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House Passes The Equality Act: Here's What It Would Do

Danielle Kurtzleben - square 2015

Danielle Kurtzleben

anti discrimination advocacy essay

Protesters gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington where the Court on Oct. 8, 2019, as the court heard arguments in the first case of LGBT rights since the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. Susan Walsh/AP hide caption

Protesters gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington where the Court on Oct. 8, 2019, as the court heard arguments in the first case of LGBT rights since the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Updated Feb. 25, 4:39 p.m. ET

The House of Representatives voted on Thursday to pass the Equality Act, a bill that would ban discrimination against people based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It would also substantially expand the areas to which those discrimination protections apply.

It's a bill that President Biden said on the campaign trail would be one of his top legislative priorities for the first 100 days of his presidency. The House vote was largely along party lines, passing with the support of all Democrats and just three Republicans. The bill now goes to the Senate, where its fate is unclear.

When House Democrats introduced the bill last week, Biden reiterated his support in a statement: "I urge Congress to swiftly pass this historic legislation," he wrote. "Every person should be treated with dignity and respect, and this bill represents a critical step toward ensuring that America lives up to our foundational values of equality and freedom for all."

But it's also controversial — while the Equality Act has broad support among Democrats, many Republicans oppose it, fearing that it would infringe upon religious objections.

Here's a quick rundown of what the bill would do, and what chance it has of becoming law.

What would the Equality Act do?

The Equality Act would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to explicitly prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The bill has been introduced multiple times before and previously passed the House in 2019. However, the law's impact would be different in practical terms now than it was then.

That's because the Supreme Court ruled in June of last year , in Bostock v. Clayton County , that the protections guaranteed by the 1964 Civil Rights Act on the basis of sex also extend to discrimination against lesbian, gay, and transgender Americans. The logic was that a man who, for example, loses his job because he has a same-sex partner is facing discrimination on the basis of sex — that, were he a woman, he wouldn't have faced that discrimination.

Supreme Court Delivers Major Victory To LGBTQ Employees

Supreme Court Delivers Major Victory To LGBTQ Employees

This act would explicitly enshrine those nondiscrimination protections into law for sexual orientation and gender identity, rather than those protections being looped in under the umbrella of "sex." However, the Equality Act would also substantially expand those protections.

The Civil Rights Act covered discrimination in certain areas, like employment and housing. The Equality Act would expand that to cover federally funded programs, as well as "public accommodations" — a broad category including retail stores and stadiums, for example.

("Public accommodations" is also a category that the bill broadens, to include online retailers and transportation providers, for example. Because of that, many types of discrimination the Civil Rights Act currently prohibits — like racial or religious discrimination — would now also be explicitly covered at those types of establishments.)

One upshot of all of this, then, is that the Equality Act would affect businesses like flower shops and bakeries that have been at the center of discrimination court cases in recent years — for example, a baker who doesn't want to provide a cake for a same-sex wedding .

In Narrow Opinion, Supreme Court Rules For Baker In Gay-Rights Case

In Narrow Opinion, Supreme Court Rules For Baker In Gay-Rights Case

Importantly, the bill also explicitly says that it trumps the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (commonly known by its acronym RFRA). The law, passed in 1993, set a higher bar for the government to defend laws if people argued those laws infringed upon religious freedom.

Under the Equality Act, an entity couldn't use RFRA to challenge the act's provisions, nor could it use RFRA as a defense to a claim made under the act.

What proponents say

Supporters say that the Equality Act simply extends basic, broadly accepted tenets of the Civil Rights Act to classes of people that the bill doesn't explicitly protect.

"Just as [a business] would not be able to turn away somebody for any other prohibited reason in the law, they would not be able to do that for LGBTQ people either. And we think that's a really important principle to maintain," said Ian Thompson, senior legislative representative at the ACLU.

The bill also would be national, covering states that do not have LGBTQ anti-discrimination laws. According to the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy organization, 27 states do not have those laws.

Supporters additionally say the bill would cement protections that could otherwise be left up to interpretation.

Biden Signs Most Far-Reaching Federal Protections For LGBTQ People Yet

"President Biden issued an executive order directing agencies to appropriately interpret the Bostock ruling to apply not just to employment discrimination, but to other areas of law where sex discrimination is prohibited, including education, housing, and health care," the Human Rights Campaign wrote in support of the bill . "However, a future administration may refuse to interpret the law this way, leaving these protections vulnerable."

And with regard to RFRA, proponents argue that the bill would keep entities from using that law as a "license to discriminate," wording echoed by Human Rights Watch and many other Equality Act supporters.

What opponents say

The question of religious freedom is the main issue animating people against the Equality Act.

Douglas Laycock, a law professor at the University of Virginia, has criticized the Equality Act since its 2019 introduction. He told NPR in an email that the law is "less necessary" now, after the Bostock decision.

Furthermore, while he supports adding sexual orientation and gender identity to federal anti-discrimination statutes, Laycock believes that this bill goes too far in limiting people's ability to defend themselves against discrimination claims.

"It protects the rights of one side, but attempts to destroy the rights of the other side," he said. "We ought to protect the liberty of both sides to live their own lives by their own identities and their own values."

How The Fight For Religious Freedom Has Fallen Victim To The Culture Wars

How The Fight For Religious Freedom Has Fallen Victim To The Culture Wars

Another key fear among opponents of the Equality Act is that it would threaten businesses or organizations that have religious objections to serving LGBTQ people, forcing them to choose between operating or following their beliefs.

Could it pass?

The Democratic-led House passed the Equality Act in 2019 with unanimous support from Democrats (as well as support from eight Republicans), and it passed in similar fashion in the current Democratic House.

The Senate is more uncertain. Democrats in the Senate broadly support the bill. Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, among the most moderate Democratic senators, signed a letter in support of it last year .

But the bill would need 60 votes to avoid a filibuster in the Senate. Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins cosponsored the bill in 2019, but not all of her fellow, more moderate Republicans are on board. Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, for example, told the Washington Blade that he won't support the act, citing religious liberty.

"Sen. Romney believes that strong religious liberty protections are essential to any legislation on this issue, and since those provisions are absent from this particular bill, he is not able to support it," his spokesperson told the Blade.

It's uncertain how other moderate Republicans might vote. Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who supported the narrower Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) in 2013, has yet to respond to NPR's questions about her support of the Equality Act.

And while Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who likewise supported ENDA, didn't give a definitive answer on his support, his response made it clear that he could object to it on religious grounds.

"Rob opposes discrimination of any kind, and he also believes that it's important that Congress does not undermine protections for religious freedom," his office said in a statement. "He will review any legislation when and if it comes up for a vote in the Senate."

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FIGHT Racism

75 years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights , the urgency of combatting racism and racial discrimination remains.

Every day, each and every one of us can stand up against racial prejudice and disrespectful attitudes. Let’s build a world beyond racism and discrimination, where we all exercise our human rights.

Be a human rights champion! Join us in fighting racism!

Wherever we see racism, we must condemn it without reservation, without hesitation, without qualification.” ANTÓNIO GUTERRES , United Nations Secretary-General

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Why fight racism?

How can we do it, who is vulnerable.

In 1965, the international community adopted a convention by which they committed to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination. The Convention is now nearing universal ratification. Yet still, all around the world too many suffer from the injustice and stigma that racism brings.

No country can claim to be free of racism, racism is a global concern, and tackling it requires a universal effort. — Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA)

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The SDGs were adopted by all UN Member States. See how anti-discrimination helps support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development .

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Learn more at un.org/hate-speech

The event is held to recognize the significant role of higher education and academics in the global efforts to promote human dignity and inclusion in times when dissemination of hatred is alarming and rising.

A Revealing Look at our Past

The Slavery Remembrance Exhibition from Amsterdam’s renowned Rijksmuseum is on display at United Nations Headquarters. Opened in February 2023, “Slavery: Ten True Stories of Dutch Colonial Slavery” is a joint initiative from the UN's Outreach Programme on the Transatlantic Slave Trade and Slavery and the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations, in partnership with the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam’s national museum of art and history.

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Choosing love and finding power in Blackness

For the past five years, Monique Rodrigues do Prado (a Brazilian lawyer of African descent) has been studying love as a tool for Black emancipation and to imagine a world free from racism and the other legacies of enslavement, the trade in enslaved Africans and colonialism. Her philosophy is inspired by Black feminist authors such as Bell Hooks who, in her seminal book, "All About Love".

