Discrimination is the unequal treatment of a person or
group on the basis of their personal characteristics, which may include age, sex, sexual
orientation, ethnic identity or physical identity.
Discrimination can be behavior promoting a person or
group or against a against a person or group. Discrimination usually refers to negative
treatment, but discrimination in favour of particular groups can also occur. Setting a
condition or requirement without reasonable justification leads to discrimination. Racial
discrimination, like in South Africa in the apartheid era, on the basis of real and
perceived racial differences has been official government policy in several countries.
Competitive Threat and Workplace Discrimination
- Garcia, Lisette
Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association. -
Abstract: We have learned a great deal about racial variations in labor market
opportunity, wage differentials, and other allocative issues, yet we still know a limited
amount regarding causal processes and the mechanisms by which stratification
is reinforced in our society.
Indeed while history, differences in human capital, and
job networking are most assuredly playing a role, they do little to explain gate-keeping
and other forms of potentially discriminatory behavior at the workplace level, in
particular what drives discrimination. Sociological theory suggests that perhaps the
relative concentration of the minority group influences feelings of competition and
threat, thereby leading to discriminatory behavior on the part of those trying to protect
their position in society. This paper tests the relationship between group size and
discrimination. Few studies have been able to directly link discriminatory behavior and
the relative size of the minority group due to limitations in available data. Using a
multi-level model that combines population data with data drawn from discrimination cases
filed in the state of Ohio between 1988-2003, the author tests theories surrounding racial
competition and its effects on discrimination. Results indicate that feelings of
competition and threat across space due to concentrations of minority populations have
consequences for the ways in which discrimination is enacted and by which stratification
is maintained in American society.
Investigating the link between competition and
discrimination - Sandra E. Black
How competition affects the ability of companies to favor particular groups is a
longstanding issue in the economics literature. In a seminal work published in 1957,
economist Gary Becker argued that, over the long run, product market competition would
drive discrimination out of the marketplace.1 Beckers model as applied to the labor
market can be described in relatively general terms: employers with a "taste for
discrimination" will forego profits in order to indulge their desire to employ a
specific type of worker. For example, employers with a taste for discrimination against
women will employ less than the profit-maximizing number of women. Instead, they will hire
a greater number of equally skilled but more highly paid men. Becker goes on to say that
where markets are not perfectly competitive, that is, markets in which companies face
little product market competition, discriminating employers can exist in the market
indefinitely. Given the lack of transparency surrounding the practice of discrimination,
it has been difficult to test Becker's theory.
Perceived Discrimination and Depression:
Moderating Effects of Coping, Acculturation, and Ethnic Support - Samuel Noh, PhD
and Violet Kaspar, PhD - Am J Public Health. 2003 February; 93(2): 232238
The authors evaluated the effects of cultural norms and social contexts on coping
processes involved in dealing with perceived racial discrimination.
Cross-sectional data derived from personal interviews with Korean immigrants residing in
Toronto were analyzed. Among the respondents, active, problem-focused coping styles were
more effective in reducing the impacts on depression of perceived discrimination, while
frequent use of passive, emotion-focused coping had debilitating mental health effects.
The present findings lend greater support to a social contextual explanation than to a
cultural maintenance explanation of coping processes.
We sought to examine how racial/ethnic discrimination may be related to depression by
focusing on the ways in which individuals respond to perceived discrimination and how
personal coping responses, as well as acculturation and ethnic social support, moderate
the impact of perceived racial stigma on depressive symptoms. Stress and coping research
provides ample evidence demonstrating that psychological manifestations of social stress
are significantly mediated by personal coping behaviors. Health consequences of
discrimination also vary according to personal coping responses.
In a sample of Southeast Asian refugees residing in Canada, Noh and his colleagues found
that forbearance or emotion-focused coping diminished the strength of the link between
discrimination and depression. Such a stress-moderating effect was not found for
problem-focused coping or confrontation. It has been shown that, in comparison with White
women, Black women more often cope with sex discrimination in a passive manner, suggesting
low perceptions of controllability. The analysis of the Detroit Area Study suggested that,
among both Blacks and Whites, passive coping appeared to be the most detrimental form of
coping. Active, problem-focused coping showed the largest gains, although levels of
well-being were still significantly lower among those who adopted active coping than among
those who did not experience discrimination.