No Society has been Protected from Discrimination

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Updated: Aug 21, 2023
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Throughout the ages, records show that no society has been protected from discrimination. Forms of discrimination date back to when European colonizers infiltrated isolated societies and peoples. The more complex forms of discriminatory practices include slavery, genocide, discriminatory immigration laws, and disenfranchisement. Other forms of prejudice and discrimination, less extreme but nevertheless pervasive, include social exclusion at an institutional level, such as in schools, hospitals, and all government organizations, as well as the more subtle forms practiced by various media. Some groups suffer from more persistent forms of discrimination, like Jews in cases of anti-Semitism.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, discrimination means causing distress or worry, upsetting, and unsettling due to unfairness and distraction. Discrimination can be defined as the unfair treatment of a person or group on the basis of prejudice, leading to emotional distress such as frustration and anger, which significantly affects human well-being. In every country, there exists at least one type of discrimination that affects diverse groups of people. Discrimination is the denial of opportunities or equal rights for specific groups that can be differentiated by various factors.

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Discrimination can be based on many different characteristics, such as age, gender, weight, ethnicity, religion, and even politics, career, parental status, marital status, physical features, political beliefs or activities, and disabilities. Often, gender prejudice or discrimination is referred to as sexism. Discrimination is typically the consequence of prejudice, a preformed negative judgment or attitude. Prejudice leads people to view certain individuals or groups as less than others.

Prejudice and discrimination based on race are termed racism, directed at someone because of their color, ethnicity, or national origin. But who experiences racism? In 2015 and 2016, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people accounted for 54% of complaints received by the Commission under the Racial Discrimination Act. Indigenous Australians account for approximately 3% of the Australian population, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Reconciliation Australia’s 2016 ‘Barometer’ survey found that 37% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had experienced racial abuse in the previous six months. The Scanlon Foundation’s Australians Today survey recorded that 59% of Indigenous respondents had experienced racial discrimination in the previous 12 months.

The Scanlon Foundation survey also found that 54% of respondents with an African background had experienced discrimination in the past year, rising to 77% of South Sudanese respondents experiencing discrimination during that period. Where does racism happen? Racism can occur anywhere. Research indicates that the places where racism is experienced most frequently include neighborhoods, shops, workplaces, sporting events, public transport, schools, and the media. Why is racism a problem? Studies show that experiencing racism has profound effects on people’s health and welfare. The effects can include feelings of sadness and anger, anxiety, and depression. The regular experience of racism can lead to people withdrawing from work or study and can diminish their quality of life. It can also harm people’s freedom and dignity. Those who endure racism can be made to feel they have less freedom or are second-class citizens. In a diverse country such as Australia, the effects of racism aren’t confined to individuals; it has the potential to affect us all. Racial hostility creates a society where people don’t trust and respect each other, challenging our society’s values of equality and fairness.

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No Society has been Protected from Discrimination. (2021, Mar 27). Retrieved from