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Segregation vs. Discrimination: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Segregation is the enforced separation of different racial groups, while discrimination is unfair treatment based on prejudice.
Segregation vs. Discrimination

Key Differences

Segregation involves the physical and legal separation of people based on characteristics like race or ethnicity. Discrimination, however, refers to biased actions or attitudes towards a group or individual based on prejudice. Both concepts involve unequal treatment, but segregation enforces physical division, whereas discrimination can be more subtle and pervasive.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 05, 2023
Segregation is often institutionalized, such as laws mandating separate facilities for different racial groups. Discrimination, in contrast, can occur at both individual and institutional levels and does not necessarily involve physical separation. It's about treating someone unfavorably because of their race, gender, or other attributes, unlike segregation, which is specifically about separation.
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Dec 05, 2023
Historically, segregation was legally sanctioned, as seen in the Jim Crow laws in the United States. Discrimination, while also present in history, can occur even without legal backing, manifesting in social, economic, or personal interactions. Both segregation and discrimination reflect systemic inequalities, but segregation is a more overt form of societal division.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 05, 2023
In segregation, groups are often isolated to limit their social, economic, and political power. Discrimination, however, can be less visible, like biased hiring practices or social exclusion, impacting individuals' opportunities and quality of life. Both practices stem from prejudiced beliefs but manifest in different ways.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 05, 2023
While segregation has been largely outlawed in many societies, its effects still linger in segregated neighborhoods and schools. Discrimination continues in more covert forms like racial profiling or wage gaps. Both reflect ongoing struggles against racial inequality, but segregation is a more distinct, physical manifestation of these issues.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 05, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Definition

Physical separation of different racial groups.
Unfair treatment of individuals based on prejudice.
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Legal Status

Historically institutionalized, now mostly illegal.
Can be illegal, varies by context.
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Manifestation

Visible, clear boundaries.
Often subtle, less visible.
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Societal Impact

Creates divided communities and services.
Affects individual opportunities and treatment.
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Historical Examples

Jim Crow laws in the U.S., Apartheid in South Africa.
Women's suffrage movement, Civil Rights Movement.
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Segregation and Discrimination Definitions

Segregation

Segregation is the enforced separation of different racial or social groups.
The policy of segregation meant that different races had to use separate public facilities.
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Nov 24, 2023

Discrimination

Discrimination refers to treating someone unfavorably because of a personal characteristic.
Age discrimination in hiring practices can be a barrier for older job seekers.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 24, 2023

Segregation

Segregation is the physical and often legal separation of people based on characteristics like race.
The legacy of racial segregation is still evident in many urban areas.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 24, 2023

Discrimination

Discrimination is biased or unfair behavior towards an individual or group based on prejudice.
Gender discrimination often results in unequal pay for women in many industries.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 24, 2023

Segregation

Segregation involves dividing services and facilities based on race or ethnicity.
Schools during the segregation era were divided along racial lines.
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Nov 24, 2023
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Discrimination

Discrimination is the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people.
Racial discrimination in the workplace can limit employment opportunities for minorities.
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Nov 24, 2023

Segregation

Segregation refers to the legal or social exclusion of certain groups from mainstream society.
Bus segregation laws required people of color to sit at the back.
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Nov 24, 2023

Discrimination

Discrimination is the action of denying rights or opportunities to people based on bias.
Discrimination based on sexual orientation can affect mental health and job security.
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Segregation

Segregation is the practice of keeping distinct social groups apart from each other.
Segregation in the housing market resulted in racially homogeneous neighborhoods.
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Nov 24, 2023

Discrimination

The act of discriminating.
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Oct 19, 2023

Segregation

The act or process of segregating or the condition of being segregated.
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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

Segregation

The policy or practice of separating people of different races, classes, or ethnic groups, as in schools, housing, and public or commercial facilities, especially as a form of discrimination.
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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

Segregation

(Genetics) The separation of paired alleles or homologous chromosomes, especially during meiosis, so that the members of each pair appear in different gametes.
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Oct 19, 2023

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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Oct 19, 2023

Segregation

The setting apart or separation of things or people, as a natural process, a manner of organizing people that may be voluntary or enforced by law.
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Oct 19, 2023

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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Oct 19, 2023

