We are not sure of the exact cause of racism. There are many reasons. Social scientists speculate about the causes. A few things that may contribute to racism and racially motivated violence appear below:
Xenophobia, the fear of of people who are different. An element of xenophobia is present in racism. Deep fear can express itself in racially motivated violence.
A need to feel OK, to feel worthwhile. This can result in people wanting to feel superior to others.
Allows one group to socially, politically, and economically dominate other groups. An American Psychological Association article states racism serves to "rationalize the hierarchical domination of one racial or ethnic group over other group(s), and maintain psychological, social, and material advantages for the dominant group."
Racism is used by governments to excuse systemic and systematic oppression and human rights abuses.
Promotion of the idea that attempts to end discrimination and inequality are reverse discrimination and reverse racism.
Feeling protection of basic human rights for minority groups are "special rights."
Historic patterns of prejudice, discrimination, and racism. Colonialism, historic hostilities, and the slave trade contribute to modern racism.
Ignorance of other cultures, religions, and values.
Fear of sharing power with other groups of people.
Isolationist and protectionist foreign policies.
Laws and government policies aimed at preventing immigration of people of different cultures and religions.