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KING CLAVE is a "Playing For Change and Planet Drum" global musical performance supported by UNFPA to mark the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action. Through the rhythms of this song, hearts are connected and differences disappear, illuminating how deeply humanity is interconnected and revealing the truth of the adage: we are one.

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Professional Social Work Magazine

Professional Social Work Magazine (PSW)

‘it became clear that i have experienced racism’.

Tosin Sofowora

Published by Professional Social Work magazine, 4 October, 2023

A new writing competition run by BASW’s Black Person’s Symposium sought submissions from social workers on issues of race and colour. Winner of the inaugural competition was Tosin Sofowora, a MA social work student at the University of East Anglia. Her essay is reproduced in full and unedited below.

Reflective Essay on ‘Anti-racism in Social Work’ presentation by Pam Shodeinde 2021 

Written by Tosin Sofowora (MA Social Work student)

  • Introduction

This essay is a reflection on the ‘Anti-racism in Social Work’ presentation by Pam Shodeinde. The presentation resonates with me both personally and in my practice as a social work student.  As an international student with a background in law, I have, in my practice of law, advocated for social justice and the promotion of the rights of people. However, issues surrounding racism became very apparent to me when I moved to England. In this reflective essay, I will write about how the presentation resonates with me and how it has informed my social work practice during my first-level placement.

My Experience  

Being the only international student in my class made me very conscious of my difference in so many ways. It also made me aware of the intersections existing even within black ethnic groups. For instance, although there were other black social work students in my class, my difference was exhibited in my accent (which is not ‘British’), my cultural background, my experience, beliefs and world view which have shaped my background. I never imagined that I would experience racism neither did I think I had experienced racism because I thought racism had to be some overt act of discrimination based on one’s difference. However, reflecting on the meaning of racism given in the presentation - “ beliefs, attitudes and behaviours, institutional and systemic approaches that belittle and devalues a group based on the colour of their skin ” makes it clear to me that I have (in fact) experienced racism. These racist acts are usually in the form of racial microaggressions, unconscious biases and stereotyping even if they come from a place of ignorance. For instance, a classmate, in a bid to sound or be empathetic, once expressed how difficult it must be for me to write in English since ‘ English is not my first Language’ . The misconceptions and unconscious biases I have experienced and witnessed have made me speak up to educate people about my culture.  I have had to enlighten my white colleagues and correct certain notions and stereotypes they had. However, just as the presenter noted, the responsibility of educating should not be on the Person of Colour (PoC). When considering the four dimensions of racism from my experience, interpersonal racism applies the most. 

My Social Work Placement Practice

My first-level placement was in a secondary school situated in an urban town. The school had about 950 students aged 11 years to 16 years who are predominately White-British with only about 5% of the students and staff from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups. The approximately 200 staff of the school were also predominantly White-British with only about 0.5% of them from BME groups. The underrepresentation of BME staff in the school was very concerning to me because there was a massive opening up of the town to people and professionals of colour. I identified that within the school there were various support groups for students of minority groups like young carers, LGBTQ+ etc but no support group for BME group students. Meanwhile, I interacted with some black students particularly those who had just migrated to England, and they shared their struggles with me. Interestingly, I could relate to some of the struggles they shared with me. I identified the need for a support group for the BME group student and with the approval of the school authority, I created a BME group where I facilitated sessions with the BME students.  The sessions aimed to acknowledge diversity and promote equality and inclusion within the school. It was also to create a safe place where the BME students could offload and get their wishes and feelings about their experiences in the school. During the session, we discussed issues around racism, bullying, prejudices, and biases against them and at the end of my placement, I presented a report to the school’s vice-principal and designated safeguarding officer where I summarised the voices of the BME students and made recommendations based on their wishes and feelings. The school promised to share my recommendations with the student council and consider the recommendations proffered.

The fact that the school lacked an awareness of the needs of the BME students or had no support group for BME students like other minority groups buttresses the school’s lack of awareness of cultural diversity and multicultural education. I also noticed that just like many social work organisations, there was no active stance on anti-racism. At best, the school operated a ‘non-racist’ posture without taking any practical steps to promote equality and inclusion.  The school’s level of commitment to anti-racism is evidenced only through an equality statement published on its website. While this is a step in the right direction, the aim of the school, as demonstrated in the presentation should be to publish an anti-racism action plan that should be binding on all students and staff of the school.

Finally, my experience during my first level placement reinforces the presenter’s research on the underrepresentation of PoC in the use of early help or Family support services and the overrepresentation of PoC in social services involvement or Tier Four services without family support. I observed that BME students in school hardly made use of the pastoral support nor were they known to the safeguarding officers. In other words, BME students were underrepresented in accessing support within the school. No doubt, this could be because of some reasons: (i) the low number of BME students in the school; (ii) fear of reporting safeguarding concerns; (iii) lack of awareness of the support available; and (iv) no need for support. 

This essay reflects on Pamela Shodeinde’s presentation titled ‘Anti-racism in Social Work’. The writer resonates with the topic in a personal and professional capacity and has shared how she has dealt with racism in her personal life and her social work practice as a student on placement. 

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Speech: “We must be united to end racism as well as gender inequality”

Date: Wednesday, 17 June 2020

[As delivered]

Madam President, distinguished delegates,

UN Women believes that women are part of their lived experiences. These experiences impact on who they become, as well as on their families. These experiences may be religious, racial, cultural, or related to sexual orientation.

The Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent have highlighted that girls and women of African Descent are likely to be poorer, to be less educated and to have fewer opportunities everywhere in the world.

We are now seeing an outpouring of solidarity, with people protesting in the streets against systemic and brutal racism.

We need to fight against racism, too, in our own institutions and everywhere in the world; because only if we are united, we will build back together after COVID-19.

In fighting apartheid, it took people of the world also to be in solidarity and to fight together and help to end apartheid.

This time has come again. We must be united to end racism as well as gender inequality in the world.

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618 Thought-provoking Discrimination Essay Ideas & Examples

📜 history of discrimination & essay writing tips, 🏆 best discrimination topic ideas & essay examples, 🥇 most interesting discrimination topics to write about, ⚡ shocking discrimination essay examples, 🎓 good discrimination research topic ideas, 📌 discrimination speech topics and prompts, 📝 simple & easy discrimination topics for essay, ❓discrimination research paper question.

Discrimination essays are an essential part of historical and social sciences because of the influence of the practice on past and current humanity. In this article we will reveal the brief lookback to the history of discrimination and its causes, and provide a list of discrimination topics for essay, as well as paper examples on gender, disability, and racial inequality.

Past practices such as slavery were a result of discriminatory racist beliefs, and it took a long time for African Americans to be acknowledged as equal under law to other races.

Even then, the school of thought was not eradicated, and ethnic minorities as well as women would be oppressed by segregation and unequal opportunities until the emergence of the civil rights movement in the second half of the 20th century.

Even today, discriminatory practices arguably continue, and the debate around their existence draws considerable attention. You can use any of these topics to write an outstanding essay by following the guidelines below.

Discussions of slavery as a form of discrimination will usually be historic in nature, as they will discuss the practice as applied in the United States and other countries in the same region, but the notion offers discrimination essay topics for periods including modernity.

Before the Civil War, many people believed that black people were inferior to whites in some way, possibly due to the disparity between the advancement of African and European civilizations.

As such, even free black people would undergo harassment and risk being enslaved again if they did not leave for a territory that did not have the practice. The topic has been well researched, and so you can and should the wealth of information available to paint an accurate picture.

Even after the abolition of slavery, discriminatory views and practices persisted in many places. Examples included segregation practices where black people would be confined to ghettos and not allowed to visit various institutions.

The civil rights movement arose in the 1960s aimed to right that injustice, but eventually expanded to encompass more marginalized groups, such as women. Gender bias was prevalent at the time, with women being seen as housewives who could not work as well as men.

The success of the feminist message changed that perception and enabled women to choose their life freely. The various efforts and successes of the movement can provide you with ideas for an interesting work.

Ultimately, discrimination is being called out to this day, though many people hold the opinion that it has been mostly or completely eliminated in most advanced countries.

Nevertheless, many modern industries are affected by claims of faults such as gender discrimination, expressed as phenomena such as disproportionate hiring of males or a disparity in earnings between the sexes.

