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Institutional Discrimination of African Americans

Institutional Discrimination of African Americans

Institutional Discrimination can be described as the wrongful mistreatment of an individual or group of individuals by society and its institutions through asymmetrical selection or bias, voluntary or involuntary, as opposed to individuals making a deliberate decision to act with prejudice. Institutional Discrimination stems from the stereotypical systemic beliefs the majority holds in a society where the norms are stereotypes and Discrimination. Such discriminatory behavior is typically codified into such institutions’ operating procedures, laws, or objectives (Cunningham & Light, 2016). Although direct Discrimination is illegal under U.S. law, many educators, activists, and advocacy groups say indirect Discrimination still exists in many social institutions and everyday social practices (Boundless, 2016). Various aspects of a society contribute to these social norms, including the conflict theory, as argued by Karl Marx and Ralf Dahrendorf (Güçlü, 2014).

Conflict Theory

Karl Marx’s Conflict Theory

Karl Marx, a classical theorist, introduced the conflict theory. This theory focuses on how social inequality developed due to power conflicts between different racial and ethnic groups (Güçlü, 2014). Under this theory, prejudice is a tool for maintaining the majority’s power. Many sociologists, including W.E.B Du Bois, believe that race only has power through society’s means. In other words, race power is given through organization. For instance, racial discrimination and slavery justification was that whites were a superior race. People treat each other in many ways, but the racial interactions within a society are often categorized by pluralism, assimilation, segregation, and genocide. In a pluralist community, all races are equal despite their differences. The United States is pluralist by law, but in a practical sense, it is not. Despite equal legal standing, the country is filled with racial and ethnic stratification; all races do not have equal social status (Güçlü, 2014).

Assimilation describes a process in which minorities adopt patterns of the majority. The minority somewhat avoids prejudice or Discrimination by gradually becoming a part of the majority race. This process is much easier for some minorities than others. On the other hand, segregation is not to interact physically or socially. This process built the United States’ foundation. Racial minorities have historically been segregated into lower-quality environments, occupations, and schools. De Jure segregation has been prohibited by law (Bailey et al., 2017). However, De Facto segregation (segregation through norms and tradition) remains. This accounts for schools and neighborhoods occupied by or having a higher percentage of one race. De Facto segregation has led to a high level of racial stratification. Racial prejudice has consequences beyond segregation and inequality; sometimes, it leads to genocide and systemic killing.

Ralf Dahrendorf Conflict Theory

Karl Marx introduced the conflict theory, and Ralf Dahrendolf built his alternative approaches based on Karl Marx’s theory. Ralf Dahrendorf was a contemporary social theorist who argued that society was divided into two groups: consensus and coercion and function and conflict. Additionally, Dahrendorf argued that community was made up of three types of people: quasigroups, groups that are not organized; interest groups, groups that are organized and can pressure their rivals; and conflict groups, which are groups that dominate over other groups. These groups create superior and inferior categories in society; therefore, conflict contributes to class formation (Güçlü, 2014). This theory applies to the institutional Discrimination of African Americans, who are considered inferior to white people in most situations. Society contributes to conflicts depending on socioeconomic and political factors, contributing to the institutional Discrimination of African Americans.

Racial Discrimination by W.E.B Du Bois

During the time of W.E.B Du Bois, individuals’ race was considered a biological construct. Slavery and Jim Crow laws reinforced racial segregation, framing it as a natural consequence of black to white’s supposed natural inferiority (Olson, 2005). Despite being wrong and harmful, the idea that race itself is purely biological and immutable is untrue. Du’s experience in the South and Europe during his college years changed his perception of racial identity. Du bio argued that there are two competing identities as a black American- the first is seeing oneself as an American and the other as a black person living in white-centric America. Living as a minority in America creates a fracture in the sense of identity within that society.

In 1896, the University of Philadelphia hired Du Bios to complete a survey on black communities in Philadelphia; the study was published as The Philadelphia Negro. Du Bios collected data on 9,675 African Americans living in the 7th ward (historically black diverse neighborhoods) to document how blacks differ from white Americans. Although the black population was much younger than the whites, with a higher population of women, he noticed the black community had a lower literacy rate, higher crime, mortality, and poverty rate, and was concentrated in service industries. The study concluded that the black and white communities’ dysfunction was based on access to essential resources like education, lucrative jobs, healthcare, and wealth (Olson, 2005). Furthermore, the correlation between illness and a higher mortality rate was because of the hazardous occupation, poverty, and less healthcare access. Many of those essential amenities are still out of reach for African Americans in today’s society. The same problems still surround the neighborhood with a high black population as when the study was completed in 1896.

