Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

Living Edition
| Editors: Marc Gellman


  • Twyla Blackmond Larnell
  • Kristine M. MolinaEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6439-6_832-2



Racism, rooted in the ideological belief that different phenotypic makeup (e.g., physical attributes) of racial groups makes them innately inferior or superior to others, is defined as a structured system that ranks groups based on their perceived value and used as a tool for justifying disparate treatment and allocation of resources, reinforcing unequal power relations, and maintaining structural inequalities (Golash-Boza 2016; Omi and Winant 2014; Wade 2014).


Racism generates discriminatory practices and differential treatment toward those perceived as inferior (Golash-Boza 2016; Omi and Winant 2014). Historically, certain racial groups (e.g., Blacks, Hispanics/Latinos) have been regarded as biologically different compared to non-Hispanic/Latino whites, thereby innately, inferior (Golash-Boza 2016; Wade 2014). As a result, racial minorities are more likely to experience different forms of racism, including institutional and...

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References and Further Reading

  1. Alvarez, A. N., Liang, C. T. H., & Neville, H. A. (2016). The cost of racism for people of color: Contextualizing experiences of discrimination. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Feagin, J., & Bennefield, Z. (2014). Systemic racism and U.S. healthcare. Social Science and Medicine, 103, 7–14.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Golash-Boza, T. (2016). A critical and comprehensive sociological theory of race and racism. Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, 2(2), 129–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Jones, C. P. (2000). Levels of racism: A theoretical framework and a gardner’s tale. American Journal of Public Health, 90(8), 1212–1215.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. Kressin, N. R., Raymond, K. L., & Manze, M. (2008). Perceptions of race/ethnicity-based discrimination: A review of measures and evaluation of their usefulness for the health care setting. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 9(3), 697–730.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Omi, M., & Winant, H. (2014). Racial formation in the United States: From the 1960s to the 1980s. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Wade, N. (2014). A troublesome inheritance: Genes, race, and human history. New York: Penguin Press.Google Scholar
  8. Williams, D. R., & Mohammed, S. A. (2013). Racism and health I: Pathways and scientific evidence. American Behavioral Scientist, 57(8), 1152–1173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Loyola University ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.University of IllinoisChicagoUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Martica H. Hall
    • 1
  • Michele L. Okun
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.University of Colorado, Colorado SpringsColorado SpringsUSA