"Institutional racism refers to a set of complex institutional arrangements and choices that restrict the life changes and choices of a socially defined racial group in comparison with those of the dominant group." (D'souza: The End of Racism p. 289).
In reality this statement pertains to many peoples everyday lives, particularly those of African, Hispanic, and Native American decent. Institutional Racism can be described in a number of ways. It is mainly the failure to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their color, culture or ethnic origin that can be seen or detected in processes. In essence the minority becomes disadvantaged as a result. Institutional racism is in fact subtle, less visible, and less identifiable. In any case, it continues to be destructive to those that it affects directly as well as indirectly. Institutional racism deprives a racially identified group, equal access to a treatment in education, medical care, law, politics, housing, etc. (Schaefer 1996) .
Terms referring to racism are challenging words in our society. African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans and Asian Americans (people-of-color) live daily with the effects of both institutional and individual racism. Some believe that race is the sole determinant of human abilities and capacities. Some behave as if racial differences produce superiority in European Americans (whites). In fact, such individuals respond to people-of-color and whites differently merely because of race (or ethnicity). (Allen 1990) As a consequence, people of color are wounded by judgments and/or actions that are in fact, directly or indirectly racist. .
A great deal of attention is now focused on individual racist behavior. However, just as individuals can act in racist ways, so can institutions. Institutions can behave in ways that are overtly racist by excluding people-of-color from services or opportunities or inherently racist by adopting policies that while not specifically directed at excluding people-of-color, nevertheless result in that.