Institutionalized Discrimination does not solely affect people of color. It also affects other minority groups based on their race or ethnicity. Furthermore, Discrimination also affects individuals based on their gender, disability, and other characteristics that make a group of individuals unique. Institutional Discrimination often resides within the fabric construct of society. It is not easy to identify; it rarely appears to those who are privileged, sometimes even irreparable to those who are affected by it. It can manifest in different social and institutional spaces, such as governance, policy implementation, service delivery, recruitment, employment, and reporting. The effect of institutional Discrimination creates inequality and oppression.

Consequently, institutional Discrimination provokes a feeling of resentment and helplessness among minorities. The complexity of institutionalized Discrimination in society results in the disproportion of wealth, political and economic power, resource inequality, and majority privilege. While it primarily affects racist goals, it has far more implications due to a group’s alternative experiences in society or physical politics’ overall harm done to humanity. When culture is considered a body, the principle applies that “if one part of the body suffers, all other organs suffer” (Hanks, 2018).

Racism and Institutional Discrimination

According to Maddy & MacCann (2008), civil rights activists Stokely Carmichael and Charles Hamilton highlighted institutional racism in the 1960s, arguing that institutional racism is often harder to identify and, therefore, less likely to be condemned by society. Both activists compared society’s response to the suffering caused by white terrorists bombing black churches to the lack of attention given to thousands of black children’s suffering for different reasons, such as lack of access to food, quality housing, and healthcare. The attack on black churches was quickly identified as racism based on racial motivation. However, the black children’s suffering was not easily identified as racism because no single person is to blame, yet it stems from Discrimination based on race. Additionally, the impacts of institutional Discrimination are made apparent in children’s literature, with the omission of significant aspects of some children’s culture (Maddy & MacCann, 2008).

According to Feagin and Elias (2013),  “challenges to a racially pluralistic democracy; and group resistance to racism, especially that of the black ‘radical’ intellectual tradition,” illustrate the racial formation theory. The prominence and centrality of the White male figure, his being the ideal body image, so to speak, against which all other bodies are compared. Hence, there is a historical emphasis on the white and the supposed greatness that stems from there. Indeed, it is from the Whiteface that the rest of the American minority population derives their racial identities; that is to say, the Whiteface serves as a model against which minorities either rebel or towards which they strive to emulate (Feagin and Elias, 2013). Social expectations, cultural roles, values and ethics, economic trends, and employment opportunities constitute some form of an inegalitarian hierarchy amongst racial groups’ relationships, with White politicians and leaders being the ones who established these oppressive systems of racial segregation and class exploitation. These aspects are essential in contributing to institutional Discrimination.

Societal Institutions Affected by Institutionalized Discrimination

During the Cold War, recognizing that southern states would delay school integration as much as possible, civil rights activists appealed to the federal government to enforce the Supreme Court decision. Despite advances in African-American voter registration, nationwide support in many states and civic leaders, including Martin Luther King, Jr., had been slow. The Voting Rights Act had far more immediate and dramatic effects than previous laws. The slow process of improving voter registration and participation has been replaced by a sharp increase in black voter registration rates; however, the number of white registrations also increased during this period (Ginsburg, 2019).

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits Discrimination at work, and Executive Order 11246, issued in 1965, bans labor discrimination within the federal government and federal contractors and government money recipients through contractors (Farrell, 2020). The court also found that Congress did not have the power to decide whether slavery would be allowed in the acquired territory after the Constitution was ratified and effectively prevented the federal government from passing laws extending slavery. In addition to introducing the equal protection clause into the Constitution, the amendment also extended the Fifth Amendment clause, requiring states to respect all citizens’ privileges or protective rights and define citizenship at the national level for the first time. Since blacks also could not vote before the Civil War, but most white men voted when there were no literacy tests, this illusion allowed most illiterate whites to vote while people of color left the barriers for those who wanted to vote. This disproportion of voting rights created a shift in economic and political power, leaving blacks at the mercy of whites.

