Racism and ethnic discrimination in the United States has been a major issue since the colonial era and the slave era. Legally sanctioned racism sanctioned privileges and rights for White Americans not granted to Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latin Americans. European Americans (particularly Anglo Americans) were privileged by law in matters of education, immigration, voting rights, citizenship, land acquisition, and criminal procedure over periods of time extending from the 17th century to the 1960s. At the time, many non-Protestant groups immigrating from Europe - particularly Jews, Irish people, Poles and Italians - suffered xenophobic exclusion and other forms of ethnicity-based discrimination in the American society.
Major racially and ethnically structured institutions included slavery, Indian Wars, Native American reservations, segregation, residential schools for Native Americans, and internment camps. Formal racial discrimination was largely banned in the mid-20th century, and came to be perceived as socially unacceptable and/or morally repugnant as well.
Racial politics remains a major phenomenon. Racism continues to be reflected in socioeconomic inequality,and has taken on more modern, indirect forms of expression, most prevalently symbolic racism. Racial stratification continues to occur in employment, housing, education, lending, and government.
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