Discrimination is a treatment of making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on group, class or category to which the person or thing belongs to rather than individual merit. It can be simply explained as not allowing an individual or a group access to a social service or institution on the basis of some characteristics. Prejudice on the other hand is an attitude towards a group. It is prejudgment: making decision before been aware of the relevant facts of an event or case.
In relation to prejudice, discrimination can be termed as unequal or unlawful treatment or prejudiced outlook, which leads to difference in treatment or favor on a basis other than individual merit. That is discrimination is prejudice in action. Prejudice is the tendency of individuals to think or feel in negative ways about members to other groups; discrimination on the other hand is the actual, overt individual behavior. These two concepts are related. We have four possible combinations of prejudice and discrimination in individuals.
In two cases, the relationship between them is consistent and the other two inconsistent (Becker, 1971). Prejudiced discriminator is an all weather bigot or racism which shows high levels of discrimination. The prejudice discriminators have intense prejudice that always discriminates; their discrimination is yielded by prejudice. They have a large taste of discrimination and seldom find the costs greater than the gains. For example firm owners who believe women are poor drivers and instruct their human resource officers not to hire any female drivers.
Prejudiced non discriminators; these are people who are full of prejudice yet they do not discriminate. They are people with prejudice but do not act on it. Their prejudice do not corner them to discriminate, the find it unprofitable to express their prejudice. They have mild taste of discrimination and may be in situations where the costs of discrimination are higher than psychic gains. They feel prejudiced towards other groups for whatever reasons but choose not to discriminate. They are timid bigots.
For example the HR officer referred to in the previous example telling the firm owner that his instructions violates the Sex Discrimination Act and exposes the company to a negative image. The owner rescinds the instructions even though the HR himself believes that women are poor drivers (Nelson education n. d. ). Unprejudiced discriminator: these are people who make choices based on ethnicity though not motivated by negative attitudes. They are individuals with no individual prejudice but will mostly discriminate for the fear of peer- group prejudice or economical, political or social interests.
A personnel officer who believes women are strong enough, but wants to keep his job and fears going against he managers wishes. He therefore denies women the job of waste collectors because his managers believe women are not strong to do that job (Becker, 1971). Unprejudiced non discriminators; in belief and actions upholds the ideas of freedom and equality for all persons. They are not prejudiced against others and through principle do not discriminate. These individuals do not discriminate at all and the have very little prejudice which does not affect their decision making in any way (Nelson education n.d. ).
The possible solutions to discrimination include a good constitution that gives all races equal opportunity in to leadership; it will provide a way out for discrimination on political basis. This would usher in peace agreements, business expansion and economic growth. Well set laws would help deal with discrimination in the nations. Public- private partnership will usher in efficient local and regional solutions to combat discrimination and promote equal opportunities. Increased opportunities would reduce competition and increase diversity which is the solution to discrimination (Zampini, 2006).
Becker, G. S., (1971): The Economics of Discrimination. ISBN 0226041166, 9780226041162, University of Chicago Press
Nelson education, (n.d.): Sociology in our times. Retrieved on 23rd December 2008 from: http://www.sociologyinourtimes3e.nelson.com/chapter10/tutorial_chap10.html
Zampini, D., (2006): GC Policy Dialogue: Combating Discrimination and Promoting Equality for Decent Work. Estratto dal Compact Quarterly, volume 2006, issue 2. Retrieved on 23rd December 2008 from: http://www.denaro.it/VisArticolo.aspx?IdArt=469908&KeyW=