Discrimination - Definitions

Definitions

Moral philosophers have defined discrimination as disadvantageous treatment or consideration. This is a comparative definition. An individual need not be actually harmed in order to be discriminated against. He or she just needs to be treated worse than others for some arbitrary reason. If someone decides to donate to help orphan children, but decides to donate less, say, to black children out of a racist attitude, he or she will be acting in a discriminatory way even the people he discriminates against are actually benefitted by having some money donated to them.

Based on realistic-conflict theory and social-identity theory, Rubin and Hewstone have highlighted a distinction among three types of discrimination:

  1. Realistic competition is driven by self-interest and is aimed at obtaining material resources (e.g., food, territory, customers) for the in-group (e.g., favouring an in-group in order to obtain more resources for its members, including the self).
  2. Social competition is driven by the need for self-esteem and is aimed at achieving a positive social status for the in-group relative to comparable out-groups (e.g., favouring an in-group in order to make it better than an out-group).
  3. Consensual discrimination is driven by the need for accuracy and reflects stable and legitimate intergroup status hierarchies (e.g., favouring a high-status in-group because it is high status).

The United Nations stance on discrimination includes the statement: "Discriminatory behaviors take many forms, but they all involve some form of exclusion or rejection."

Read more about this topic:  Discrimination

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