Other instances of modern discrimination are more concrete, such as the severe punishments for homosexuality practiced in some Muslim countries to this day. Humanity is still not entirely equal, and to progress towards that goal, we must identify and address issues.

Here are some additional tips that will improve the general quality of your essay:

  • Surround your discrimination essay body with an introduction and a conclusion. The former describes the topic and provides the reader with a thesis that names the central idea of the essay. The latter sums up the essay and provides some closing words.
  • Separate different sections of your paper with titles that identify their topics. This practice improves the essay’s structure and appearance, making it easier for the reader to navigate it, especially if you use well-designed discrimination essay titles.

Find excellent discrimination essay examples and other useful samples for your work on IvyPanda!

  • Causes of Discrimination in Society The main causes of discrimination are racial prejudices, gender, national and religious stereotypes, social categorization, and sexual orientation. Racial profiling is one of the vivid examples of racial discrimination and racial prejudices.
  • A Personal Experience of Discrimination It was then that I experience ostracism and discrimination in the hands of the joyous Parisians. My friends had always praised the shopping district in Paris and I finally had a chance to witness the […]
  • BMW Group’s Pricing Strategy and Discrimination Therefore, the company makes use of this strategy to leverage its products in the market. This strategy is commonly used before the launch of a new product.
  • The Challenges of Racism Influential for the Life of Frederick Douglass and Barack Obama However, Douglass became an influential anti-slavery and human rights activist because in the early childhood he learnt the power of education to fight inequality with the help of his literary and public speaking skills to […]
  • Racism and Discrimination as Social Constructs This is because the concept of race has a negative connotation in the society. For example in some societies, especially the western society; the concept of race implies un-fair treatment and discrimination of a particular […]
  • Bipolar Disorder in the Muslim and Discrimination of People With This Mental Illness However, the largest proportion of Muslims believes that there is a significant association of mental illnesses like bipolar disorder and evil spirits.
  • Was Ernest Hemingway a Misogynist? A Sexism Hemingway does not hide the uselessness of Wilson in the eyes of Margot; she only uses him as a toy, and even after they have sex Hemingway still questions it.
  • Essay on Social Class Inequality & Discrimination In this paper, I analyze three articles on social class and inequality to find out whether the authors’ views agree with mine on the negative attitudes towards the poor by the middle class and the […]
  • Discussion of Language Discrimination Moreover, while Kina preferred to be silent in front of lawyers and solicitors, Daisy Li could speak up on the matter even with her “broken” English.
  • Discrimination in School Based on the data in this case, describe the behaviour of the students in this class The children’s behaviour displays racial discrimination owing to their treatment of the new coloured student in class.
  • Racial Discrimination in “A Raisin in the Sun” Racial discrimination is the main theme of the book, strongly reflecting the situation that prevailed during the 1950s in the United States, a time when the story’s Younger family lived in Chicago’s South Side ghetto.
  • Discrimination Causes, Effects and Types As shown in the above definition, discrimination is unjust because it involves classifying a given group of people based on characteristics that make them look unfit to be part of the rest of the group.
  • Prejudice and Discrimination Among Students The goal of this study is to investigate the peculiarities of prejudicial and discriminatory treatment among students and explain their correlation with anxiety and depression.
  • Sarah Baartman: A Victim of Discrimination The life of Sara Baartman continues to attract the attention of people who are interested in the history of colonialism and slavery. This is one of the details that attract the attention of the viewer.
  • Age Discrimination at the Workplace The first step to preventing age discrimination in a company is for the management to understand the meaning of age discrimination and its effects on the company.
  • Gender Discrimination in the Workplace Essay This essay will document gender bias and gender discrimination in the context of social and physical and the social confines of the work place that is experienced at work in the context of United States […]
  • Maya Angelou: Racism and Segregation in “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” An example is that, as she fails to recite her poem in church, she notes that her dress is probably a handout from a white woman.
  • Racial Discrimination Effects in Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody The vivid description of events from the beginning gives the reader a clear picture of a girl who was born in problems and in spite of her intelligence she always became a victim of circumstances.
  • AIDS Discrimination in “Philadelphia” (1993) by Jonathan Demme “Philadelphia” is the film that appeared on the screens at the end of the 20th century. He is a lawyer, who copes with his duties easily and is known as one of the best professionals.
  • Racism and Motherhood Themes in Grimke’s “Rachel” In addition, her mother kept the cause of the deaths of Rachel’s father and brother secret. In essence, the play Rachel is educative and addresses some of the challenges people face in society.
  • Contrast Between Tituba and John Indian and Countering Racism The declaration suggests that Conde believed the story of Tituba’s maltreatment needed to be told to expose the truth she had been denied due to her skin color and gender.
  • Anti-discrimination Legislation Under the provisions of the sexual discrimination Act, a person who displays any behavior that is deemed to be sexually harassing in a nature will be held responsible for their behavior.
  • Cause and Effect of Racial Discrimination Irrespective of massive efforts to emphasize the role of diversity and equality in society, it is still impossible to state that the United States is free from racial discrimination.
  • Discrimination in Education and Unfair Admission The significance of equality in education is due to the natural development of society and the transition to a civilized order, where any manifestations of bias for various reasons are unacceptable.
  • Discrimination as Part of Society Thus, the authors focus on the analytical analysis of any phenomenon of discrimination: the study of social, historical, political, and other aspects that have an impact on the growth of oppression of certain groups.
  • Racial Discrimination at the Workplace The main change that is discussed in this essay is the introduction of legislation that will see the creation of a special authority that is aimed at guaranteeing the freedom of all workers at the […]
  • Discrimination at the Workplace: Legislations Regarding Discrimination In addition, the law was also instrumental in the establishment of the EEOC, a body charged with the responsibility of implementing this particular law, along with other laws that seeks to protect employees against discrimination […]
  • Discrimination at Workplaces The current increase in the temporary, part-time wage work and other forms of employment that is not covered by labor laws and policies in Canada has contributed a lot to cases of discrimination and other […]
  • Is Troy Maxson (Wilson’s Fences) a Victim of Racism? As a black American, Troy’s childhood experiences have been passed on to his children, making him a victim of an oppressive culture. Therefore, this makes Troy a victim of racism and culture, contributing to his […]
  • Classism as a Complex Issue of Discrimination Classism is not an issue that affects just a small sector of the population. To facilitate justice in society, the issue of classism needs to be studied.
  • Prejudice and Discrimination What I can say about myself is that being in a group while studying the nature of bias and discrimination was a useful experience.
  • Misogyny and Sexism in Policing A solution to solving sexism and misogyny in policing is increasing the number of female police officers and educating on gender bias.
  • The Issue of Discrimination Within American Ethnicity by Aguirre and Turner The white ethnics managed to blend with the overall population and advance the educational and occupational aspects by adhering to culture, speech, value, and other features of the Anglo-Saxon core.
  • Gender-Based Discrimination in the Workplace In order to give a good account of the effects of gender-based discrimination against women, this paper examines the space of women in the automotive engineering industry.
  • Immigration and Discrimination in the Workplace The ability to see a big picture and the need to appreciate the contribution of immigrants to U.S.economy will reduce the incidences of discrimination in the workplace.
  • The Anatomy of Scientific Racism: Racialist Responses to Black Athletic Achievement Miller is of the view that it is the white scholars that are responsible for impeding the success of black athletes and performers.
  • Controversy of Gender and Race Discrimination Gender and race issues should be well tackled, for instance, in some of the societies men are believed to be superior to women and hold all the important positions in the society.
  • Sexism, Racism, Ableism, Ageism, Classism The absurdity and blatant sexism of this issue made me angry at how the United States is unable to resolve and overcome the lack of gender equality.
  • Coca-Cola Discrimination Issues Therefore, the essay discusses the discrimination issues raised by four African-Americans that led to a lawsuit, examines actions that would have prevented or minimized the lawsuit, and considers the company’s structural and human resource perspectives […]
  • Root Causes and Solutions to Racism Media is meant to eradicate racism and maintain unity among people but the case is different in some situations. Also, it is vital to make children understand nothing is amusing in the use of stereotypes […]
  • The Discrimination Disparity Continuum. Bill Macumber Though these guidelines are available and are supposed to be the guide for the justice system, there have been cases when there have been a miscarriage of justice, which has led to the conviction of […]
  • Anthem by Ayn Rand: Discrimination Theme In the book, the theme of liberty is presented as the opposite of discrimination, and there is a category representing liberty in this book.
  • Accent Discrimination and the Harmful Effects The learners of English as a second language have been greatly affected because of the discrimination faced from other individuals because of the difference in pronunciation.
  • Discrimination against Immigrants Immigrants face different types of discrimination in the course of their stay in the U. The most common types of discrimination that the immigrants in the U.
  • Discrimination in Sarah Baartman’s Life Besides her treatment as an object of racial inferiority and medical research, Bartman’s experience manifested the intersection of various forms of discrimination, such as, gender, race, nationality, and class discrimination. Bartman’s experience was a manifestation […]
  • Discrimination of Black Women During Pregnancy To sum up, some data show that there are prominent healthcare disparities among black women and white women during the carriage and delivery of a child.
  • Discrimination Against Women and Protecting Laws In response to the great discrimination of women, international women conferences have played a significant role in assisting in formulation and enacting of appropriate discrimination laws to curtail gender bias.
  • Racism and Gender in Beyoncé’s Lemonade The album Lemonade by an American singer Beyonce is one of the brightest examples when an artist portrays the elements of her culture in her music. Along with music videos, the album features a number […]
  • Prejudice and Discrimination in Diverse Organizations Prejudice, discrimination and stereotyping are common in an organization and each one of them has its effects which directly or indirectly influence an organization.
  • Black or White Racism When one listens to the “Black or White” song, it is clear that Michael Jackson is not expecting his audience to be either white or black people to listen and learn the message he is […]
  • Racial Discrimination Through the Cosmetics Industry The variety of preconceptions such as the hypersexuality of black women and the perception of their beauty as an unideal version of whites’ one also indicates racism.
  • The Pink Tax Issue: Economic Discrimination Against Women Opponents of the Pink Tax argue that it denies women of agency and choice by implying that women are susceptible to a marketing strategy that prevents them from selecting cheaper products.