Institutional Discrimination in Healthcare

Several studies using hospital records to investigate the level of care people of color receive compared to their white counterparts were conducted to elaborate on institutional Discrimination in the American healthcare system and its ethical implications (Elias & Paradies, 2021). The study revealed that African Americans were less likely than whites to receive procedures needed to ensure optimal care. The study took into account the patient’s race and finances; nevertheless, the results were the same. The significant role of race in healthcare discrimination revealed that African Americans are prone to healthcare differences, for instance, being less likely to be considered for cardiac care procedures even when they complain of the same symptoms as their white counterparts (Elias & Paradies, 2021). Bailey et al. (2017) point out the impacts of racial inequality in healthcare amongst racial minorities and immigrants. Institutional racism affects the services provided to people of color, especially African Americans.

Institutional Discrimination in the Educational System

Institutional Discrimination is evident in education systems. Why is it that White American students consistently score better in academic settings than their Black counterparts? How has the achievement gap played an integral part in the formation of the contemporary education system? And how did history’s greatest thinkers, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, and Thomas Jefferson, construct an education system built on cultural differences and oriented toward the perpetuation of the racial divide? In answering these questions, the heart of American institutional racism begins to expose itself. Darby & Rury (2018) present their findings in pursuit of this exact goal, revealing what is only ostensibly a fair and impartial system.

According to communities in American ideologies, education is the great equalizer. Individuals are taught that they can grow up to be whatever they want with a quality education from a young age. However, the U.S. educational system is advantageous to some people while disadvantageous to others since the educational system plays a role in reinforcing social inequalities (Darby & Rury, 2018). The U.S. seems to have a meritocratic system (hard work is rewarded and recognized regardless of race differences) to the outside world. However, there are significant class gaps in educational attainment in the U.S. 83% of high-income families enroll in college after high school, and only 63% of low-income students enroll due to differences in income (Darby & Rury, 2018).

This disparity is based on U.S. school funding policies. School funding is determined at the local level. While some funds are provided with federal and state governments’ help, school districts mostly rely on the money from local property taxes, meaning schools in communities with expensive houses and higher-earning residents receive better funding. Unsurprisingly, schools in a more affluent neighborhood provide a better education than schools in a more impoverished district. In other words, a school with better resources provides better education for its students; this difference in school qualities affects the outcome for a student (Jackson et al., 2015).

According to Jackson et al. (2015), court-mandated school finance reform showed an increase in school funding levels by 10%, which was associated with students earning 7% higher incomes than adults. This translates to school funding, or lack of it, is part of social inequality in the U.S. educational system. Furthermore, students with higher family incomes show better school performance even when more funds are provided to low-income schools due to home resources and parental influence.

Institutional Discrimination in Law Enforcement.

Police officers from ethnic groups sometimes carry negative attitudes and stereotypes about African-American communities, negatively affecting the quality of their decisions and enforcement measures. Some police forces in the United States have historically played a key role in maintaining whites’ interim power. When the police department tries to implement community-based policing, a harsh vacuum is created to overcome it (Bailey et al., 2017), especially in the criminal justice system. The consequence impacts mortality, whereby African Americans make up less than 13% of the American population but are killed at twice the rate of white Americans; additionally, the cases of incarceration of African Americans (Bailey et al., 2017). Investigations into the handling of victims by the police and their agents have shown bias. Black Native Americans had a higher detention/arrest rate per 10,000 populations than non-Hispanic whites and Asians.

English et al. (2017) argues that African Americans, particularly Black men, tend to encounter police offers more frequently than people of other races. Accordingly, a number of civilians are killed each year by law enforcement officers in the United States. By one estimate, Black men are more likely than white men to be killed by police during their lifetime since they encounter them more frequently.

Institutional Discrimination in the Housing System

Residential segregation is a form of Discrimination that occurs in the real estate market. Housing in the United States can be valued in various ways depending on the ecological race. Depending on the size and shape, the two houses can be identical, but each house’s value can rely on the ethnic composition of the people in the community. Therefore, the owners will have the concession to prevent minorities from moving to white neighborhoods. Institutional Discrimination in the real estate market also includes practices such as repossession and mortgage loan discrimination (Bailey et al., 2017). Historical and ongoing migration, evictions, and segregation prevent people of color from acquiring and maintaining their property and accessing safe, affordable housing (Bailey et al., 2017). The color of the current lifestyle is not the result of personal preferences of living in racial races among the relative colors. Racial segregation has contributed to persistent differences in access to public goods and services, including healthcare systems. It thus shows that racial segregation of African Americans is not an individual choice but a response to discriminatory policies at the state level (Solomon et al., 2019)—for example, the U.S. Supreme Court in 1917. Buchanan’s case made the racial zoning clear. Warley was fired, but the decision did not end the separation. Instead, he unleashed a new wave of racist creativity through white leaders and communities (Quick & Kahlenberg, 2019).

