We explain what discrimination is, how it is classified, and what it is based on. Also, what are its features and solutions?

What is Discrimination?

Discrimination is one of the ways in which people, groups, or institutions act in relation to others, highlighting inequalities and placing other people as "different" and inferior in some respect.

Discrimination is a way of isolating a group, region, or nation based on peacefully establishing differences towards other people. These differences are not established by the simple fact of finding them, but rather, the culture or society that discriminates does so to the detriment of the values, customs, or ideology of those other cultures that it considers to be inferior.

In part, the feeling of discrimination arises from another concept that is ingrained in all cultures since the creation of ancient civilizations: ethnocentrism. This concept implies a way of conceiving one's own society or culture as superior to others and is intrinsically rooted in all humanity. However, from where it can lead to discrimination, a concept that implies not only devaluation but also the rejection and isolation of cultures that are considered different.

Ethnocentrism becomes discrimination when, from superiority thinking, it results in discriminatory actions and opportunities are denied to discriminated groups.

Characteristics of discrimination :

Ethnocentrism and discrimination

Ethnocentrism and discrimination

As mentioned earlier, ethnocentrism is characteristic of all societies. This concept alludes to the need to consider the culture to which a person belongs as better than the rest. This is characteristic of the entire human species and of all time.

However, negative discrimination is present when the difference becomes intolerant, it is belittled to the point of marginalizing other cultures, despising them, and attacking them both verbally and physically.


From the point of view of psychology, discrimination is prejudice. This prejudice is based on derogatory or pejorative behavior towards a group of people. However, the prejudice is not based on a foundation of a logical or certain nature on the superiority of the person who discriminates since they have no scientific or logical grounds to support the discrimination.

Types of discrimination

Types of discrimination

There are different types of discrimination:

  • Discrimination in the work area. That which occurs in the workplace.
  • Sex discrimination. That which discriminates or exercises a prejudice due to the gender difference.
  • Social discrimination. It is a type of discrimination based on the country of origin, social customs, clothing, etc., that a person has as an acquired habit.
  • Racial discrimination. It is the type of discrimination that is presented by the physical appearance of a person: skin color, eyes, height, or physical build of a person.
  • Religious discrimination. It is the prejudice that arises from the lack of tolerance and marginalization towards a type of religious belief.
  • Ideological discrimination. That which is professed since a person has political and ideological beliefs different from others.

Positive discrimination

This type of discrimination occurs when the person has the discernment to distinguish and differentiate the inequalities between two or more people or things. Discrimination without negative charge indicates that the person has the capacity for the recognition that something is different from something else. The strict term of the word discrimination does not carry any racial, xenophobic or harmful connotation to anyone.

Discrimination and the social context

Although it is correct to indicate that each society has exercised discrimination in some way or another towards other people or groups, it is also important to say that this type of negatively charged discrimination (bordering on racism) has manifested itself more specifically after the second half of the twentieth century.

The racism

The racism

In many cases, discrimination can lead to racism. To make a distinction, discrimination is the thought that other races or species are inferior in one or more aspects, while racism is acting by depriving of freedom or other benefits acquired for all humanity towards a certain society or group of individuals.


An act that surpasses racism is called xenophobia. Although they have the same root of origin as discrimination and racism, xenophobia implies, as the suffix indicates, a phobia towards something or someone. In the case of xenophobia, this implies a repulsion or rejection of everything that does not belong to the culture to which the person belongs.

Lack of foundation

Lack of foundation

Discrimination with a negative connotation (that which can turn into racism) lacks logic or foundation. In other words, a person believes that he considers himself superior to another for some reason but does not have a scientific foundation to support it, only prejudices do.

Human rights

On November 4, 2000, Protocol No. 12 on Human Rights was approved, prohibiting discrimination. Although it had previously been indicated in the declaration of human rights (in article 14) about discrimination, this time the prohibition on the denial of the enjoyment of rights provided by law is clarified.

This protocol entered into force on April 1, 2005.



We live in a world in which each human being is unique and unrepeatable. As such, it is necessary to accept inequalities in favor of these differences for cultural, social, and moral enrichment (since each culture and society has norms or customs that can favor other societies).

The recognition of difference not as a negative aspect of society but rather as a necessary difference characteristic of human beings is a concept that began to be thought only in the middle of the 20th century until today, that is, in postmodernity.

The above content published at Collaborative Research Group is for informational and educational purposes only and has been developed by referring to reliable sources and recommendations from technology experts. We do not have any contact with official entities nor do we intend to replace the information that they emit.


Anas is an editor of a prestigious publishing company in the United States. She studied Mathematics in Arizona. Anas is also a teacher and one of her long-term goals is to build an institution that offers free education to everyone who are financially not stable. .

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