Anti-discrimination: Wikis

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Discrimination is a sociological term referring to the treatment taken toward or against a person of a certain group in consideration based solely on class or category. Discrimination is the actual behavior towards another group. It involves excluding or restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available to other groups [1]. The United Nations explains: "Discriminatory behaviors take many forms, but they all involve some form of exclusion or rejection."[2] Discriminatory laws such as redlining have existed in many countries. In some countries, controversial attempts such as racial quotas have been used to redress negative effects of discrimination.

In 1856 Australia was the first country that introduced the 8hr working day. 1904 Conciliation & Arbitration Act, but Separate State industrial structures. In 1907 the basic wage was introduced this age was for Living wage for male worker, dependent wife, 3 children in rented house. For the next 15 years no major changes happened other then increased agreement flexibility and work practices. In 1988 a new part to the industrial relations was brought in called the “structure efficiency principal” •Trade off between productivity and pay risers. •Change from cost of living to ability to pay. In 1997 the “workplace agreements was created, which potentially removed third party’s (unions) from entering negotiations in the work place. This new agreement also increased enterprise bargaining/ flexibility and social discrimination.


Age discrimination

Age discrimination is discrimination on the grounds of age. Although theoretically the word can refer to the discrimination against any age group, age discrimination usually comes in one of three forms: discrimination against youth (also called adultism), discrimination against those 40 years old or older,[3] and discrimination against elderly people.

In the United States, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits employment discrimination nationwide based on age with respect to employees 40 years of age or older. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act also addresses the difficulty older workers face in obtaining new employment after being displaced from their jobs, arbitrary age limits.

In many countries, companies more or less openly refuse to hire people above a certain age despite the increasing lifespans and average age of the population. The reasons for this range from vague feelings younger people are more "dynamic" and create a positive image for the company, to more concrete concerns about regulations granting older employees higher salaries or other benefits without these expenses being fully justified by an older employees' greater experience.

Some people consider that teenagers and youth (around 15–25 years old) are victims of adultism, age discrimination framed as a paternalistic form of protection. In seeking social justice, they feel that it is necessary to remove the use of a false moral agenda in order to achieve agency and empowerment.

This perspective is based on the grounds that youth should be treated more respectfully by adults and not as second-class citizens. Some suggest that social stratification in age groups causes outsiders to incorrectly stereotype and generalize the group, for instance that all adolescents are equally immature, violent or rebellious, listen to rock tunes, and do drugs. Some have organized groups against age discrimination.

Ageism is the causal effect of a continuum of fears related to age.[citation needed] This continuum includes:

Related terms include:

  • Adultism: Also called adultarchy, adult privilege, and adultcentrism/adultocentrism, this is the wielding of authority over young people and the preference of adults before children and youth.
  • Jeunism: Also called "youthism" is the holding of beliefs or actions taken that preference 'younger' people before adults.

Gender discrimination

Sign on a beach (1989)

Though gender discrimination and sexism refers to beliefs and attitudes in relation to the gender of a person, such beliefs and attitudes are of a social nature and do not, normally, carry any legal consequences. Sex discrimination, on the other hand, may have legal consequences.

Though what constitutes sex discrimination varies between countries, the essence is that it is an adverse action taken by one person against another person that would not have occurred had the person been of another sex. Discrimination of that nature in certain enumerated circumstances is illegal in many countries.

Currently, discrimination based on sex is defined as adverse action against another person, that would not have occurred had the person been of another sex. This is considered a form of prejudice and is illegal in certain enumerated circumstances in most countries.

Sexual discrimination can arise in different contexts. For instance an employee may be discriminated against by being asked discriminatory questions during a job interview, or because an employer did not hire, promote or wrongfully terminated an employee based on his or her gender, or employers pay unequally based on gender.

In an educational setting there could be claims that a student was excluded from an educational institution, program, opportunity, loan, student group, or scholarship due to his or her gender. In the housing setting there could be claims that a person was refused negotiations on seeking a house, contracting/leasing a house or getting a loan based on his or her gender. Another setting where there have been claims of gender discrimination is banking; for example if one is refused credit or is offered unequal loan terms based on one’s gender.[4]

Another setting where there is usually gender discrimination is when one is refused to extend his or her credit, refused approval of credit/loan process, and if there is a burden of unequal loan terms based on one’s gender.

