Discrimination is defined as differential treatment based on unfair categorization. It is a denial of fairness prompted by prejudice. Forms of discrimination include racism, sexism, classism, ageism, and homophobia.
Some other relevant definitions are:
- Stereotype: An oversimplified generalization about a person or a group of people without regard for individual differences. Stereotypes may be positive or negative. They are often applied inaccurately when making judgments about an individual.
- Prejudice: An attitude, opinion or feeling without adequate prior knowledge, thought or reason.
- You go to a party with your roommate. The room is filled with people dancing. As you make your way through the crowd, you notice a Middle-Eastern-looking couple nearby. Your roommate mutters loudly enough for them to hear, "I didn't know they let terrorists come to the party!" What do you do?
- You and your teammates are all pretty good friends. As you go on the long runs every day there’s always some good conversation. However, one of your teammates frequently says, “That’s so gay” every time he doesn’t like or disagrees with something. You know that one of your teammates in the group is not comfortable discussing his sexuality. What do you do?
Make the first move:
- Be prepared. At some point you will hear or see something that is discriminatory. Know what you will say.
- Point out someone’s behavior to help them hear what they are really saying.
- Draw a line. You can’t control others but you can make others aware of what you will not tolerate. You can walk away from the situation to make a point.
- Understand your own biases and come to terms with them.
- Be respectful of all individuals and their viewpoints.
- Listen to what individuals’ lives are like and the experiences they have had in the world.
- Accept that you are responsible for any of your negative reactions.
- Don’t rush the process of trying to understand a person’s experiences or identity.
- Don’t criticize people for being different.
- Don’t force your values on others.
- Develop trust and openness and allow people to be who they are without pressure or judgment.
We express our appreciation to the University of Arizona C.A.T.S. Life Skills Program for allowing us to use modified versions of their STEP UP! Program content in this USI campus initiative.