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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.

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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 Jim Crow laws from the Civil War, especially (although not exclusively) in the U.S. Southern States. Such legal segregation lasted up to the 1960s. Black people, Japanese and other "undesirables" had to use separate schools, public toilets, park benches etc. "Miscegenation" laws prohibited people of different races from marrying. In some states, if a same restaurants admitted people of colour and caucasian "Aryans", separate parts of the restaurant had to be arranged for each group; in other places it was forbidden for stores or restaurants to serve different races under the same roof.

During World War II, Japanese people were sent to the concentration camps, solely 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.

Althoug racial equality is granted to all citizens in USA today, USA Patriots Act is seen as an attempt for covert racial segregation of noncitizens by some. Arabs and Pakistanis, which have similar skin colour, are segregated at the airports and have to go humiliating procedure, solely on the basis of their national origin.

South Africa

Apartheid was a system which has existed in south Africa for almost as long as the segregation laws in the USA. It was abolished in the late 80s, after the victory of racial equality, at least on paper, in the USA, and 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).

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