Socially, sexual differences have been used to justify different roles for men and women, in some cases giving rise to claims of primary and secondary roles.[5]

While there are alleged non-physical differences between men and women, major reviews of the academic literature on gender difference find only a tiny minority of characteristics where there are consistent psychological differences between men and women, and these relate directly to experiences grounded in biological difference.[6] However, there are also some psychological differences in regard to how problems are dealt with and emotional perceptions and reactions which may relate to hormones and the successful characteristics of each gender during longstanding roles in past primitive lifestyles.

Unfair discrimination usually follows the gender stereotyping held by a society.

The United Nations had concluded that women often experience a "glass ceiling" and that there are no societies in which women enjoy the same opportunities as men. The term "glass ceiling" is used to describe a perceived barrier to advancement in employment based on discrimination, especially sex discrimination.

In the United States, the Glass Ceiling Commission, a government-funded group, stated: "Over half of all Master’s degrees are now awarded to women, yet 95% of senior-level managers, of the top Fortune 1000 industrial and 500 service companies are men. Of them, 97% are white." In its report, it recommended affirmative action, which is the consideration of an employee's gender and race in hiring and promotion decisions, as a means to end this form of discrimination.[7]

Transgender individuals, both male to female and female to male, often experience problems which often lead to dismissals, underachievement, difficulty in finding a job, social isolation, and, occasionally, violent attacks against them. Nevertheless, the problem of gender discrimination does not stop at trandgender individuals nor with women. Men are often the victim in certain areas of employment as the traditional "male" job-field opens to women, the influx of millions of illegal aliens take many jobs in construction, highway work, etc., and men begin to seek work in office and childcare settings traditionally perceived as "women's jobs". One such situation seems to be evident in a recent case concerning alleged YMCA discrimination and a Federal Court Case in Texas. [8] The case actually involves alleged discrimination against both men and blacks in childcare, even when they pass the same strict background tests and other standards of employment. It is currently being contended in federal court, as of fall 2009, and sheds light on how a workplace dominated by a majority (- women in this case) sometimes will seemingly "justify" whatever they wish to do, regardless of the law. This may be done as an effort at self-protection, to uphold traditional societal roles, or some other faulty, unethical or illegal prejudicial reasoning.


Australia Australia
  • Sex Discrimination Act 1984-[This act basically discriminated against your sex, material status, or if you are pregnant. It is illegal to be dismissed by a job because of your family responsibilities.]
Canada Canada
Hong Kong Hong Kong
  • Sex Discrimination Ordinance (1996) Flag of Hong Kong (before 1997)
United Kingdom United Kingdom
  • Equal Pay Act 1970 - provides for equal pay for comparable work
  • Sex Discrimination Act 1975 - makes discrimination against women or men, including discrimination on the grounds of marital status, illegal in the workplace except when it pertains to a "white man" and a "black woman."
  • Human Rights Act 1998 - provides more scope for redressing all forms of discriminatory imbalances
United States United States

Caste discrimination

According to UNICEF and Human Rights Watch, caste discrimination affects an estimated 250 million people worldwide.[10][11][12] The Hindu population of South Asia comprises about 2,000 castes.[13]

Currently, there are an estimated 160 million Dalits or "untouchables" in India.[14] The majority of Dalits live in segregation and experience violence, murder, rape and other atrocities to the scale of 110,000 registered cases a year, according to 2005 statistics.[15] An estimated 40 million people in India, most of them Dalits, are bonded workers, many working to pay off debts that were incurred generations ago.[16] According to Indian government statistics, an estimated one million Dalits or "untouchables" are manual scavengers, cleaning latrines and sewers by hand and clearing away dead animals.[17] The majority of human scavengers suffer from respiratory diseases, with 23% suffering trachoma, leading to blindness.[18]

Employment discrimination

Employment discrimination refers to disabling certain people to apply and receive jobs based on their race, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation and disability. In relationship to Sociology, employment discrimination usually relates to what events are happening in society at the time. For example, it would seem ludicrous to hire an African American male, and absolutely unheard of to hire an African American woman over 50 years ago. However, in our society today, it is the absolute norm to hire any qualified person; especially seeing that our president is black. Employment discrimination has decreased tremendously from previous years. This is due to laws that prohibit employment discrimination. In our society today, everyone is ordered to treat all different types of people equally and grant them the same opportunities. If a person hiring another breaks these rules, they can be sued for hate crimes.

