Discrimination: Are We Even On The Right Track To Solving It?

By Shourya Choudhary | Student of Network Capital School
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“Injustice for one is injustice for all.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our world has always been divided into two groups: discrimination victims and discrimination perpetrators. Throughout history, it is not possible to look at a nation and not find a kind of discrimination. How is it possible that we, as humans, top of the food chain for centuries, having destroyed almost every disease and prevented the rest; we, who, in our short time of life as a species on this planet, have discovered every corner of the whole solar system, can’t destroy this one little menace that has been the cause for the downfall of empires?

What is it?

Before going into the issue at hand, the terms “discrimination” and “disturbing” should be researched. According to the Oxford Dictionary, disturbing is defined as “producing discomfort, concern, or anxiety, unsettling, or an unpleasant mental state by such consequences as an annoyance, injustice, or distraction.” Discrimination is defined as denying a certain group of individuals equal opportunities or equal rights because of their religion, skin color, or gender. Discrimination can be mistaken with prejudice and stereotype. Stereotypes are preconceived notions about a specific group of individuals based on their religion, culture, or gender. Stereotypes are the source of prejudice. It's the act of making decisions based on common preconceptions. Discrimination is a combination of the two, with oppression and unjust treatment of the perceived "inferior" group or individual thrown in for good measure. Remember that prejudice is the outcome of an attitude, whereas discrimination is the result of an action. No culture or nation has ever been immune to discrimination, either as a victim or as a perpetrator, according to historical records. Discrimination as we know it now dates back to the time when European colonists peered into previously isolated civilizations and peoples and altered them. Genocide, slavery, legalized discrimination (such as Apartheid), discriminatory immigration restrictions, and disenfranchisement are examples of more extreme types of discrimination. Social exclusion at the institutional level (such as in schools and hospitals) and the more subtle versions practiced by the media are less extreme types of prejudice and discrimination, but they are nonetheless ubiquitous and oppressive.

Why is it even a problem?

Discrimination denies people's opportunities, well-being, and feeling of agency. Individuals who are subjected to discrimination regularly may internalize the prejudice or stigma aimed at them, resulting in feelings of shame, low self-esteem, fear, and stress, as well as bad health. The issue here is with cumulative impacts. For example, research may assess modest impacts of discrimination at each stage of a domain (for example, hiring, evaluation, promotion, and pay setting in the labor market), leading to the conclusion that discrimination is largely insignificant because the effects at any point in time are minor. On the other hand, small impacts might add up to significant changes over time. Quoting from “Measuring Racial Discrimination”:- ‘We identify three primary ways through which discrimination might cumulate:

- Across generations. Discrimination in one generation that negatively affects health, economic opportunity, or wealth accumulation for a particular group may diminish opportunities for later generations. For instance, parents’ poor health or employment status may limit their ability to monitor or support their child’s education, which in turn may lower the child’s educational success and, subsequently, his or her socioeconomic success as an adult.

- Across processes within a domain. Within a domain (e.g., housing, the labor market, health care, criminal justice, education), discrimination at an earlier stage may affect later outcomes. For instance, discrimination in elementary school may negatively affect outcomes in secondary school and diminish opportunities to attend college. Even single instances of discrimination at a key decision point can have long-term cumulative effects. For example, discriminatory behavior in teacher evaluations of racially disadvantaged students in early elementary school may increase the probability of future discrimination in-class assignments or tracking in middle school. Similarly, in the labor market, discrimination in hiring or performance evaluations may affect outcomes (and even reinforce discrimination) in promotions and wage growth.

-Across domains. Discrimination in one domain may diminish opportunities in other domains. For example, families that live in segregated neighborhoods may have limited access to adequate employment and health care.’
What can we do to solve it?

Discrimination in itself is a centuries-old practice and getting rid of it is not going to happen overnight. Many people are already trying to defeat this menace; many movements have been set up to battle different types of discrimination like the #metoo movement to battle gender discrimination, the #blacklivesmatter to battle racial discrimination, and many more… Even so, this problem is not going to go away any time soon and there is still a lot every one of us can do to help. To avoid discrimination, it is critical to creating a friendly and inclusive environment. Equal opportunity rules should be in place at work and school. When renting or selling a residence, be careful not to incorporate exclusive terminology or obstacles by accident. You may minimize your bias even in everyday situations by experimenting with more open and receptive behaviors.

Some steps that you can take to make sure that there is no discrimination present at your workplace can be
- Make an anti-discrimination policy for your place of business. Ascertain that your staff are aware of what is and is not appropriate behavior. These guidelines should be posted in public areas such as the lunchroom, common workplace, or water cooler. Also, send an email to all of your workers. 
- Derogatory language is prohibited, including racial slurs and insults based on age, handicap, gender, religion, or sexuality. 
- Declare that promotions, increases, and other opportunities will be determined based on experience and talents rather than race, gender, sexuality, age, or religion.
You can also make sure in the day-to-day activities that you are speaking without bias by
- Not making assumptions about a person's gender, sexuality, ethnicity, or nationality. The way someone looks, speaks, or dresses is not a reliable predictor of their true identity. Make no remarks on people's backgrounds until they have informed you about them.
- Even if you believe someone looks or sounds like an immigrant, don't ask them where they're from.
- If you're unsure about something, kindly inquire. “Do you mind if I inquire what language you prefer?" you may ask, for example.


These are just some ways by which we can stop the spread of discrimination. Eradicating it completely will take a lot more effort. Having said that, we humans are a pretty formidable species; we have been at the top of the food chain for centuries, having destroyed almost every disease and prevented the rest, we did, in our short time of life as a species on this planet, discover every corner of the entire solar system. And I do not doubt that we can defeat this more subtle type of sickness as well.

1. https://www.apa.org/topics/racism-bias-discrimination/types-stress
2. UK Essays. (November 2018). Discrimination Essay - Effects of Discrimination. Retrieved from
3. https://www.ukessays.com/essays/philosophy/what-are-the-effects-of-discrimination-on-society-philosophy-essay.php?vref=1
4. https://www.aplustopper.com/discrimination-essay/
5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2915460/
6. https://www.seattlechildrens.org/globalassets/documents/clinics/diversity/the-traumatic-
7. https://www.nap.edu/read/10887/chapter/16
8. https://www.un.org/development/desa/dspd/2018/02/prejudice-and-discrimination/
9. https://www.wikihow.com/Avoid-Discrimination

Shourya was a part of the Network Capital Summer School.

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