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Bias vs. Discrimination: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 27, 2023
Bias is a personal and often unreasoned judgment or prejudice. Discrimination is unjust or prejudicial treatment based on certain characteristics.
Bias vs. Discrimination

Key Differences

Bias refers to a tendency or inclination, often unfair, affecting one's judgment or decision-making. Discrimination, on the other hand, involves acting upon such biases to unfairly treat individuals or groups differently, based on characteristics like race, gender, or age.
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Bias can be subconscious or conscious, influencing perspectives or choices without deliberate intent. Discrimination manifests when such biases are put into practice, leading to exclusionary or harmful actions against certain groups.
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Bias might exist in thoughts or attitudes, such as believing one gender is superior to another. Discrimination occurs when these biased beliefs translate into actions, like denying jobs based on gender.
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In bias, an individual might have a preconceived notion about a group, affecting how they view or interact with them. Discrimination is the actual implementation of this bias in behaviors or policies that adversely affect the targeted group.
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Bias is often the root cause of discrimination. While bias can exist without overt actions, discrimination is the explicit execution of biased views, leading to unfair treatment or inequality.
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Comparison Chart

Nature

Internal mindset or inclination.
External action or behavior.
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Consciousness

Can be unconscious or conscious.
Typically conscious and deliberate.
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Impact

Affects thoughts and attitudes.
Affects people's rights and opportunities.
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Manifestation

Internal; may not be visible.
Visible in actions and decisions.
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Scope

Personal and subjective.
Social and often systemic.
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Bias and Discrimination Definitions

Bias

A tendency to favor one thing over another, especially unfairly.
She showed a clear bias for her own team during the competition.
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Discrimination

Recognizing a distinction; differentiating.
Her ability for musical discrimination is remarkable.
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Bias

A systematic error introduced into sampling or testing.
The survey had a bias because it only included responses from urban areas.
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Discrimination

Prejudicial treatment based on race, gender, or a differentiating factor.
Racial discrimination in hiring practices is illegal.
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Bias

A preference that prevents impartial judgment.
His bias towards traditional methods overlooked the benefits of innovation.
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Discrimination

The capacity to discern differences between things.
He has a keen discrimination for flavors in food.
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Bias

An angle at which a material is cut, tailored, or organized.
The fabric was cut on the bias to create a more fluid drape.
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Discrimination

The unjust treatment of different categories of people.
The policy resulted in age discrimination against older employees.
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Bias

A line going diagonally across the grain of fabric
Cut the cloth on the bias.
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Discrimination

Treatment or consideration based on class or category rather than individual merit.
There was clear discrimination in favor of alumni children at the school.
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Bias

A preference or an inclination, especially one that inhibits impartial judgment.
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Discrimination

The act of discriminating.
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Bias

An unfair act or policy stemming from prejudice.
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Discrimination

The ability or power to see or make fine distinctions; discernment.
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Bias

A statistical sampling or testing error caused by systematically favoring some outcomes over others.
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Discrimination

Treatment or consideration based on class or category, such as race or gender, rather than individual merit; partiality or prejudice.
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Bias

A weight or irregularity in a ball that causes it to swerve, as in lawn bowling.
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Discrimination

Discernment, the act of discriminating, discerning, distinguishing, noting or perceiving differences between things, with the intent to understand rightly and make correct decisions.
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Bias

The tendency of such a ball to swerve.
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Discrimination

Differential treatment of an individual or group to their disadvantage; treatment or consideration based on class or category rather than individual merit; partiality; prejudice; bigotry.
Sexual or racial discrimination
Reverse discrimination
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Bias

The fixed voltage applied to an electrode.
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Discrimination

(uncountable) The quality of being discriminating; acute discernment, especially in matters of good taste.
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Bias

Slanting or diagonal; oblique
A bias fold.
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Discrimination

That which discriminates; a distinguishing mark, a characteristic.
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Bias

To influence in a particular, typically unfair direction.
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Discrimination

The act of discriminating, distinguishing, or noting and marking differences.
To make an anxious discrimination between the miracle absolute and providential.
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Bias

To apply a small voltage to (a grid).
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Discrimination

The state of being discriminated, distinguished, or set apart.
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Oct 19, 2023

Bias

Inclination towards something.
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Discrimination

The arbitrary imposition of unequal tariffs for substantially the same service.
A difference in rates, not based upon any corresponding difference in cost, constitutes a case of discrimination.
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Oct 19, 2023

Bias

The diagonal line between warp and weft in a woven fabric.
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Oct 19, 2023

Discrimination

The quality of being discriminating; faculty of nicely distinguishing; acute discernment; as, to show great discrimination in the choice of means.
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Oct 19, 2023