  • Wearing Headscarves and Workplace Discrimination Johnson’s unwillingness to compromise and adjust to the plaintiff’s needs aggravates the case. Johnson’s preoccupation with the employee’s safety and appeased the fear of losing patrons due to Ms.
  • The Life of Muslims in the USA and Discrimination The life of Muslims in the USA is a topic of numerous researches. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the group that should present Islamic perspective to the American audience, is believed to be radical and […]
  • Sociology: Prejudice and Discrimination in India The Dalits and the Adivasis and other classes of Indian Society are pursuing the erasure of the age old caste system with the new Indian socialist revolution.
  • Sexism in Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Works Most of the works show the oppression of women’s rights and women in general, which is confirmed by the absence of a mother’s archetype.
  • How Racism Makes Us Sick: Public Talk That Matters As a developing learner, I find this speech as a good example of how to raise such provocative themes as racism in the United States and not to be obsessed with prejudice.
  • The Problem of Racism in Brazilian Football Skidmore describes it as the relationships that could result into conflict and consciousness and determination of the people’s status in a community or a particular group. In football, racism damages pride of the players and […]
  • Does Racism and Discrimination Still Exist Today? This fact explains why racism and discrimination are inseparable in many parts of the globe. Sex discrimination continues to affect the goals and expectations of many women in our society.
  • Sexism in the English Language Issue The degree of sexism in the attitude of the speaker while using English is also indicative of the cultural differences in attitude towards sexism in language.
  • Discrimination at Publix Incorporation Despite the claim by the management of Publix Incorporation that the firm is committed to ensuring non-discrimination; the firm has not effectively implemented policies aimed at abating discrimination.
  • Segregation and Discrimination in My Left Foot This is because Christy Brown is given the chance to stay with his family, and in due course, he shows how talented he is by making use of the only part of his body that […]
  • Pressing Issues in Femininity: Gender and Racism When speaking of the current issues in femininity, women are not reduced to their roles of housewives to the extent to which they used to be.
  • Racism: De Brahm’s Map and the Casta Paintings However, De Brahm’s map is one of the most striking pieces of evidence of the conquest of space and the entrenchment of the idea of land and people as titular property.
  • Racism and Inequality in Society The idea of race as a social construct is examined in the first episode of the documentary series “The Power of an Illusion”.
  • Anti-Racism: Marginalization and Exclusion in Healthcare This essay examines the course’s impact and the concepts of marginalization and exclusion in healthcare. Marginalization is a concept that has profoundly influenced the understanding of race and racism in healthcare.
  • Workplace Discrimination: Types and Regulations In the 1970s and the 1990s, disability rights evolved with the introduction of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • The Issue of Racism in the United States The entire history of the United States is permeated with the evolution of the ideas of racism. Turning to history, we can see that the U.S.moved from slavery to using the Black population to solve […]
  • History of Racial Discrimination in Haiti and America The choice of topic, racial discrimination in Haiti and America, was influenced by beliefs, values, and assumptions emphasizing the importance of equality and justice for all races.
  • Racism and History of Discrimination As a result, advocacy should be aimed at creating new models in criminal justice that will ensure the protection of all minority groups and due process.
  • Racial Discrimination and Color Blindness Of the three ideologies, racial harmony is considered the most appropriate for coping with problems of racism and racial injustice due to various reasons.
  • Race, Racism, and Dangers of Race Thinking While it is true that some forms of race thinking can be used to justify and perpetuate racism, it is not necessarily the case that all forms of race thinking are inherently racist. Race thinking […]
  • LGBTQ+ (Queer) Military Discrimination in Healthcare Furthermore, the subject is relevant to the field of psychology as the current phenomenon examines discrimination in healthcare both from the psychological outcomes experienced by veterans as well as the perception of LGBTQ+ patients through […]
  • Racial Discrimination in American Literature In this way, the author denies the difference between people of color and whites and, therefore, the concept of racism in general.
  • Discrimination at Work and Persistent Poverty While discrimination remains contributing to persistent poverty, organizations may benefit from blind hiring, an inclusive and accepting culture, and visible leadership to ensure efficient diversity management on a long-term basis. In conclusion, discrimination remains a […]
  • Racism in the US: Settler Imperialism They prove that colonial imperialism is a structure, not a contextual phenomenon and that, as such, it propagates the marginalization of native people.
  • Why Empathy in Racism Should Be Avoided Empathy is the capacity to comprehend and experience the emotions and ideas of others. Moreover, empathic emotions are essential to social and interpersonal life since they allow individuals to adapt their cognitive processes to their […]
  • Discrimination Against African-American Patients The study results are inconsistent due to the selected approach and limited sample size. The study focused on the personal experiences of a small local group of African-American patients, primarily elderly females, not allowing for […]
  • Racial Discrimination in High Education This peer-reviewed scholar article was found in the JSTOR database through entering key words “race affirmative action” and marking the publication period between 2017 and 2022.
  • Discrimination Against Survivors of Canada’s Indian Residential Schools According to Schwetizer, such institutions were characterized by poor conditions, heavy workloads, and the oppression of cultural attributes, through the use of which the government expected to adapt the aboriginal people to society’s standards.
  • Social Sciences: Racism Through Different Lenses A thorough analysis of diversity adds value to social interactions by informing human behavior through a deeper understanding of racism and its impacts on society. Using the humanities lens leads to a better understanding of […]
  • Successful Bias Lawsuits: Texas Company in Employment Discrimination Case The allegation was filed by the Department of Labor’s office in 2020, after the evidence indicated a shortfall of black and Asian employees at the company.
  • Racial Discrimination in Dormitory Discrimination is considered to be behavior that restricts the rights and freedoms of the individual. Therefore, it is essential to investigate discrimination in dormitories and propose solutions to this problem, such as disseminating knowledge about […]
  • Racism and Its Impact on Populations and Society The ignorance of many individuals about other people’s cultures and ethnicities is one of the causes of racism. One can examine the various components of society and how they relate to the issue of racism […]
  • Eliminating Discrimination: Poems From “Counting Descent” by Clint Smith The poems illustrated how the world is passed, what the ocean said to the black boy, and what the cicada said to the black boy.
  • Institutionalized Racism and Individualistic Racism Excellent examples of individualistic racism include the belief in white supremacy, racial jokes, employment discrimination, and personal prejudices against black people. Overall, institutionalized and individualistic racism is a perversive issue that affects racial relations in […]
  • Community Engagement with Racism To enhance the population’s degree of involvement in racism, the study calls for collaboration; this can be seen as a community effort to foster a sense of teamwork.
  • LGBT Discrimination Research Prospects: An Analysis The aim of this assignment is to summarize the research that has been done on LGBT discrimination, particularly in the workplace and during the recruiting process.
  • Discrimination Against the Elderly Population in the Medical Field The first week I was preoccupied, being my first time interacting with the older patients and also the fact that it was my first week and I was just getting used to the environment.
  • The Pricing Policy of Price Discrimination The equilibrium price of a commodity from the point of view of a free market is formed at the intersection of supply and demand, which fluctuates depending on many factors.
  • Racism Detection with Implicit Association Test Racial bias is deeply rooted in human society and propelled by norms and stereotypic ideologies that lead to implicit bias and the unfair treatment of minority groups.
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act The law ADEA, which stands for The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, exhausts assumptions or beliefs that age affects a person’s ability to work.
  • Identity and Belonging: Racism and Ethnicity In the documentary Afro Germany – Being Black and German, several individuals share their stories of feeling mistreated and excluded because of their skin color.
  • Policies to Eliminate Racial Disparities and Discrimination The solution to exclusion is to build social inclusion in the classroom and within the school by encouraging peer acceptance, cross-group friendships, and built-in prevention.
  • Living With HIV: Stigma and Discrimination The mental health and emotional well-being of the population living with this virus are affected due to the humiliation and judgment they face from their fellows around them.
  • Causes, Facilitators, and Solutions to Racism These theories suggest that racism serves a particular function in society, occurs due to the interactions of individuals from dominant groups, and results from a human culture of prejudice and discrimination.
  • Racial Discrimination and Justice in Education An example is the complaint of the parents of one of the black students that, during the passage of civilizations, the Greeks, Romans, and Incas were discussed in the lessons, but nothing was said about […]
  • Empathy and Racism in Stockett’s The Help and Li’s To Kill a Mockingbird To start with, the first approach to racism and promoting empathy is to confront prevalent discrimination and racism, which was often shown in The Help. Another solution to racism and the possibility of promoting empathy […]
  • Education in Canada and Discrimination In general, the immersion in the history of the residential school system on the basis of related articles, videos, and music has left a highly oppressive feeling.
  • Discrimination in the US Healthcare Sector More than 70% of those who buy insurance plans via the exchanges are also estimated to be entitled to tax credits, which will further lower their rates in addition to the lower premiums.
  • Racism in the Healthcare Sector In 2020, the cases and instances of racism in healthcare rose by 16% from 2018; there were notable instances of racism in various spheres of health. 9% of blacks have been protected from discrimination and […]
  • The Airline Industry: Sex Discrimination Although some females and males are fighting these stereotypes, there has been a culture in the airline industry to give females the flight attendant jobs and males the piloting jobs. Similarly, the roles of male […]
  • Individual and Structural Discrimination Toward LGBT (Queer) Military Personnel Consequently, LGBT military personnel are potentially even more vulnerable to mental health issues due to the combined stress of being LGBT and being in the military.
  • Racism in Healthcare and Education The mission should emphasize that it promotes diversity and equality of all students and seeks to eliminate racial bias. It is necessary to modify the mission to include the concept of inclusiveness and equality.
  • Equal Opportunity and Discrimination Thus, if a female individual feels denied a job opportunity due to the employer’s attitude to her possible pregnancy, she can apply to the Equal employment opportunity commission and ask for an investigation. EO serves […]
  • Institutional Racism in the Workplace Despite countless efforts to offer African-Americans the same rights and opportunities as Whites, the situation cannot be resolved due to the emergence of new factors and challenges.
  • Racism in Education in the United States Such racial disparities in the educational workforce confirm the problem of structural racism and barrier to implementing diversity in higher medical education. Structural racism has a long history and continues to affect the growth of […]
