What is discrimination?

We explain what discrimination is, the types that exist, its causes and consequences. In addition, examples and discrimination in Mexico.

  1. What is discrimination?

When talking about discrimination, reference is made to social behavior carried out by individuals, institutions , organizations or any social actor, which produces and reproduces by action or omission certain inequalities of an economic, social , labor, affective or political type, in against a certain type of individuals, human groups or institutions.

That is, discrimination consists in denying an individual or human group access to certain rights , goods or services, without having a just reason for doing so. It is a social phenomenon that causes much discomfort in those who suffer from it and impoverishes the treatment between human beings, making it less egalitarian, less democratic and therefore less fair .

Discrimination often goes hand in hand with ignorance, prejudice and other subjective reasons for unfairly preferring a human subject or group over others. Of course, this is not the case when there are concrete, individual reasons for rejecting an individual, without generalizing to all those who have their same social status.

In the world there are numerous discriminatory traditions, laws , ideas, policies and practices, but also many institutions that fight against it in various countries. Discrimination goes against the richness of a plural and diverse humanity that accepts their differences in peace.

  1. Types of discrimination

A first classification of discrimination has to do with direct discrimination, that is, one that actively aggravates or segregates the other; and indirect discrimination, which is underground, discreet, invisible, but operates equally, although it is more difficult to perceive. Both are equally harmful.

Another classification addresses the reasons on which discrimination is based, and which may be:

  • Sexual or gender discrimination . It occurs when a person is rejected because of their sex, sexual choice or other intimate behavior. It is very common to occur against women, homosexuals or transsexuals.
  • Religious discrimination . Similarly, it refers to reasons of religious practice or creed to discriminate against someone. It may be rejection of those who practice a certain religion, or on the contrary, rejection of those who do not practice a certain religion.
  • Racism . Discrimination based on ethnicity, race or skin color, generally exercised in the West in favor of the white (Caucasian) race, but can also occur in any other way.
  • Xenophobia . Dislike for people of another nationality, or from other cultures or regions. It can occur even among people of the same nationality, according to cultural regions or provinces.
  • Discrimination for disability . It is aimed at people who suffer from some type of disability, whether physical or otherwise, perceiving them as incomplete or incapable people.
  1. Causes of discrimination

The causes of discrimination are not easy to specify. Many can be inherited from previous generations , inscribed in the local culture as some kind of ancestral enmity or historical rejection. In other cases they lie in negative personal experiences , which instead of being resolved remain and are transmitted in the form of prejudice .

Be that as it may, the generalization of a bad experience, or the free prejudice towards others, is little more than aggressive forms of ignorance, because instead of allowing oneself to know the other and learn from it, it is rejected beforehand.

  1. Consequences of discrimination

The most obvious consequences of discrimination are pain, discomfort, anger, on the part of the person suffering from injustice . That may not seem like much, but in the long run, discriminatory attitudes engender its counterpart, returning as a boomerang against whoever exercises it.

In some cases, discriminated people tend to resent and remember who discriminated against them, and in turn can then move on to the role of discriminator in revenge, thus perpetuating the harmful cycle of discrimination.

  1. Examples of discrimination

discrimination example salary gender
If women earn less than men for the same job, there is discrimination.

Examples of discrimination abound, unfortunately. A woman who is receiving a lower salary than her co-worker for making the same identical salary is being discriminated against. The same is a foreigner who is denied a position for which he is prepared, to give it to a place that does not have the same powers.

A person of a certain ethnicity who is denied entry to a bar or a nightclub is also being discriminated against for being different , or a homosexual couple who is asked to withdraw from an establishment simply because of their sexual preference , as if they were second-hand customers.

All these are forms of unfair aggression, which serve as an example of discrimination, and that occur daily in many countries.

  1. Discrimination in Mexico

Mexican society, like that of many other Latin American countries, is plural in its ethnic composition, given the important pre-Columbian cultures that were in the region when the Spanish conquerors made their arrival in the fifteenth century.

Many of them still survive today, and must deal with the discrimination of many of their Westernized compatriots, who believe that their cultures are “backward”, and therefore judge indigenous traits as inferior. According to surveys, 5 out of 10 Mexicans claim to have felt discriminated against because of their appearance .

However, this type of racial and ethnic discrimination is constantly fought by the State , especially since the creation of the National Council to Prevent Discrimination (CONAPRED) in 2003, as the executing agency of the Federal Law to Prevent and Eliminate Discrimination.

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