Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me, Zora Neale Hurston.
It is a “feeling, favorable or unfavorable, toward a person or thing, prior to, or not based on, actual experience” (Allport, 1979, The Nature of Prejudice).
Prejudice is an attitude. Discrimination, on the other hand, is a behaviour. Discrimination is the act of carrying out prejudice.
It includes physical violence, verbal abuse, offensive graffiti, entrenched and institutionalized practices, sexual harassment, bullying or intimidation.
Prejudice and discrimination are morally wrong and unfair. They violate democratic principles and are extremely harmful to society and individuals.
There are many types of prejudices in the world:
Racism refers to someone being discriminated against (singled out) because of their ethnicity, skin color, nationality, accent or first language. Some examples are the slave trade, the National Socialist Party in Germany, the apartheid in South Africa, etc.
Sexism is prejudice or discrimination based on a person’s gender. It includes institutionalized practices (for example, women are not allowed to drive cars or vote in Saudi Arabia), sexual harassment, rape, sexist language (gender-specific job titles: policeman, stewardess, chairman; gender-specific pejorative terms: bitch, whore, slut), discriminatory hiring practices, etc.
Homophobia is the irrational fear, hatred, aversion, and hostile behaviour on the basis of sexual orientations that are non-heterosexual. Gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders are still jailed, tortured, and killed in many countries.
Classism is differential treatment based on social class or perceived social class. It is the tendency to make sweeping generalizations or stereotypes about poor people, such as “they are unmotivated, lazy, and dumb. This is why they don’t have any jobs,” “they just keep having more and more children so they can collect more welfare. It is not out of a sincere interest or love to nurture a child through life”.
Ageism is defined as ideas, attitudes, beliefs, and practices against people based on age. Old people are seen as a nuisance, useless, poor, sick, stupid, a low priority by humanitarian agencies, and as a burden on society and public services.
Regretfully, there are more types of discrimination: discrimination against people with disabilities, religious discrimination (treating people unfavorably because of their religious beliefs and practices), aesthetic discrimination (discrimination on the basis of appearance or looks), etc.