  • Individuals With Disabilities: Prejudice and Discrimination I researched that people with persistent medical or physical disorders, such as cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis, who have speech, articulation, or communication impairments, for example, are sometimes seen as having an intellectual deficiency. Corey […]
  • Rhetoric in Obama’s 2008 Speech on Racism When the audience became excited, it was Obama’s responsibility to convey his message in a more accessible form. To conclude, Obama’s speech in 2008 facilitated his election as the first African American President in history.
  • How to Talk to Children About Racism The text begins by referring to recent events that were related to race-based discrimination and hatred, such as the murder of George Floyd and the protests dedicated to the matter.
  • Care for Real: Racism and Food Insecurity Care for Real relies on the generosity of residents, donation campaigns, and business owners to collect and deliver these supplies. The research article discusses some of the factors that contribute to the creation of racism […]
  • Racism Towards Just and Holistic Health Therefore, the critical content of the event was to determine the steps covered so far in the fight for racial equality in the provision of care and what can be done to improve the status […]
  • People With Mental Illnesses: Stigma, Prejudice, and Discrimination The post raises awareness of the highly important and rarely discussed topic of stigma, prejudice, and discrimination against people with mental illnesses, which are not only harmful on their own but also make such individuals […]
  • Workplace Discrimination: Impact of Family-Friendly Policies There is a reduction in the number of compulsory working hours, allowing employees more time to spend with their families and children.
  • Discrimination Culture in Saudi Oil and Gas Sector The purpose of this paper is to inspect the interrelationship between the organizational culture and discrimination in the O&G sector in Saudi Arabia.
  • Racism and Related Issues in Canadian Society The first issue is that it does not review the systemic and structural aspects of racism and how it affects various institutions and society as a whole.
  • LGBTQ+ Families: Discrimination and Challenges The family model directly affects the social status of family members and the well-being of children. LGBTQ+ families’ wealth level is lower than that of families in the neighborhood due to labor discrimination.
  • Public Discrimination Based on the Status of Vaccination from COVID-19 It should be noted that COVID-19 is not a rare or exotic disease, but the rapid spread of this infection from the Chinese city of Wuhan led to the dramatic assignment of pandemic status to […]
  • LGBTQ Members: Discrimination and Stigmatization What remains unclear from the reading is the notion that before the 1990s, people from the middle class expressed abiding and strong desires to be acknowledged as “the other sex”.
  • Systemic Racism and Discrimination Thus, exploring the concept of race from a sociological perspective emphasizes the initial aspect of inequality in the foundation of the concept and provides valuable insight into the reasons of racial discrimination in modern society.
  • The Racism Problem and Its Relevance The images demonstrate how deeply racism is rooted in our society and the role the media plays in spreading and combating racism.
  • Gender Discrimination in Public Administration The subject of the dispute and the statement of claim was the vacancy of a traffic controller, which was initially offered to Johnson, but then, as part of the program, the place was given to […]
  • How to Overcome Poverty and Discrimination As such, to give a chance to the “defeated” children and save their lives, as Alexie puts it, society itself must change the rules so that everyone can have access to this ticket to success. […]
  • Aspects of Socio-Economic Sides of Racism And the answer is given in Dorothy Brown’s article for CNN “Whites who escape the attention of the police benefit because of slavery’s long reach”.. This shows that the problem of racism is actual in […]
  • Sexism and Internal Discrimination at Google The recommendation in the case is that the organization should provide justice to all the employees who are victims of discrimination and sexual harassment, irrespective of the perpetrator.
  • Tackling Racism in the Workplace It means that reporting racism to HR does not have the expected positive effect on workplace relations, and employees may not feel secure to notify HR about the incidences of racism.
  • Issue of Racism Around the World One of the instances of racism around the world is the manifestations of violence against indigenous women, which threatens the safety of this vulnerable group and should be mitigated.
  • Discrimination in the United States The paper’s authors see systemic racism as a consequence of segregation in World War I migration, which resulted in distinct communities that were not understandable to white Americans.
  • Causes of Discrimination Towards Immigrants Discrimination and intolerance against immigrants, and the implications of these inflammatory convictions and conduct, determine the sociocultural and economic destiny of welcoming nations and those who aspire to make these communities their new residence.
  • The Racism Problem and How to Fight It Racism is one of the common problems of the modern world which might not allow several individuals to feel a valuable part of society due to their skin color, gender, or social status.
  • Environmental Racism: The Water Crisis in Flint, Michigan The situation is a manifestation of environmental racism and classism since most of the city’s population is people of color and poor. Thus, the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, is a manifestation of environmental racism […]
  • The “Racism and Discrimination” Documentary The documentary “Racism and Discrimination” is about an anti-racist teacher Jane Elliot who attempts to show the white people the feeling of discrimination. The central argument of the documentary is diversity training to seize the […]
  • Abortion-Related Racial Discrimination in the US In spite of being a numerical minority, Black women in the U.S.resort to abortion services rather often compared to the White population.
  • Canadian Society: Sexism and the Persistent Woman Question Equality of work, payments, and respect for women is on the agenda of this party, but they lack a modern look that refers to the problems of harassment and bullying in social networks.
  • Social Problems Surrounding Racism, Prejudice and Discrimination This kind of discrimination makes the students lose their self-esteem and the traumas experienced affects the mental health of these students in the long term.
  • Racism and Intolerance: The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre: Crafting a Legacy by Messer elaborates on the legacy of the event and its repercussions and offers a profound analysis of the issue, which strengthened my focus of the research.
  • Discussion of Gender Discrimination in Modern Society In the professional field, women are constantly in discriminatory positions of jeopardy due to their gender. However, women still need to compete in the work environment.
  • Gender Roles, Expectations, and Discrimination Despite Isaac being the calmest boy in the school, he had a crush on Grace, a beautiful girl in the school who was from a wealthy family.
  • The Unethical Practice of Racism in a Doctor’s Case The involvement of Barrett in the protest is both unethical for the university’s image and immoral for the community. However, the school would likely face tougher court fines and a direct order to reinstate Barrett’s […]
  • The Problem of Racism in America One explanation of racism by feminist thinkers is that racism is a manifestation of the agency and power of people of a particular racial identity over others.
  • Racism: “The Sum of Us” Article by McGhee The economic analysis and sociological findings in America have drawn a detailed picture of the cost of racism in America and how to overcome it together.
  • Contemporary Sociological Theories and American Racism The central intention of this theory paper is to apply modern theoretical concepts from the humanities discipline of sociology to the topic of racism in the United States.
  • Sex Workers: Discrimination and Criminalization The essay looks at the problem of discrimination against sex workers and the criminalization of sex work and highlights efforts that have been made towards decriminalization of the activity.
  • A Cause-and-Effect Analysis of Racism and Discrimination As a result, it is vital to conduct a cause-and-effect analysis to determine the key immediate and hidden causes of racism to be able to address them in a proper manner.
  • The Issue of Obesity in the Workplace: Discrimination and Its Prevention The critical detail is that the spread of the negative attitude to obesity in the workplace leads to the segregation of overweight people, stereotypical perceptions of their abilities, and prejudged attitudes toward them.
  • Employment Discrimination Based on Religion In other words, although both elementary teachers had no formal title of a minister and limited religious training, the religious education and formation of students were the basic reason for the existence of the majority […]
  • Discrimination Cases and Their Outcomes In the US, noticeable and influential cases tend to occur, and they remind the nation of the existing problem and reduce the effect of discrimination.
  • Institutional Racism Through the Lenses of Housing Policy While not being allowed to buy property because of the racial covenants, the discriminated people had to house in other areas.
  • The Problem of Age Discrimination Ageism includes many tendencies that change people; thus, ageism entails factors that influence people’s perception of each other, for example, in the work environment.
  • Social Inequality and Discrimination Gender discrimination is when a person or a group of people is treated unfairly or unfairly because of their gender. Moreover, there is a classification of the thinking model in which a person exalts his […]
  • Job Discrimination and Harassment Secondly, the strengths of the discrimination suit include the fact that he is the only white employee in his unit and one of the few men, suggesting a certain bias within the hiring department.
  • Dealing With Race Discrimination: Impact of Color Blindness However, psychologists have been trying to employ racial color blindness as a strategy to manage diversity and intergroup affairs. However, in other places, such as in enduring structural racism, it serves as a device to […]
  • Role of Racism in Contemporary US Public Opinion This source is useful because it defines racism, describes its forms, and presents the survey results about the prevalence of five types of racial bias.
  • The Amazon Warehouse Employee Sexual Orientation Discrimination With the mismatch between the aspects of the work at the Amazon warehouse, the demand for the job, the ability to work successfully, and the wants and desires of the employees, it is worth noting […]
  • The Mutation of Racism into New Subtle Forms The trend reflects the ability of racism to respond to the rising sensitivity of the people and the widespread rejection of prejudice.
  • Racism: Healthcare Crisis and the Nurses Role The diminished admittance to mind is because of the impacts of fundamental bigotry, going from doubt of the medical care framework to coordinate racial segregation by medical care suppliers.
  • Origins of Racial Discrimination Despite such limitations as statistical data being left out, I will use this article to support the historical evaluation of racism in the United States and add ineffective policing to the origins of racism.
  • Language Discrimination in Modern Society It is necessary to let go of the fear of talking and writing on social networks in a language that is not native to you.
  • Anti-discrimination Legislation and Supporting Case Law The response to this was the abolition of the quota system and the adoption in 1995 of the Act on Non-Discrimination of the Disabled and a package of additional regulations, in particular, on the education […]
  • Beverly Greene Life and View of Racism The plot of the biography, identified and formed by the Ackerman Institute for the Family in the life of the heroine, consists of dynamics, personality development and its patterns.
  • Historical Racism in South Africa and the US
  • Gender Stereotypes and Sexual Discrimination
  • Capitalism and Racism in Past and Present
  • Minstrels’ Influence on the Spread of Racism
  • How Parents of Color Transcend Nightmare of Racism
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  • Does the Stimulus Type Influence Horses Performance in a Quantity Discrimination Task?
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IvyPanda. (2023, October 26). 618 Thought-provoking Discrimination Essay Ideas & Examples. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/discrimination-essay-examples/

