The hoped-for demise of racism has not occurred. In many places, it is on the rise. This chapter contextualises racism as an issue in and for social work theory and practice, to lay the ground for understanding both its changing and its enduring nature. Understanding the dynamics of racialised oppression is essential to promoting world peace and harmonious relationships between and among people of different cultures, ethnic groups and nationalities. Although the book draws heavily upon the British context, it argues that racism is a social issue found throughout the world and includes examples from a range of countries including other Western countries and North Africa, India and China. The chapter begins with definitions of racism, oppression and discrimination and considers how these intersect as well as diverge with each other through interactional, transactional exchanges among people. It examines the shifts that racism assumes and how these have varied according to place and space, by examining how bio-racism has become cultural racism and tied into identity issues in diverse ways. As the chapter proceeds, it examines statistics that show that the majority of the world’s poor are black.
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