Individual Vs Institutional Discrimination

“Judging a person does not define who they are, it defines who You are”


Discrimination is a differential treatment based on harmful actions against a minority. The key word being -Action. Discrimination can occur based on various valuables such as age, religion, sex, cultural background and so on. It can happen at a individual level but it can also occur at a organizational level.

Individual discrimination defines discrimination as the negative treatment of one person by another. Individual discrimination creates problems, but it is primarily an issue between individuals. Meaning that the only one, who can fix individual discrimination, is the individual.


Institutional discrimination on the other hand is broader. Institutional discrimination is discrimination that has deep roots into society. It is much harder to fix because instead of just affecting an individual, it’s affecting an entire society.


Although both individual and institutional discrimination is based on the intention to harm, the dimension of behavior is quite different. Individual discrimination involves the actions of an – 2 – individual or small group of individuals. Here are some examples: a landlord who refuses to rent an apartment to a single woman, a police officer who beats a Mexican immigrant suspect, a group of teenagers who decide to paint a swastika on a Jewish temple–these are all examples of individuals acting against other individuals because of their group membership.


Further on lets see how discrimination works at a institutional level. Recent studies have shown that bankers are more likely to reject loan applications of minorities. The bankers’ argument is that whites have a better credit history. But when researchers analyzed their data, they found that even when applicants had identical credit, the African Americans and Latinos minorities were 60% more likely to be rejected. From this data, we can see that minorities are still more. This is an example that illustrates more than just an individual problem, it’s a problem that is affects the entire society.


Confronting individual or institutional discrimination requires the reexamination of basic cultural values and fundamental principles of social organization. Sometimes it is a personal choice one must take, a heritage that is to be inherited, a policy that should work for the people. But in the end, I think the answer is education. How else can we develop a sense of awareness, compassion, open-mindedness and love towards human beings?

Alexandrina Bivol










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