"618 Thought-provoking Discrimination Essay Ideas & Examples." IvyPanda , 26 Oct. 2023, ivypanda.com/essays/topic/discrimination-essay-examples/.

IvyPanda . (2023) '618 Thought-provoking Discrimination Essay Ideas & Examples'. 26 October.

IvyPanda . 2023. "618 Thought-provoking Discrimination Essay Ideas & Examples." October 26, 2023. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/discrimination-essay-examples/.

1. IvyPanda . "618 Thought-provoking Discrimination Essay Ideas & Examples." October 26, 2023. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/discrimination-essay-examples/.

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IvyPanda . "618 Thought-provoking Discrimination Essay Ideas & Examples." October 26, 2023. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/discrimination-essay-examples/.

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Engineering Equality: An Essay on European Anti-Discrimination Law

Engineering Equality: An Essay on European Anti-Discrimination Law

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Anti-discrimination law increasingly appears to occupy the centre of a renewed understanding of solidarity in the European Union. Not only is it, owing to its focus on equal treatment as regards positions and opportunities, compatible with the task of providing market access, it also seems to complement usefully the social legislation of the Member States. In the face of the widespread downsizing of the old national Welfare state, anti-discrimination law is indeed destined to be perceived as a common European achievement in the social sphere that is not merely reminiscent of a bygone age of government largesse. The book cautions, however, against premature exultation. The book uses legal analysis in order to expose the intrinsic shortcomings of anti-discrimination law, which fails to provide adequate legal guidance and invites, therefore, supplementation by pedagogical projects of social engineering. The book draws variously on the case law of the European Court of Justice, thereby exposing the bounded indeterminacy of anti-discrimination law. It points out how, because of its normative deficiency, it is systematically vulnerable to degeneration into pure casuistry. Moreover, the book also explains how the normative weakness is tacitly addressed in anti-discrimination policy’s recent move from legislation towards softer modes of modifying attitudes and behavior. The book concludes with observations concerning alternative models of solidarity in the Union.

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anti discrimination advocacy essay

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Strategies to address discrimination to build a more inclusive country, strategies to address discrimination and build a more inclusive country with tolerance and respect for all australians.

By John von Doussa QC

President, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission

Australian Red Cross National Conference 2006

Sydney, 25 November 2006

INTRODUCTION

I would like to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora people, the traditional owners of the land on which we meet today, and pay my respects to their elders.

The topic I have been asked to speak about today is strategies to address discrimination and build a more inclusive country with tolerance and respect for all Australians.

ACKNOWLEDGING THAT DISCRIMINATION IS A PROBLEM

The first step in addressing discrimination is to acknowledge the gravity of the problem. The harsh reality is that despite Australia’s image of itself as a fair and tolerant society, discriminatory attitudes still infect workplaces, public attitudes, law and policies.