Institutional Discrimination in Employment Opportunities

African American workers face more and more obstacles in finding better jobs than their white colleagues. They face systematic high unemployment rates, low jobs, low wages, poor performance, and increased job instability (Weller, 2019). Despite the fact that White American workers have access to more jobs and more labor market outcomes, African-American workers and their families experience the opposite. For African Americans, the labor market experience was historically worse than whites’ and continues today. Despite significant improvements, black workers today have a hard time securing good jobs compared to whites. For women of color, the cross between race and gender bias has had a combined effect on their labor market experiences, which often also values their work and limits their opportunities. African American workers regularly have higher unemployment rates than whites, and African Americans often face direct Discrimination (Weller, 2019).

For example, according to a study by the American Progress Organization, African Americans face higher unemployment than whites, regardless of age, gender, education, or experience. For example, among college graduates, blacks’ unemployment rate averaged 2.8% between November 2018 and October 2019, 40% higher than 2% of white college graduates over the same period (Weller, 2019). For African-American women, the unemployment rate in September 2019 was 5.1%, much higher than the 2.7% unemployment rate for job-seeking women over the same period (Weller, 2019).

Institutional Discrimination in the Political System

Not participating fully in the democratic process means a lack of political power to select candidates with shared values and the ability to set public policy priorities. As a result, people of color, especially blacks, are excluded and discriminated against in the electoral process 150 years after slavery. In 1870, voting and citizenship were primarily denied to African-American citizens. Even after the 14th and 15th Amendments, lawmakers left Black Americans at their mercy and persecuted them. After the reconstruction, white nationalists launched a terrorist campaign to oppress black voters and gain control of the legislature in the southern state. The systematic expulsion and repression of black voters during this period were not limited to the Southern States.

The civil rights movement has removed many barriers to participation in elections (Maddy & MacCann, 2008). The United States has experienced a resurgence of voter oppression. The dangers of persistence and the ever-emerging risks are a constant reminder of how far the United States must go to ensure full access to American democracy (Feagin & Elias, 2013). Native Americans, Hispanics, and African Americans were two, three, and four times more likely than their white counterparts to face racial discrimination when trying to vote or participate in politics. Additionally, many Americans, primarily people of color, were unable to vote because they lived in Washington, DC, in the United States. This practice caused more harm than the past 150 years of Discrimination; it has created a feeling of distrust and ambiguity in the black community. The fact that the United States has given the constitutional right to vote to its citizens and the covert activities of denying blacks from casting votes show the opposite story. And the consequences were seen in the policies designed to oppress minority groups.

Cook-Martin & FitzGerald (2010) argue that contrary to public opinion of political liberalism, racism is just as prevalent, if not more, in liberal societies than in illiberal ones. This is a hard pill to swallow. This conclusion is reached because central to the American self-conception is this underlying notion of equitable treatment, just due process, and, at least in contemporary society, eradication of state-sanctioned racism and racial oppression (Cook-Martin & FitzGerald, 2010). Indeed, authoritarian regimes in, e.g., Cuba, Brazil, and Mexico have shown or did show tremendous progress in reversing racialization through the enactment of progressive legislation oriented towards the elimination of racial barriers and the reversal of discriminatory laws. Consistently, it contributes to liberalism being considered a sham political regime with regard to its ostensive claim to be able to deconstruct racial barriers.

The present-day politicians are not to blame entirely, as discriminatory policy extends back to Aristotelianism and the Greek model of democracy (Cook-Martin & FitzGerald, 2010). These models of democracy propose that only a select subset of the population, those whom the government deems to be of adequate intellect, are granted voting rights and have their voices heard. The others, those of supposed lesser mind, are, in turn, silenced and removed from the political forum altogether. This creates a regime of oppression, argues the authors, that is self-perpetuating and independent of a proper system of checks and balances that could curb the ruling elites’ power (Cook-Martin & FitzGerald, 2010). It is a sprawling paper that covers ancient and contemporary politics alike and assembles a superb collection of case studies and statistical analyses to present a grim picture of present-day life in the United States.

