3 stages of racism

Even though racism is based on the idea of race, the ideology of racism, ideas of superiority and inferiority, isn’t solely based race. Racism has had different markers to make people inferior throughout history. In battling racism it’s important to understand this historical evolution of racism, because it helps to identify and challenge racist narratives in the present. Sometimes these narratives are based on implicit ideas of superiority/inferiority. Recognizing the different markers of superiority/inferiority enables us to make them explicit. This activity encourages you to relate your daily experiences of racism to institutional racism and connect historical developments to present day legacies.

Watch the following segment from The Uprising

Learning objective

You’re able to link current challenges in society to (one of) the 3 stages of racism.


Think of a situation in which you encountered racism and discuss in a post which stage of racism you think it is related to. Share your reflections based on the following questions:

  • What did the oppressor say or do to make you inferior?
  • Was the idea of inferiority explicit or implicit?
  • Was the idea of inferiority based on religion, biology or culture?