Bias

A wedge-shaped piece of cloth taken out of a garment (such as the waist of a dress) to diminish its circumference.
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Oct 19, 2023

Discrimination

That which discriminates; mark of distinction.
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Bias

(electronics) A voltage or current applied to an electronic device, such as a transistor electrode, to move its operating point to a desired part of its transfer function.
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Discrimination

Unfair treatment of a person or group on the basis of prejudice
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Bias

(statistics) The difference between the expectation of the sample estimator and the true population value, which reduces the representativeness of the estimator by systematically distorting it.
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Discrimination

The cognitive process whereby two or more stimuli are distinguished
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Bias

(sports) In the games of crown green bowls and lawn bowls: a weight added to one side of a bowl so that as it rolls, it will follow a curved rather than a straight path; the oblique line followed by such a bowl; the lopsided shape or structure of such a bowl. In lawn bowls, the curved course is caused only by the shape of the bowl. The use of weights is prohibited.
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Bias

(South Korean idol fandom) A person's favourite member of a K-pop band.
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Bias

(transitive) To place bias upon; to influence.
Our prejudices bias our views.
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Bias

(electronics) To give a bias to.
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Bias

Inclined to one side; swelled on one side.
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Bias

Cut slanting or diagonally, as cloth.
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Bias

In a slanting manner; crosswise; obliquely; diagonally.
To cut cloth bias
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Bias

A weight on the side of the ball used in the game of bowls, or a tendency imparted to the ball, which turns it from a straight line.
Being ignorant that there is a concealed bias within the spheroid, which will . . . swerve away.
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Bias

A leaning of the mind; propensity or prepossession toward an object or view, not leaving the mind indifferent; bent; inclination.
Strong love is a bias upon the thoughts.
Morality influences men's lives, and gives a bias to all their actions.
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Bias

A wedge-shaped piece of cloth taken out of a garment (as the waist of a dress) to diminish its circumference.
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Bias

A slant; a diagonal; as, to cut cloth on the bias.
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Bias

Inclined to one side; swelled on one side.
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Bias

Cut slanting or diagonally, as cloth.
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Bias

In a slanting manner; crosswise; obliquely; diagonally; as, to cut cloth bias.
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Bias

To incline to one side; to give a particular direction to; to influence; to prejudice; to prepossess.
Me it had not biased in the one direction, nor should it have biased any just critic in the counter direction.
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Bias

A partiality that prevents objective consideration of an issue or situation
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Bias

A line or cut across a fabric that is not at right angles to a side of the fabric
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Bias

Influence in an unfair way;
You are biasing my choice by telling me yours
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Bias

Cause to be biased
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Bias

Slanting diagonally across the grain of a fabric;
A bias fold
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Bias

An inclination or prejudice for or against one person or group.
His bias against fast food led him to dismiss its nutritional value.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

Can bias be positive?

Yes, but even positive biases can lead to unfair advantages or disadvantages.
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How does bias affect decision-making?

It can lead to partial or unfair decisions due to preconceived notions.
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How can bias be overcome?

Through awareness, education, and challenging one’s own preconceptions.
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Are biases always bad?

Not necessarily, but they can lead to unfair treatment or judgments.
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What is an example of discrimination in the workplace?

Not hiring someone solely because of their race or gender.
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Can bias be unconscious?

Yes, people can hold biases without being aware of them.
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Is bias a form of discrimination?

Not directly, but it often leads to discriminatory practices.
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What is bias?

A preconceived notion, either in favor of or against a person, group, or thing.
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Is discrimination always intentional?

Often, but it can also be systemic or institutionalized, occurring without direct intent.
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What is discrimination?

Acting upon biases to treat someone unfairly based on their characteristics.
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What is the impact of discrimination on society?

It leads to inequality, social tension, and injustice.
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How can organizations reduce bias?

Through diversity training and inclusive policies.
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Is discrimination always based on negativity?

Typically, though it can be based on any unjust distinction, not just negative ones.
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How does cultural background influence bias?

Cultural norms and values can shape one's biases.
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Can discrimination be legal?

Sometimes, like in age restrictions for driving, but usually, it's illegal when based on protected characteristics.
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What laws protect against discrimination?

Laws like the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
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What are the consequences of discrimination?

Legal repercussions, social backlash, and personal harm to those discriminated against.
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Can bias be measured?

Yes, through tests like the Implicit Association Test (IAT).
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Can anti-discrimination policies eliminate bias?

They can reduce discrimination but may not fully eliminate bias.
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What role does education play in addressing bias and discrimination?

Education can raise awareness and promote understanding to reduce both.
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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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