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Discrimination vs. Racism: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Discrimination is the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, whereas racism is a belief in the superiority of one race over another.
Discrimination vs. Racism

Key Differences

Discrimination involves treating individuals unfairly or unjustly based on specific characteristics like age, gender, or disability. Racism, a form of discrimination, is the belief that some races are inherently superior or inferior to others.
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Nov 16, 2023
Discrimination can manifest in various areas like employment, education, and housing, based on various attributes. Racism specifically focuses on race and ethnicity, often resulting in systemic societal and institutional biases.
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While discrimination can be broader, including sexism, ageism, and more, racism is specifically related to race-based prejudices and actions. Discrimination in its wider sense can occur without racial connotations.
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Nov 16, 2023
Racism is often rooted in historical, social, and institutional power structures, whereas discrimination can be both systemic and individual, impacting various aspects of life. Racism is a specific form of discrimination with a focus on race and ethnicity.
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Nov 16, 2023
Discrimination can be subtle or overt, impacting individuals' opportunities and quality of life. Racism involves attitudes and practices that uphold racial hierarchies, often deeply embedded in society.
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Comparison Chart

Definition

Unjust treatment based on various attributes
Belief in racial superiority and inferiority
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Focus

Broader, includes race, gender, age, etc.
Specifically on race and ethnicity
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Manifestation

In various areas like employment, education
Systemic societal and institutional biases
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Root

Can be individual or systemic
Often rooted in historical and social power structures
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Impact

Affects opportunities and quality of life
Upholds racial hierarchies, deeply embedded in society
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Discrimination and Racism Definitions

Discrimination

Prejudicial treatment affecting various life aspects.
Discrimination in housing policies can lead to societal imbalances.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 16, 2023

Racism

A system of advantage based on race.
The history of racism has deeply affected societal structures.
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Nov 16, 2023

Discrimination

Inequality in opportunities based on characteristics like gender, race, or disability.
Gender discrimination is still prevalent in many industries.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 16, 2023

Racism

Prejudice or discrimination directed against someone of a different race.
The policy was criticized for perpetuating systemic racism.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Discrimination

The act of making unjust distinctions between human beings.
Discrimination based on religious beliefs is unacceptable.
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Nov 16, 2023
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Racism

Hostility or unfair treatment towards people of different races.
Acts of racism can range from verbal abuse to physical violence.
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Discrimination

Biased actions against specific groups of people.
Age discrimination in the workplace is a growing concern.
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Nov 16, 2023

Racism

The belief that one race is superior to others.
Racism in educational systems can hinder the progress of minority students.
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Nov 16, 2023

Discrimination

The act of discriminating.
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Oct 19, 2023

Racism

The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.
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Oct 19, 2023

Discrimination

The ability or power to see or make fine distinctions; discernment.
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Oct 19, 2023

Racism

Discrimination or prejudice based on race.
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Oct 19, 2023

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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Oct 19, 2023

Racism

The belief that there are distinct human races with inherent differences which determine their abilities, and generally that some are superior and others inferior.
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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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Racism

The policies, practices, or systems (e.g. government or political) promoting this belief or promoting the dominance of one or more races over others.
Martin Luther King spoke out against racism.
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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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Racism

Prejudice or discrimination based upon race or ethnicity; (countable) an action of such discrimination.
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Oct 19, 2023

Discrimination

(uncountable) The quality of being discriminating; acute discernment, especially in matters of good taste.
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Oct 19, 2023

Racism

The prejudice that members of one race are intrinsically superior to members of other races
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Discrimination

That which discriminates; a distinguishing mark, a characteristic.
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Oct 19, 2023

Racism

Discriminatory or abusive behavior towards members of another race
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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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Oct 19, 2023

Racism

Social and institutional practices that reinforce racial superiority.
Racism in the criminal justice system is a subject of much debate.
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Discrimination

The state of being discriminated, distinguished, or set apart.
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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

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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Discrimination

That which discriminates; mark of distinction.
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Discrimination

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

The cognitive process whereby two or more stimuli are distinguished
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Discrimination

Unfair treatment of individuals based on certain characteristics.
The company faced a lawsuit for discrimination in its hiring practices.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

What is discrimination?

Discrimination is the unfair or prejudicial treatment of people based on characteristics like race, gender, age, or disability.
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Is discrimination always illegal?

It depends on the context and laws of a region, but discrimination based on protected characteristics is often illegal.
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How do they impact mental health?

Both can lead to significant stress, anxiety, and a sense of marginalization, affecting mental health.
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How can discrimination be reported?

Discrimination can be reported to authorities like human resources, equal employment agencies, or civil rights organizations.
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Is racism different from racial discrimination?

Yes, racism is a broader concept including beliefs and systems, while racial discrimination refers to specific unfair actions.
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Can racism occur unintentionally?

Yes, individuals can perpetuate racism unconsciously through ingrained biases or systemic practices.
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Can discrimination be positive?

Some view affirmative action as positive discrimination, intended to address systemic inequalities.
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Are discrimination and racism only individual issues?

No, they can be systemic, existing in societal structures and institutions.
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Are there different types of discrimination?

Yes, discrimination can be direct (overt and intentional) or indirect (unintentional, but still harmful).
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What is racism?

Racism is prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior.
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How can racism be combated?

Combating racism involves education, awareness, policy changes, and actively challenging prejudiced behaviors and systems.
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What is systemic racism?

Systemic racism refers to institutional practices that create and maintain racial inequality in societal structures.
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Can anyone be a victim of discrimination and racism?

Yes, anyone can be a victim, though certain groups are more frequently and severely affected.
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Nov 16, 2023

How important is education in addressing these issues?

Education is crucial in raising awareness, challenging misconceptions, and promoting inclusivity and equality.
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Can discrimination and racism overlap?

Yes, racial discrimination is a form of racism where individuals face unfair treatment based on their race.
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Nov 16, 2023

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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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