As Australia’s national human rights institution, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) has a watching brief on the protection of human rights in Australia. The concept of human rights is based on a common recognition of the importance of fair treatment for all and the belief that people should be able to live free of violence, discrimination and abuse.

HREOC is charged with promoting public understanding and acceptance of human rights. We also have statutory obligations to investigate and attempt to conciliate complaints of unlawful discrimination under the federal anti-discrimination laws.

While many Australians like to think that the spirit of a ‘fair go’ is embedded in Australian culture, history tells a different story. The White Australia policy reflects the deep vein of racism that pervaded public administration for a large part of the last century. Ten years after HREOC’s Bringing them home report (which dealt with the forced removal of Aboriginal children from their families) only the Tasmanian Government has had the moral courage to introduce a compensation package for members of that stolen generation.

It is true that there are many aspects of Australia’s history that we can be justifiably proud of. Yet at the same time as we venerate the stability and success of our democracy, the bravery of our war veterans, and the triumphs of our sporting heroes we must also acknowledge the shameful blights on Australia’s human record. Recognising past injustices is vital to understand the reasons why discrimination persists today, and can help in preventing it in the future.

Today the entrenched deprivation and discrimination still facing Indigenous Australians is a matter of national shame. The existence of significant disparities between the health status of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians is acknowledged by all governments and recognised as unacceptable. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on adequate housing has found that ‘Indigenous peoples experience substantial discrimination in Australia in accessing adequate housing and the private housing market’. [1] And while the findings and recommendations of the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody should be old news, the tragic death of Mulrunji on Palm Island illustrates that there are still systematic problems in the policing of Indigenous communities.

The fear of difference and its unknown potential has always had a corrosive effect on community relations in Australia. Throughout the 19th and 20th century, successive waves of migrants have been viewed in turn with suspicion and hostility. Today, the threat of terrorism has been accompanied by a rising tide of suspicion and intolerance directed at Australia’s Arab and Muslim communities. Indeed, in some pockets of public opinion there is a virulent strain of anti-Muslim prejudice fuelled by the erroneous belief that all Muslims are, by their faith, terrorists or terrorist sympathisers. Such prejudices and stereotypes must be dispelled.

In Australia feminists have fought many battles: for suffrage, for equal pay, for freedom from violence. Yet despite the victories, the battles for equality are not over. Today is both White Ribbon Day and the United Nations International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women. The International Violence Against Women Survey shows that 34 per cent of Australian women who have a current or former intimate partner reported experiencing at least one form of violence during their lifetime. 

If women cannot expect to be safe in their own homes and communities, how can they expect equality in society? Violence against women is not a women’s issue, or a men’s issue: it’s everyone’s issue. White Ribbon Day is an opportunity for men – including White Ribbon Day Ambassadors like myself – to condemn all violence against women.

Gender inequality is still a serious issue in the workplace even though the Sex Discrimination Act has been in force in Australia for 21 years. The average weekly earnings for full-time women workers are only 84.4% of their male equivalents. Women are still grossly underrepresented in political life, in executive management, and on the benches of Australian courts. [2]

Many of the disparities between the wages and working conditions of men and women start to open up when women have children. Instead of being a cause for celebration, for women, pregnancy often comes with financial penalties. Despite the best efforts of Pru Goward, as Sex Discrimination Commissioner, the battle for paid maternity leave is still to be won. Pregnancy discrimination in the workplace remains a frequent cause for complaint to HREOC.

STRATEGIES TO ADDRESS DISCRIMINATION

I have taken the time to set out examples of discrimination in contemporary Australian society because I think too often our desire to look at ourselves through rose tinted glasses allows us to abrogate our responsibility to address the situation of those for whom the principles of equal treatment and equal opportunity are not yet realities.

Once we have acknowledged the problems, we start talking about how to fix them. Discriminatory attitudes are often deeply embedded and hard to shake. Overcoming prejudice requires education, community engagement and dialogue, leadership and, laws and policies which reflect – and promote – the principle of non-discrimination.

When we talk about strategies to address discrimination, we must talk about education. It must be the essential central plank to every strategy. The assumption that Australians are inherently fair is as dangerous as the assumption that children are inherently good. The way we treat others reflects the way we have been taught to treat others. Misinformation and ignorance are the staple ingredients of stereotypes and prejudices.

A vital part of the HREOC’s work is conducting projects that disseminate information to counter stereotypes and encourage human rights compliant behaviour. HREOC’s ‘Face the Facts’ publications dispel myths about refugees and Indigenous people and our ‘Voices of Australia’ resources encourages greater understanding between people of different racial backgrounds, cultures and religions through the sharing of their experiences.

HREOC encourages employers to create a discrimination and harassment free environment through our 'Good practice, good business’ guide, while employees can obtain information about their rights under discrimination law on our 'Work out your rights' pamphlets. All these publications are readily available on the HREOC website at www.humanrights.gov.au .

While I do not intend to test your good will by detailing all of HREOC’s educational activities, I do want to touch on two subjects that are currently concerning HREOC: discrimination against Arab and Muslim Australians and discrimination against same sex couples.

Muslim projects

In today’s tense and sometimes hostile environment, experiences of discrimination can alienate and isolate members of minority groups, and it has done in the Muslim community. This marginalisation can lead to radicalisation

Currently, fears and stereotypes about Arab and Muslim Australians are having a corrosive impact on community relations in Australia.

In 2004, after spending a year conducting very extensive consultations with Arab and Muslim Australians, HREOC published the Isma report. The report revealed a disturbing level of discrimination, vilification and violence against these groups. Participants recounted experiences ranging from offensive remarks about race or religion, to physical violence, including Muslim women having their hijabs pulled off.

What the Isma report also found was that in many cases those interviewed did not report instances of vilification or violence to police or other government authorities. The report recommended that in order to reduce the risk of further marginalisation of Arab and Muslim communities strategies should be developed:

  • to build better relationships between communities and law enforcement agencies; and
  • to educate communities members about the legal remedies for discrimination.

In response, the Commission has recently undertaken two projects funded by the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA): the Unlocking Doors: Muslim communities and police tackling racial and religious discrimination and abuse Project and the Living Spirit: Muslim women and human rights Project.

The Unlocking Doors Project aimed to facilitate dialogue between Muslim communities and Police in order to build on the capacity of Police to respond to incidents of racial or religious abuse and the Living Spirit Project aimed at increasing an understanding among Muslim women about human rights principles and the domestic framework for promoting equality in Australia. These projects will be continued and expanded over the next few years.

Besides their educational value, these projects assist those who are suffering discrimination to engage directly with the wider community. Engagement helps leads to inclusiveness.

There is an event happening at this moment elsewhere in Sydney which exemplifies the importance of community engagement in addressing discrimination. It is a one day conference titled 'All Eyez on Youth' - part of the solution, not the problem'. The conference is open to young people of all backgrounds to give them an opportunity to have their say, and get involved in issues that directly affect them. Participants , including Muslim, African, Pacific Island and Indigenous young people, are taking part in interactive workshops on human rights and responsibilities (with a focus on racial and religious discrimination), youth and the police, and youth and the media.

Community engagement depends on community interaction – in education, in employment and in sport. Sport is an integral part of Australia’s identity; a kind of social glue, which binds communities and individuals together. Sport can break down barriers in ways that other areas of society can struggle to match, by encouraging participation, integration and diversity.

As AFL Chief Executive Andrew Demetriou said:

"To many people football is a fantastic introduction to life in this country. People may not share the same language, same beliefs or same heritage, but they can join together and certainly share the same passion for a football club".

The broad appeal of sport is obvious. As the AFL 2006 ‘Welcome to the AFL’ Ambassador and former Hawthorn player Angelo Lekkas, a Greek-Australian who grew up in Melbourne observed:

"What crystallized for me the broad appeal of Aussie Rules was a beautiful picture in the paper recently of a group of young Muslim Australian women making their way to the footy with team scarves over their hijabs – if pictures could tell a thousand words, well that one conveyed so much more”.

Many sporting organisations are taking a leadership role in tackling racism and encouraging participation from a diverse range of communities. The importance of these actions in helping to build a more inclusive and respectful society is immeasurable.

Same Sex Inquiry

One powerful educational tool that HREOC uses to draw public attention to discrimination issues is to hold a public inquiry. This year the Commission launched a National Inquiry into the discrimination faced by same sex couples in relation to financial and work-related entitlements.

