Racial discrimination is the practice of perceiving or defining persons to be of lesser or greater intrinsic value, capability, or merit, based on their racial characteristics, and acting on that perception to the detriment of its targets. Racially discriminating actions may include racial segregation, redlining, or differing reactions by employers or neighbors. In some cases, the basis for discrimination is simply that the people discriminating perceive the targets of discrimination to be different from themselves.

Racial discrimination has been practiced unabashedly in many societies. Often, it has been so widely accepted in certain forms as to amount to rule of law. In the modern era, many people have felt it to be wrong, and various anti-racist movements have been launched to highlight the practice and attempt to move to meritocratic practices and beliefs. Some such movements have been the civil rights movement in the United States and the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa.

See also racism.