Institutional Legalization of Racism: Exploitation of the Core Groups

  • Robbie W. C. Tourse
  • Johnnie Hamilton-Mason
  • Nancy J. Wewiorski


The institutionalization of racism in the United States happened over a period of hundreds of years during which time a variety of treaties, laws, and other legal mechanisms were used to endorse and support racial discrimination. This chapter focuses on the legalization of racism during the formation and expansion of the United States. It briefly describes the historical context for building the scaffolding that supports institutionalized racism. This chapter then traces the evolution of legalized discrimination, which is directly tied to the history of four core groups: First Nation Peoples, Africans, Mexicans, and Chinese. These four groups then historically were the initial targets of oppressive racial discrimination in the Unites States. Each group is discussed in terms of how components of the scaffolding, particularly the legal structures rung, established and maintained their subordinate position. Their lives were, and the lives of their ancestors are, molded through formal and informal institutional decisions within the white American societal. The chapter traces the history of each group and discusses how their positions in society were institutionalized by numerous treaties, laws, and other legal mechanisms that systematically exploited and subordinated each group.


First nation peoples Mexicans Africans Chinese Institutionalization Racial scaffolding History of legalized racism 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robbie W. C. Tourse
    • 1
  • Johnnie Hamilton-Mason
    • 2
  • Nancy J. Wewiorski
    • 3
  1. 1.Boston College School of Social WorkChestnut HillUSA
  2. 2.Simmons College School of Social WorkBostonUSA
  3. 3.U.S. Department of Veterans AffairsBostonUSA

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