Discrimination – Treating People Differently based on their Race, Gender or Other Characteristics

Discrimination is the differential treatment of people based on their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or other characteristics. It can happen both at a personal level or at an institutional level.

Personal discrimination is when an individual treats someone differently because of their personal beliefs or prejudices. For example, a landlord may refuse to rent an apartment to a person because of their race, or he may prefer to rent it to women because he believes they are less likely to damage the furniture.

Institutional discrimination is when systems or institutions treat people differently because of their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or other characteristics. One example is when women are paid less than men for doing the same job. Another example is the apartheid system that was used in South Africa.

What is positive discrimination?

Positive discrimination is the preferential treatment of people from groups that have been traditionally marginalized or under-represented in order to promote equality.

For example, affirmative action programs in the United States give preference to minority applicants for jobs and college places. The goal of these programs is to redress past discrimination and increase the representation of minorities in education and employment.

What is negative discrimination?

Discrimination is often rooted in prejudice, which is a negative attitude towards people who are different from oneself. It is a form of “othering” whereby people are seen as being outside of the mainstream and not worthy of equal treatment.

This is associated with the the preferential treatment of people from groups that are considered to be the “majority” or “dominant”. When this happens, members of the majority group are given better treatment than minorities or less powerful groups in terms of jobs, housing, education, and other areas of life.

The Destructive Impact of Discrimination based on Prejudice

While discrimination is not always bad, in many cases it is unfortunately rooted in prejudice. In such situations, it is toxic and corrodes the fabric of society.

First, it creates an unequal society in which some groups are treated unfairly and have fewer opportunities than others. This can lead to resentment and conflict between groups.

Second, discrimination reinforces negative stereotypes about certain groups of people. These stereotypes can be hurtful and damaging.

Finally, discrimination can have a negative impact on the mental and physical health of those who are targeted. Studies have shown that discrimination is associated with increased anxiety, depression, and even illness.

In conclusion, discrimination can have a harmful impact on both individuals and society as a whole. It can lead to feelings of exclusion, isolation, and low self-esteem. It can also result in economic disadvantage, poor health, and reduced opportunities for social mobility.

Related Terms:

Racism – The belief that one race is superior to another, or the unequal treatment of people based on their race.

Sexism – The belief that one sex is superior to another, or the unequal treatment of people based on their sex.

Homophobia – The fear and hatred of LGBTQ people.

Islamophobia – The fear and hatred of Muslims.

Xenophobia – The fear and hatred of foreigners or strangers.

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