What Is Individual Discrimination?

Keoni Cabral/CC-BY 2.0

Individual discrimination refers to the discrimination against one person by another. It is a personal act of discrimination caused by certain negative attitudes toward another person. It can occur because of ethnic or racial differences between the affected individuals.

Discrimination refers to the arbitrary denial of opportunities, rights and privileges on the basis race, gender, sex and other aspects. Discrimination is classified into individual discrimination, institutional discrimination and structural discrimination.

Individual discrimination occurs when an individual member of a given racial or ethnic origin treats another individual of a different racial or ethnic in a discriminatory manner. People can act on their negative attitudes toward another race or ethnicity when they come across individuals of that background.

Institutional discrimination pervades the management, administrative and operational practices of institutions. The dominance of the institution by members of a certain group is the premise of institutional discrimination. Institutional discrimination is more complex than individual discrimination, because it is a social issue that depends on the entire society’s cultural beliefs, traditions and norms.

Structural discrimination refers to discrimination that arises from the institutional policies that directly or indirectly favor some individuals and hurt others. Although policies of institutions are meant to be fair to everyone, individuals with influence have ways of using them to discriminate against others.