Race discrimination is part of racism, and it can be said of racism that it uses race or ethnicity as criterion for judging inferiority or superiority of other people. Race discrimination may also be a legal term used to define ways in which people may or may not act. For instance the United Nations excludes “distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference” that can be based on “race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin.”
Other legal efforts created by countries may attempt to eliminate racism through civil rights laws. In the US, race should not be a point of consideration when hiring someone for a job, and it cannot be used to justify higher or lower pay, to segregate employees or to hold them to different standards. Like many civil rights laws, not only race but other things may be considered as non-discriminatory aspects of employment or treatment elsewhere. These could include gender, religious background, or sexual preference.
Statistics certainly bear out that racism may be routinely practiced in matters like hiring and pay amounts, and sometimes not even consciously. Certain studies have indicated that people may unconsciously express a marked preference for people of their own race and perceive them more positively, and clearly race discrimination can exist in overt forms too.
It’s also quite clear that race discrimination does not merely apply to color. People can judge others based on shared religion, or ethnic background, and though in the US, white versus all other races racism might be most obvious, there is clear discrimination occurring between and among minority racial groups. In other countries where few minority groups exist, the problem may be even more striking. In Japan, for instance, racial discrimination against Koreans exists in large amount. This filters even to Japanese media, and the art forms known as anime and manga, where the villains in some of these pieces may have overt Korean features.
Unfortunately, when such race discrimination exists in large form, it is difficult for a culture to get rid of it, even when clear intention is to remove it. While media continues to depict other, and especially minority races, in an unfavorable way, the subliminal effect of this may be great. It can be the cause of unconscious racism because the cultural products of that society may constantly be at odds with legal attempts to change people’s thinking.