Institution" in this context has several meanings. By one usage, it refers to specific organizations such as businesses, corporations, unions, and political organizations. These organizations are large and legally constituted, with written and unwritten rules governing the conduct of those who fill positions within them.
The concept of institutional racism was first addressed systematically in the 1960s by Charles Hamilton and Stokeley Carmichael. They contrasted individual racism, illustrated by a small band of white terrorists bombing a church, with institutional racism, illustrated by the practices leading to many black children dying each year because of inadequate food, medical facilities, and shelter (Feagin and Feagin, 1986, 12-13).
Different theorists may use different terminology to refer to this sort of racism. Banton (1992) cites the United Nations for the distinction between racism and racial discrimination:
Racism is presented as historically and geographically specific, and as pathological, whereas discrimination is universal and normal (Banton, 1992, 69)
This distinction is made between the underlying disease, built into institutions, while racial discrimination is the overt manifestation, occurring when someone takes action because of racism. Banton examines the reasons why racism has developed, noting group conflicts, differences of physical appearance, differentiation by language and religion, and the attempt to accou
could be interpreted as harmful to that very class of people liberals would like to assist. Wilson stops just short of labelling liberal scholars as academic lightweights when he asserts, "The vitriolic attacks and acrimonious debate that characterized the [examination of the underclasses and their environment] proved to be too intimidating to liberal scholars" (Wilson, 1993, p. 2).
The underclass in America today generally refers to inner-city African Americans who exist on the basis of public assistance. Public...