Racism: A Short History

By George M. Fredrickson | Go to book overview

EPILOGUE
Racism at the Dawn
of the Twenty-First Century

It is widely believed that racism remains a major international problem at the dawn of the twenty-first century. The term is used in some countries and in some circles to describe hostility and discrimination directed against a group for virtually any reason. The French, for example, sometimes use the term to describe biases founded on age, gender, or sexual orientation. Usually, however, the act of racializing the Other seizes upon differences that are “ethnic” in some sense. According to political scientist Donald L. Horowitz, ethnicity “is based on a myth of collective ancestry, which usually carries with it traits believed to be innate. Some notion of ascription, however diluted, and affinity deriving from it are inseparable from the concept of ethnicity.” 1 The marks or identifiers usually associated with ethnicity are language, religion, customs, and physical characteristics (inborn or acquired). One or more (sometimes all) may serve as sources of ethnic divi

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