The American federal laws that protect against:

Most other western nations have similar laws protecting these groups.

Discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and gender variant people

See: Heterosexism, Heteronormativity, and Homophobia

In 2009, ILGA published a report based on research carried out by Daniel Ottosson at Södertörn University College, Stockholm, Sweden. This research found that of the 80 countries around the world that continue to consider homosexuality illegal, five carry the death penalty for homosexual activity, and two do in some regions of the country.[19] In the report, this is described as "State sponsored homophobia"[20] This happens in Islamic states, or in two cases regions under Islamic authority.[21][22]

On February 5th, 2005 the IRIN issued a reported titled "Iraq: Male homosexuality still a taboo." The article stated, among other things that honor killings by Iraqis against a gay family member are common and given some legal protection.[23] In August 2009 Human Rights Watch published an extensive report detailing torture of men accused of being gay in Iraq, including the blocking of men's anuses with glue and then giving the men laxatives. [24]

South Africa has one of the world's most progressive constitutions, but same-sex unions are often decried as "un-African."[25] Research shows 86% of black lesbians from the Western Cape live in fear of sexual assault.[26]

Language discrimination

Diversity of language is protected and respected by most nations who value cultural diversity. However, people are sometimes subjected to different treatment because their preferred language is associated with a particular group, class or category. Commonly, the preferred language is just another attribute of separate ethnic groups. Discrimination exists if there is prejudicial treatment against a person or a group of people who speak a particular language or dialect. Language discrimination is suggested to be labeled linguicism or logocism. Anti-discriminatory and inclusive efforts to accommodate persons who speak different languages or cannot have fluency in the country's predominant or "official" lanugage, is bilingualism such as official documents in two languages, and multiculturalism in more than two languages.

Reverse discrimination

Some attempts at antidiscrimination have been criticized as reverse discrimination. In particular, minority quotas (e.g. affirmative action) discriminate against members of a dominant or majority group. In its opposition to race preferences, the American Civil Rights Institute's Ward Connerly stated, "There is nothing positive, affirmative, or equal about 'affirmative action' programs that give preference to some groups based on race."[27] On the other hand, it is argued that critics of antidiscriminatory steps often rely on misconceptions, that policy should take into account the negative effects of discrimination on minorities to reduce existing inequalities. [28]

Disability discrimination

Discrimination against people with disabilities in favor of people who are not is called ableism or disablism. Disability discrimination, which treats non-disabled individuals as the standard of ‘normal living’, results in public and private places and services, education, and social work that are built to serve 'standard' people, thereby excluding those with various disabilities.

In the United States, the Americans with Disabilities Act provides guidelines for providing wheelchair access for public institutions.

Religious discrimination



Social theories such as Egalitarianism claim that social equality should prevail. In some societies, including most developed countries, each individual's civil rights include the right to be free from government sponsored social discrimination.[29] Due to a belief in the capacity to perceive pain and/or suffering shared by all animals, 'abolitionist' or 'vegan' egalitarianism maintains that the interests of every individual (regardless its species), warrant equal consideration with the interests of humans, and that not doing so is "speciesist."[30]

Conservative and Anarcho-Capitalist

In contrast, conservative writer and law professor Matthias Storme has claimed that the freedom of discrimination in human societies is a fundamental human right, or more precisely, the basis of all fundamental freedoms and therefore the most fundamental freedom. Author Hans-Hermann Hoppe, in an essay[31] about his book Democracy: The God That Failed, asserts that a natural social order is characterized by increased discrimination.

Labeling theory

Discrimination, in labeling theory, takes form as mental categorisation of minorities and the use of stereotype. This theory describes difference as deviance from the norm, which results in internal devaluation and social stigma[32] that may be seen as discrimination. It is started by describing a 'natural' social order. It is distinguished between the fundamental principle of fascism and social democracy. Both the Nazis in 1930's-era Germany, the pre-1990 Apartheid government of South Africa and other countries in the present day used racial discriminatory agendas for their political means.

