Racism and Sexism: A Comparative Analysis

The Definition of Racism and Sexism

The definition of racism and sexism are interchangeable except for gender. The theories of racism and sexism are conceptually the same as problematic notions that establish a hierarchy between races and gender respectively. The theory of racism is built on the idea that some races are superior to others whereas the notion of sexism accepts one gender to be superior to the other.

Components of Racism and Sexism

The components of both racism and sexism are prejudice and discrimination. The arguments in this paper explore the social-psychological dimensions of racism and sexism. How do social, cultural and political contexts influence the way people respond to acts of prejudice and discrimination? Prejudice and discrimination are socially unacceptable intolerances that prompt questions on the relationship between culture and intolerance. Studies on cultural intolerances reveal that there are underlying psychological factors that lead to conflicts between groups of people (Chin, 55). As a result, the society has used communication to define how a community should express their intolerance for an act. In other words, cultural factors play a significant role in determining which prejudices should be felt or accepted in a given context. For instance, in a white-dominated environment should we call anti-white offenses by people of color as racist acts? On the other hand, why do hate crimes against gay men occur more as compared to those aimed at lesbians?

The Fundamental Idea and Beliefs of Racism and Sexism

The fundamental idea and beliefs that, people from a specific group possess specific characteristics or the value of being loyal to one's cultural beliefs have significantly contributed to issues of racism and sexism. In the recent past, cultural issues such as; abortion, gay marriages, the death penalty, and gun control have caused white working class populations to leave the Democratic Party (Frank, 32). However, this would not have been the case if the attention shifted to economic issues. Cultural beliefs have created an identity and intolerance of what should be socially acceptable through the structure of language, values, and beliefs.

The Social Appropriation of Race and Gender

The social appropriation of race and gender contributes to the oppression of people from different communities and sexual orientation. The explicit nature in which a person is treated based on their race or sexuality influences the patriarchy system of how people are addressed. Furthermore, the colonial hierarchy in America continually manifests in the political, social and economic spectrums. Racial and sexists appeals are identified as social intolerable factors that political leaders should evade. However, in 2016, Trump's rhetoric often disregarded the use of racial and sexist remarks that offended a majority of the population (Valentino et al. 28). Prejudice and discriminatory political rhetoric have contributed to, “Whites now view themselves as an embattled racial group, and this has led to both strong in-group identity and a greater tolerance for expressions of hostility toward Out-groups” (Valentino et al. 28). Moreover, sexists' political appeals have also resulted to the division of the LGBT and feminists groups from the rest of the population. Gender and sexual appropriation have been used to undermine the effectiveness of the fundamental human rights and contributed to socio-economic inequalities among the affected groups.

Prejudice and Discrimination

Issues of prejudice and discrimination against specific groups of people prompt the question as to whether sexism and racism are parallel or distinct. Acts of prejudice suggest that an individual has underlying psychological needs which they satisfy through bigotry remarks or acts.

Psychological Factors and Prejudice

Past studies associate prejudice and discrimination towards; individuals' upbringing, rigid personalities and the desire for power and authority (Chin, 55). For instance, Hitler’s campaign against the Jewish community was a strategy to deviate the masses from the political and economic challenges that the people of German faced at the time. Similarly to Trump’s rhetoric which targeted racial and ethnic groups as well as females. His sexist's remarks were directed to his opponents who at the time were a threat to his endeavors. He made abusive comments towards females to tarnish their image and belittle them.

The Role of Context in Prejudice

When Donald Trump, during the national debate referred to Hillary Clinton as a "nasty woman," the responses of most voters were influenced by their underlying beliefs of how women are expected to present themselves. These remarks may have suggested that Hillary was not conducting herself in the stereotypical manner that women are expected to (Bos et al. 18). Bos et al. (18), argue that when the female gender is attacked the role incongruity theory (RCT), influences the thoughts of the masses – who despite understanding that a leader should be assertive and independent; they are drawn to the notion of how females should conduct themselves. Bos et al. further assert that "Prejudice against female candidates is likely to occur when context favors male stereotypical strengths, highlighting women's poor fit with the leader role. Prejudice should be reduced when the context favors female stereotypical strengths, such as cooperation and flexibility" (p.18).


The level of intolerance towards racism and sexism generated from language structure. Rhetoric is primarily the means through which prejudice and discrimination are communicated. Moreover, cultural settings and values profoundly influence how people choose to respond to acts that undermine the basic human rights of others. Although individual beliefs and values play a role in the social intolerance of racists and sexists acts, communication is the foundation of different perceptions and social identities.

Work cited

Bos, Angela L., Monica C. Schneider, and Brittany L. Utz. “Navigating the Political Labyrinth: Gender Stereotypes and Prejudice in U.S. Elections.” In APA Handbook of the Psychology of Women, Cheryl Travis and Jackie White, Editors. 2017

Chin, J. L. (Ed.). The psychology of prejudice and discrimination. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger. 2010

Frank, Thomas. What's the matter with Kansas?: how conservatives won the heart of America. Macmillan. 2007

Valentino, Nicholas A. Fabian G. Neuner, and L. Matthew Vandenbroek. .“The Changing Norms of Racial Political Rhetoric and the End of Racial Priming.” 2016. Working paper. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/310230276_The_Changing_Norms_of_Racial_Political_Rhetoric_and_the_End_of_Racial_Priming

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