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Racial segregation

Racial segregation is a kind of formalized or institutionalized discrimination on the basis of race, characterized by their separation from each other. The separation may be geographical, but is usually supported by providing services through separate institutions (such as schools) and through similar legal and social structures.

Societies have practiced racial segregation througout human history.

Table of contents
1 Nazi Germany
3 South Africa
4 Related issues

Nazi Germany

During the 1930s and 40s, Jews and Gypsies were forced to wear yellow ribbons, and were discriminated against by the racial laws. Jewish doctors and professors were not allowed to teach Aryan pupils or cure Aryan patients.

During the WWII, Jews and Gypsies were sent to the concentration camps, solely on the basis of their race.


Racial discrimination was regulated by the so-called Jim Crow laws from the Civil War, primarily (although not exclusively) in the U.S. Southern States. Such legal segregation lasted up to the 1960s. White and black people would sometimes be required to use separate schools, public toilets, park benches, train and restaurant seating, etc. "Miscegenation" laws prohibited people of different races from marrying. In some locales, in addition to segregated seating, it could be forbidden for stores or restaurants to serve different races under the same roof.

During World War II, Japanese people were excluded from the West Coast, on the basis of their race.

Institutionalized racial segregation was ended by the efforts of such civil rights activists as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr, working during the period from the end of World War II through the passage of the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act supported by President Lyndon Johnson. Many of their efforts were acts of civil disobedience aimed at violating the racial segregation rules and laws, such as insisting on sitting at the front of the bus (Rosa Parks), or holding sit-ins at all-white diners. On January 26, 1948 President Harry S Truman signed Executive Order 9981, ending segregation in the United States Armed Forces.

Although racial equality is, at least in theory, granted to all citizens in the US today, some see the USA Patriot Act as an attempt at covert racial segregation or discrimination against non-citizens. Arabs and Pakistanis, who have similar skin color, are allegedly subjected to different procedures that do not apply to others. However, the US has strict rules against racial profiling to prevent such segregation.

South Africa

Apartheid was a system which existed in South Africa for about fifty years. It was abolished in the late 1980s, following a rapid change in public perception of racial segregation throughout the world.

Related issues

Although not all advocates concede the validity of the concept of "race" as applied to human divisions, discrimination on color or other ethnic characteristics is often labelled "racist" (see race, racism).