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Treating an individual or group differently based on the person or groups

characteristics rather than on personality, character, abilities or merit.

Any practice or behaviour that has a negative effect on an individual or group

because of their

Place of origin, colour
Ethnic origin

Sex (gender)
Sexual orientation
Marital status
Family status
Handicap disability

Discrimination may occur as the result of direct differential treatment or the

unequal effect of treating individuals and groups in the same way (equally).

If the effect of the behaviour is to withhold or limit full, equal and meaningful
access to goods, services, facilities employment, housing, etc. available to other
members of society it is discrimination

Types of Discrimination
1. State Sanctioned Discrimination (legal/ official)
When a government of a country allows and supports differential treatment through
legislation and official policies.

South Africa and Apartheid (c. 1940s 1994) white minority government
imposed racial segregation and oppression on the black majority population.

Nazi Germany (1932 1945) Hitler passed the Nuremburg Laws in 1935;
seized Jewish property, restricted rights and treated Jews as sub human
slave labour, eventually killing six million innocent people

United States (up to the late 1950s) Legal segregation of blacks in public
places buses, restaurants, schools, water fountains

Canada (1880 1950) various immigration policies and social attitudes

excluded Asians from Canadian society and political rights

2. Systemic or Unofficial Discrimination

This type of discrimination may occur on a daily, informal basis. Might be the result of
a companys policies, or an individuals attitude toward people and may or may not be
intentional. This type pf discrimination may be more difficult to see because it is not
always recognised or reported. With the implementation of the Charter and various
pieces of human rights legislation peoples attitudes have changed over the last 25

When a landlord will not rent to students or a person of a particular ethnic

When an employer will not hire or promote or give a raise to women or ethnic

Sources of Discrimination

Early learning from parents or family. We learn by watching and we imitate what
we see or hear.

Mass media TV, advertising, movies, social media (Facebook, Twitter)

Frustration and aggression due to the loss of a job or housing or not being
rewarded. We view those competitors who got the job or housing negatively

Lack of respect for individual and group differences and rights

Lack of education or a lack of cognitive sophistication being uninformed or lacking

information to make appropriate choices, making judgements based on ignorance
of the facts.

Lack of self esteem - demeaning others to feel more self important

The need to find a scapegoat someone else to blame for your problems

Being forced to get along (reluctant discrimination, backroom racism)

We organise people into the groups they come from so that we can deal with and
make sense of the world around us. This leaves us finding shortcuts, making
generalisations generalising leads to pre- judging which leads to discrimination
(all men, all women, all Muslims, all Asians)