken about perception on various occasions throughout his career. He has discussed how people's perceptions of him and his abilities have influenced his life and career. In one interview, Foxx talked about how people often have preconceived notions about him based on his appearance or background, such as assuming he is not intelligent because he is a comedian or that he only excels in certain areas because of his race. He emphasized the importance of challenging these stereotypes and not allowing others' perceptions to limit one's Potential.


Foxx has encouraged people to believe in themselves and their abilities, even if others doubt them or try to hold them back. For example, when you go on an airplane and look into the cockpit and see a black person as a pilot you become a little nervous. You can even ask him questions a racist person may ask him. Like we good? Do you have your hour with you?

How years of experience do you have? Even though the weather is so bright and sunny in the middle of summer. When you hear a little bump you will be looking at him all the time to confirm if nothing wrong is gonna happen.


But when it's a White old man with a mustache in the cockpit you just know you're life is safe in the air. He said, even though the weather is so bad and you can feel some bumps in the air. You be like that man who would fly this plane through the strongest storm and we will still be safe.

Overall, Foxx's comments on perception highlight the importance of recognizing and challenging stereotypes and biases, both in how we perceive others and how we perceive ourselves. By doing so, we can open up new opportunities and achieve our full potential.

As a kid, I witnessed these actions a lot of times for example, the grown up around me, especially the students who were in the upper class used to make fun of the dark-skinned student and tell them racial slurs just because they were a bit darker than them. I remember one time an upper student told one kid ‘you would be a plantation nigger, I can tell by your skin color and I would be a house nigger’ because he was light-skinned. At the time I didn't really get what he wanted to say, I just thought he wanted to sound cool. But after years of growing an alit bit more intellectually, I realized that was the worst thing a black man would ever say to another black man.


Some people argue that intra-racial prejudice cannot be considered racism because it does not involve a power dynamic, which is a crucial component of racism. Racism involves a group in a position of power, typically the dominant racial group in a society, using that power to disadvantage or discriminate against a marginalized racial group.

According to me regardless of whether or not it is labeled as "racism," intra-racial prejudice and discrimination within the black community can be harmful and perpetuate negative stereotypes and divisions within society. It is important for individuals to recognize and address these issues in order to promote unity and equality within the black community and beyond.


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