Segregation

(biology) The setting apart in Mendelian inheritance of alleles, such that each parent passes only one allele to its offspring.
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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

Segregation

(mineralogy) Separation from a mass, and gathering about centers or into cavities at hand through cohesive or adhesive attraction or the crystallizing process.
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Oct 19, 2023

Discrimination

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

Segregation

The separation of people (geographically, residentially, or in businesses, public transit, etc) into racial or other categories (e.g. religion, sex).
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Oct 19, 2023

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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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Segregation

(sociology) The separation of people (geographically, residentially, or in businesses, public transit, etc) into various categories which occurs due to social forces (culture, etc).
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Oct 19, 2023

Discrimination

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

Segregation

(genetics) The separation of a pair of chromatids or chromosomes during mitosis and meiosis
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Oct 19, 2023

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

Segregation

The act of segregating, or the state of being segregated; separation from others; a parting.
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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

Segregation

Separation from a mass, and gathering about centers or into cavities at hand through cohesive attraction or the crystallizing process.
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Oct 19, 2023

Discrimination

That which discriminates; mark of distinction.
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Oct 19, 2023

Segregation

(genetics) the separation of paired alleles during meiosis so that members of each pair of alleles appear in different gametes
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Discrimination

Unfair treatment of a person or group on the basis of prejudice
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Oct 19, 2023

Segregation

A social system that provides separate facilities for minority groups
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Oct 19, 2023

Discrimination

The cognitive process whereby two or more stimuli are distinguished
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Oct 19, 2023

Segregation

The act of segregating or sequestering;
Sequestration of the jury
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Oct 19, 2023

Discrimination

Discrimination involves making distinctions to the detriment of someone based on group identity.
Disability discrimination includes inaccessible public facilities for people with disabilities.
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Nov 24, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

What is discrimination?

Discrimination is unfair treatment of individuals based on characteristics like race, gender, or age.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 05, 2023

How did segregation historically manifest in society?

Historically, segregation was evident in laws requiring separate facilities for different races, like in schools and public transport.
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Dec 05, 2023

Can discrimination be legal?

Discrimination is often illegal, but laws vary by region and context.
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Dec 05, 2023

Are segregation and discrimination interconnected?

Yes, segregation is a form of discrimination based on physical separation.
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Dec 05, 2023

What is segregation?

Segregation is the enforced separation of people based on racial, ethnic, or other differences.
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Dec 05, 2023

Is segregation still present today?

While legally reduced, segregation's effects persist in areas like housing and education.
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Dec 05, 2023

How does discrimination affect the workplace?

Discrimination can lead to unequal hiring practices, pay gaps, and limited career advancement.
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What are examples of institutional discrimination?

Institutional discrimination can be seen in policies that disproportionately affect certain groups, like voter ID laws.
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How is discrimination addressed legally?

Discrimination is often addressed through civil rights legislation and equal opportunity laws.
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Dec 05, 2023

Can discrimination occur unintentionally?

Yes, unconscious biases can lead to unintentional discrimination.
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Dec 05, 2023

What are some common types of discrimination?

Common types include racial, gender, age, and disability discrimination.
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Dec 05, 2023

Can segregation be positive?

While some argue for benefits in certain contexts, segregation generally perpetuates inequality.
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How can segregation impact a community?

Segregation can create divided communities with unequal access to resources and opportunities.
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How do societal attitudes contribute to segregation?

Societal attitudes, often rooted in prejudice, can perpetuate segregation even without legal mandates.
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What role does education play in combating discrimination?

Education can raise awareness and reduce prejudices, helping to combat discrimination.
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How does discrimination impact mental health?

Discrimination can lead to stress, anxiety, and a sense of alienation, affecting mental health.
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Dec 05, 2023

Can laws completely eliminate segregation and discrimination?

Laws are crucial but not sufficient; societal change is also needed to fully eliminate these issues.
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Dec 05, 2023

What is the role of activism in addressing segregation and discrimination?

Activism plays a key role in raising awareness, advocating for legal change, and challenging societal norms.
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Is discrimination always based on race?

No, discrimination can be based on various factors like gender, age, religion, and more.
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Are there global examples of segregation?

Yes, apartheid in South Africa is a notable example of institutionalized racial segregation.
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Dec 05, 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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