Stereotypes and Scapegoats

Stereotyping is a type of discrimination. When a person is stereotyping they are thinking in terms of inflexible categories, and is linked to the psychological mechanism called displacement. Displacement is when one feels feelings of hostility or anger toward objects that are not the origin of those feelings. Many people blame scapegoats for problems that are not their fault. This is common when two deprived ethic groups compete with one another for economic rewards. This is normally directed against groups that are relatively powerless, because they make an easy target. It frequently involves projection, which is the unconscious attribution to the others of ones own desires or characteristics.[33]

See also


  1. ^ Introduction to sociology. 7th ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company Inc, 2009. page 324. Print.
  2. ^ United Nations CyberSchoolBus: What is discrimination?PDF
  3. ^ Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 - ADEA - 29 U.S. Code Chapter 14 | find US law
  4. ^ Wilson, F. (2003) Organizational Behaviour and Gender (2nd Edition), Aldershot: Ashgate.
  5. ^ Ridley-Duff, R. J. (2008) "Gendering, Courtship and Pay Equity: Developing Attraction Theory to Understand Work-Life Balance and Entrepreneurial Behaviour", paper to the 31st ISBE Conference, 5th-7th November, Belfast
  6. ^ Hyde, J. S. (2005) “The Gender Similarities Hypothesis”, American Psychologist, 60(6): 581 592.
  7. ^ "A Solid Investment: Making Full Use of the Nation's Human Capital". 1995-11. Retrieved 2008-05-23. 
  8. ^ "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}". 
  9. ^ "Pregnancy Discrimination Act". Retrieved 2008-05-14. 
  10. ^ Discrimination, UNICEF
  11. ^ Global Caste Discrimination
  12. ^ Caste - The Facts
  13. ^ "India – Caste". Encyclopædia Britannica.
  14. ^ "The Caste System". NPR: National Public Radio.
  15. ^ "UN report slams India for caste discrimination". CBC News. March 2, 2007.
  16. ^ "The Untouchables". CBC Radio.
  17. ^ "Broken People: Caste Violence Against India's "Untouchables"". UNHCR | Refworld.
  18. ^ "Caste Discrimination against India's "Untouchables"". Human Rights Watch.
  19. ^ "New Benefits for Same-Sex Couples May Be Hard to Implement Abroad". ABC News. June 22, 2009.
  20. ^ ILGA: 2009 Report on State Sponsored Homophobia (2009)
  21. ^ ILGA:7 countries still put people to death for same-sex acts
  22. ^ Homosexuality and Islam - ReligionFacts
  23. ^ IRIN Middle East | Middle East | Iraq | IRAQ: Male homosexuality still a taboo | Human Rights |Feature
  24. ^ "They Want Us Exterminated". Human Rights Watch. August 16, 2009.
  25. ^ "South African gangs use rape to "cure" lesbians". Reuters. March 13, 2009.
  26. ^ "Raped and killed for being a lesbian: South Africa ignores 'corrective' attacks". The Guardian. March 12, 2009.
  27. ^ American Civil Rights Institute | Press Release
  28. ^ Ten Myths About Affirmative Action
  29. ^ "Civil rights". Retrieved 2006. bbb;
  30. ^ Singer, Peter (1999) [1993]. "Equality for Animals?". Practical Ethics (Second ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 57–58. ISBN 0-521-43971-X. "If a being suffers, there can be no moral justification for refusing to take that suffering into consideration. … This is why the limit of sentience…is the only defensible boundary of concern for the interests of others. … Similarly those I would call 'speciesists' give greater weight to their own species when there is a clash between their interests and the interests of those of other species." 
  31. ^ [1]Hoppe, Hans-Hermann (2001). "Democracy: The God That Failed". Retrieved 2006. 
  32. ^ Slattery, M. (2002). Key Ideas in Sociology. Nelson Thornes. ISBN 978-0748765652. 
  33. ^ Introduction to sociology. 7th ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company Inc, 2009. Page 324. Print.

References: Media: Media: Introduction to Sociology.New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2009. Print.

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