Discrimination and racism

Although there are many people in different countries around the world, the perception of others is not always positive. Today, it is still common to denigrate someone because of their skin colour, religion or gender. Discrimination and racism are present in the world in different forms.

Discrimination and racism, what you need to know

The terms 'discrimination' and 'racism' are often used today. However, their meaning is still not clear to some. Discrimination is treating someone differently because of a particular characteristic. It usually takes the form of favouritism towards some people over others.

Racism, on the other hand, is a form of discrimination. It is based on the idea that some 'races' on Earth are better than others. For centuries, racism was strongly present in many countries. Europeans, for example, used this ideology to enslave African peoples. Until a few years ago, laws based on racism still existed in countries such as the United States.

The different forms of discrimination

Feeling superior to another person on the basis of various criteria such as a person's origin is racism. It is based on skin colour or religion. Anti-Semitism (racism towards Jews) and xenophobia (negative distinction of all other people) are also forms of racism to be aware of.

Discrimination also comes in many forms. It can be mild or more violent depending on the setting in which it occurs. Insulting or singling out people because of their skin colour or gender is a form of discrimination. There are also different variants that occur in everyday life:

  • Physical discrimination, which applies to people with a disability;
  • Gender discrimination related to a person's sexual orientation;
  • Discrimination in the workplace where some employees are paid more than others for doing the same job, etc.

Discrimination can also be seen in the property sector. Refusing to rent to people on social welfare is a form of discrimination. In the medical field, not wanting to be examined by a doctor of another origin is also racism.

The impacts of racism and discrimination

People of all ages and genders can suffer from racism and discrimination. Especially among children and young people it can have many negative impacts. Victims of these actions in the school environment can be affected in the long term.

Ostracism at a young age will damage a person's social development. Labels and rejections will lead to many negative feelings such as:

  • Lack of self-confidence
  • Distrust;
  • Rejection;
  • Marginalisation;
  • Violence.

Young people who are victims of discrimination or racism end up closing in on themselves. Their isolation is likely to lead to academic failure, which will be very detrimental to their future.

It is important to listen, be present and positive with your child in order to help and support him/her if he/she is a victim of discrimination or racism.

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