Definition Of Discrimination

Discrimination is the practice of treating someone differently because of that person’s perceived status or characteristics. Discrimination has been common in human societies, and sociologists study how and why it occurs in order to understand better how people interact with each other. Discrimination can be positive (in favor of a person), as when someone is offered a job because of that person’s sex. However, discrimination is often discussed as negative – for example, when someone is barred from voting because of that person’s race. When a society commonly practices discrimination via its processes and institutions, it is institutionalized; for example, if hospitals and health organizations consistently treat and research men’s health issues more than women’s health issues, they participate in institutional discrimination against women.