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Religion and Institutional Racism

            In this paper, I will use the sociological imagination to connect my personal experiences of being discriminated against to new racism and institutional racism. Prejudice and discrimination against religious minority groups regardless of their ethnicity and race can be seen as a form of new racism. .
             I was born and raised in a Baha'i family in Iran. Even as a child, I directly experienced several forms of discrimination and prejudice both from people and organizations which continued to affect my life through adulthood. I clearly remember parents who would ban their children from playing with me because they considered us to be religiously "unclean". It was not uncommon to hear some schoolmates calling my family incestuous because we were Baha'i. I was expelled from the school several times when they found out that I was a Baha'i. At the same time I met people from Muslim families that would not treat me any different and others that had some form of prejudice at first but later they became my good friends abandoning all of their beliefs about Baha'is. High school was the last level of education that the government would not mind me to have as they did not let me or any other Baha'i student to enter an official university to seek higher education. .
             Sociological imagination is a concept that defines one's ability to examine a personal experience using a bigger picture or think about it from an alternative point of view to understand the larger meaning of that experience. It is best described by C. Wright Mills, the sociologist who coined this term, as the ability to "think ourselves away" from the familiar routines of our daily lives in order to look at them anew.
             A minority group is defined as a group of people that are distinctive from the majority by some attribute like race, origin or religion and are disadvantaged compared to the dominant group. Baha'is has always been a minority group in Iran in which Islam is a dominant religion.

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