Diversity: Harmful Effects Of Discrimination - Part 3
Prejudice is a preconceived opinion that might not be based on any real facts or personal experience, but can be formed from conclusions based on a faulty foundation. For example, growing up in a prejudiced environment and hearing expressions like: "you can’t trust those people," or "you know how they are" etc…
Discrimination, on the other hand, is the act of recognizing, seeing, and distinguishing differences and choosing to show prejudice and bias. Discrimination can also be based on simple hatred of a race, gender or a certain group, either because of personal experience or simple stereotyping.
Discrimination can be in the form of repeated mistreatment, verbal abuse, threats, humiliation, or intimidating behavior or conduct.
Ethnic prejudice, for example, is hostility or hatred based on flawed and rigid generalization of a certain ethnicity; discrimination is the act of denying individuals or groups the equal treatment that they deserve and may desire.
Discrimination can make a working place a living hell. It festers in a culture of silence, intimidation, and fear. The perpetrators depend on targets keeping quiet about the abusive behavior.
Furthermore, active discrimination includes a range of behaviors ranging from avoidance, to hatred, to physical attack and extermination or even genocide. Though both prejudice and discrimination are carried out on various levels by individuals or groups, discrimination is considered to be more damaging.
Discrimination can be felt or perceived in different scenarios such as being followed by a store security guard, getting poor service in a restaurant or being accused of doing something wrong at school or at the workplace.
The most common forms of discrimination are racial remarks, slurs, being called insulting names and being the butt of hurtful jokes. Studies have found that discrimination, racism and harassment may have significant mental and physical health consequences such as frustration, stress, anxiety, depression, possible nervous breakdown, or high blood pressure that can cause heart attacks.
Effects of discrimination physically and emotionally:
- Loss of self-esteem
- Feeling stressed or unable to cope
The long-term effects could include:
- Loss of motivation
- Reduced individual rights
- Restricted opportunities
- Limited access to services
- Mental illness caused by stress
Till we meet in part four, remember: diversity starts at home.