Importance of studying Institutional Discrimination in society

Racism and Institutional Discrimination have their roots in society, governments, workplaces, courts, police, and educational institutions. Racism may be blatant, but it often comes in esoteric, subtle, and treacherous forms that are difficult to establish. It concerns the senseless deaths of millions of people over the centuries, unfair treatment, various forms of violence, economic and social inequality, lack of opportunity, racial profile, backwardness, and microaggression (Bailey et al., 2017). Studying and understanding institutional Discrimination plays an important role and responsibility in ending and eradicating racism. As teachers, students, and citizens, people need to do a lot to ensure that proposed solutions to defeating systemic racism do not remain in the system while being criticized for eradicating the roots of oppression and inequality.

Part of the responsibility for a clear vision rests with the education community, which speaks clearly and honestly about the depth and causes of inequality in education (Jackson et al., 2015). As stated earlier, race derives its power from what society gives it. In the 1800s, Irish and Italian Americans were not considered white, but in today’s society, they are. Given that society was able to transition and accept other Caucasian races as white, Black Americans can be regarded as equal. Although individual Discrimination is vital to address and consequential in today’s world, it would have a minimal effect. However, addressing institutional racism could improve the quality of life for a more significant percentage of people in society.


Bailey, Z. D., Feldman, J. M., & Bassett, M. T. (2020). How Structural Racism Works — Racist Policies as a Root Cause of U.S. Racial Health Inequities (1165831009 874813851 D. Malina, Ed.). The New England Journal of Medicine. doi:10.1056/NEJMms2025396

Bailey, Z., Krieger, N., Agénor, M., Graves, J., Linos, N., & Bassett, M. (2017). Structural racism and health inequities in the USA: evidence and interventions. The Lancet, 389(10077), 1453-1463.

Boundless, C. C. (2016). Institutional Prejudice or Discrimination. Retrieved from Introduction to Sociology:

Cook-Martin, D. & FitzGerald, D. (2010). Liberalism and the Limits of Inclusion: Race and Immigration Law in the Americas, 1850-2000. The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 41(1), 7-25.

Cunningham, J., & Light, R. (2016). Institutional Discrimination. The Blackwell Encyclopedia Of Sociology, 1-3.

Darby, D. & Rury, J. L. (2018). The Color of Mind: Why The Origins Of The Achievement Gap Matter For Justice. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

English, D., Bowleg, L., del Río-González, A., Tschann, J., Agans, R., & Malebranche, D. (2017). Measuring Black men’s police-based discrimination experiences: Development and validation of the Police and Law Enforcement (PLE) Scale. Cultural Diversity And Ethnic Minority Psychology, 23(2), 185-199.

Farrell, J. (2020). The Promise of Executive Order 11246: “Equality as a Fact and Equality as a Result”,. Depaul Journal For Social Justice, 13(2 [2020]). Retrieved from


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Institutional Discrimination of African Americans

Institutional Discrimination of African Americans

I need the attached paper revised to address the feedback provided by the instructor.


Please find my comments outlined below.

Overall, you provided rich information on the issues of institutional racial Discrimination in various institutional settings of our society. However, the paper needs more attention to the theoretical debates and questions here. It needs to rely less on external sources, which you did not always correctly credit following APA standards.

For example, you reference Boundless for your opening paragraph, but that is not actually listed in your references.

The purpose of this paper was not to provide an outline of the social phenomenon but to offer a sociological theoretical interpretation relying on one classical and one contemporary theorist. This should be center stage in terms of content. Conflict theory is only mentioned at the very end of the paper, and WEB Du Bois, which is undoubtedly relevant, is covered on a page with no references to the actual readings in our textbook.

Use subheadings to guide the reader.

APA format the paper. You need a separate title page. Spell out journal titles and add complete information on issue numbers.

Focus references on scholarly articles. Brookings or the American Center for Progress are think tanks and provide adequate information for an academic, theoretical paper like this one.

Do not use all caps in the references. Some sources are too dated. This is fine for seminal works but only for such.

Heilman’s reference is incomplete.

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