The Inquiry is conducting an audit of State, Territory and Commonwealth laws that exclude gay and lesbian couples from financial and work-related benefits available to heterosexual couples. [3]

The right to non-discrimination and the right to equality before the law are fundamental principles of international human rights law.  

Yet many Australian laws clearly deny certain rights to gay and lesbian couples and their children. For example, laws relating to social security, superannuation, tax, Medicare, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, workplace entitlements, aged care, immigration and family law treat same-sex couples differently to opposite sex couples.

The submissions HREOC has received illustrate how laws treat gay and lesbian couples as second class citizens, not deserving of the same rights as heterosexual couples. As one person put it:

“The inequalities embedded in current legislation are obvious and are inexcusable. "Understanding, tolerance and inclusion" are said to be values of the Australian community. Current legislation tells another story”. [4]

One purpose of the inquiry is to create public awareness and understanding of the discrimination that faces same-sex couples face in the daily administration of their affairs. But ultimately we don’t just want people to understand the discrimination that they face, we want the government to fix it.

In 2007, HREOC will make recommendations to Parliament for amendments to the discriminatory laws.

Public Leadership and legislative action

This brings me to other steps in addressing discrimination – political will and legislative action. HREOC’s community consultations and monitoring reveal disturbing levels of discrimination directed at some minority groups in Australia. In the current climate of fear and insecurity, political and community leaders have a vital role to play in speaking out against discrimination and promoting the principles of multiculturalism and social inclusion.

Positive public statements can be extraordinarily powerful and send a vital symbolic message to the community that discrimination is never acceptable.

Yet political leaders must be careful that initiatives which aim to improve social cohesion do not inadvertently further marginalise certain groups. In this context, HREOC questions the utility of the Australian Government’s proposal to introduce a citizenship test featuring a formal test on language and ‘Australian values’. Although the stated objective of citizenship test is to promote social cohesion, HREOC is concerned that the proposal will have exactly the opposite effect.

A formal test on ‘Australian values’ may send a message to the broader Australian community that certain migrant groups and refugees do not respect or understand the Australian way of life. This would have the potential to reinforce negative stereotypes. The idea of testing ‘Australian values’ also ignores the fact that values like tolerance, mutual respect and fairness are not peculiar to Australia but are shared by many people around the world.

HREOC believes that the best way to develop a commitment to Australian values and way of life is through positive, day to day interactions within the community, through education, community activities, sport and employment.

All these strategies need to be directed to two audiences: the discriminators and those suffering the discrimination. The strategies need to be tailored to suit each group. At the most general level, for those who are discriminating the strategies should be aimed at dispelling prejudices and changing attitudes. For those discriminated against the strategies should be aimed at empowerment to enable them to more fully participate as equals in the wider community.

However, public statements, education and engagement in some circumstance are not enough. Sometimes people need legal protection from discrimination.

Federal anti-discrimination laws go a long way towards providing legal remedies for discrimination on the basis of sex, race, colour, descent or ethnic origin, disability, age, marital status, family responsibilities and pregnancy. Yet there are gaps in the protection.

Under federal discrimination law there are no binding remedies for discrimination on the grounds of religion, political opinion, criminal record, nationality, sexual preference and trade union activity. HREOC continues to advocate that there should be legal remedies for discrimination on these grounds.

Improving human rights protection

One of the important questions that HREOC’s same sex Inquiry raises is how did laws which have a clearly discriminatory effect on the day to day lives of many Australians get passed in the first place?  

The fact that a raft of discriminatory legislation has travelled through parliamentary processes without any discussion of how it might discriminate against same-sex couples tells us that we need to find a better way to test the human rights compatibility of proposed legislation.

While no one can question the value of parliamentary committees scrutinising new Bills, this process is subject to fundamental limitations. The parliamentary committee process occurs after the legislation has been drafted, the policy objectives formulated and, more often than not, after politicians have publicly committed to the Bill’s implementation.  There is no explicit requirement for the committees to investigate the human rights compatibility of the proposed bill.  Perhaps most importantly, the government is under no obligation to implement – or even respond to – committees’ recommendations.

Under the recent Victorian Charter of Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 the Victorian Government must pay attention to the human rights impact of new laws and policies:

  • submissions to Cabinet about new laws or policies must be accompanied by a Human Rights Impact Statement;
  • new Bills must be accompanied by a human rights compatibility statement;
  • a parliamentary scrutiny committee must independently assess the human rights compatibility of new Bills; and
  • Parliament must justify its actions if it decides to pass laws which are inconsistent with human rights principles.

These provisions represent an important step forward for human rights because they integrate human rights principles into the daily decision making of the legislature and the executive. They provide a blue print for a “Guide to Good Governance” that law makers should follow.

We hear many arguments against a Bill of Rights in this country: a Bill could entrench rights that become outdated, like the US right to bear arms; a Bill would vest law making power in an unelected judiciary. But these types of arguments offer no reason against a ‘Guide to Good Governance’, and I suspect that if this was explained to the electors, there would be strong support for it.

Addressing Discrimination is everybody’s responsibility

In the final analysis addressing discrimination is not just the responsibility of law makers, or indeed human rights organisations. Addressing discrimination is everyone’s responsibility. All of us must take responsibility for addressing discrimination.

To foster a human rights culture we need education, political and community leadership and legislative action. The final ingredient is community engagement. We need to engage – through education, though political debate, through community dialogue – in a national conversation about protecting human rights.

The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission and Australian Red Cross have this year jointly conducted two very successful projects: the Rights in Perspective Art Competition and the Human Writes Essay Competition. These competitions are another way of encourage young people in Australia to engage with human rights issues. In the big picture, it’s a small step, but the big picture is full of small steps.

At a basic level we all need to have the courage to speak out against discrimination even when it’s socially unpopular or politically unpalatable to do so. Because ultimately, it is only by addressing discrimination than can we create a truly inclusive and respectful society.

[1] United Nations Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, Miloon Kothari Preliminary observations Canberra 15 August 2006, 7.

[2] The Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace census in 2004 showed that in the top 200 listed companies women held only 10.2 per cent of executive management positions.

[3] So far we have received over 360 submissions to this inquiry. Still more people have attended the public forums and hearings HREOC has held across Australia.

[4] James Duncan, Submission 288.

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5. anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies, page controls, page content, a. description and rationale.

Anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies make it clear that harassment and discrimination will not be tolerated, and set standards and expectations for behaviour. An anti-harassment or anti-discrimination policy should describe the types of behaviour that are discriminatory or harassing, and send the message  that these issues are taken seriously. The policy should also set out roles and responsibilities. These human rights policies should be linked to existing organizational policies and integrated into the way the organization operates  on a daily basis.

B. Considerations

Harassment is a specific form of discrimination. Because harassment raises unique issues, some organizations have separate policies for harassment and for other forms of discrimination.

As well, because harassment and discrimination related to the various  Code  grounds often manifest themselves differently, some organizations have specific policies related to discrimination and/or harassment based on sexual orientation, race and race-related grounds, sex, gender identity and gender expression, etc. [14]

Anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies set out expectations and standards, while complaint procedures set out how potential violations of these policies will be addressed. Many organizations choose to combine their anti-harassment/anti-discrimination policies and procedures into a single document.

In addition, organizations can develop a policy on competing rights to address situations where rights in the workplace may come into conflict. This policy can be part of broader anti-discrimination/anti-harassment policies or a separate document. The OHRC’s  Policy on competing rights  provides guidance as to what this type of organizational policy should contain.

C. Elements

Note:   The sample wording provided in the sections below relates to employment,  but can be modified to address housing or services. The sample wording is provided  only  as an example. There is no single best policy or procedure. You will  always  need to review policies and procedures to make sure they comply with current human rights law and policy and are appropriate for your organization.

1. Organization commitment

A policy should contain a clear statement of the organization’s commitment to creating and maintaining respect for human rights, and fostering equality and inclusion.

XYZ Organization is committed to providing an environment free of discrimination and harassment, where all individuals are treated with respect and dignity, can contribute fully and have equal opportunities. Under the Ontario  Human Rights Code , every person has the right to be free from harassment and discrimination. Harassment and discrimination will not be tolerated, condoned or ignored at XYZ Organization. If a claim of harassment or discrimination is proven, disciplinary measures will be applied, up to and including termination of employment. XYZ Organization is committed to a comprehensive strategy to address harassment and discrimination, including: providing training and education to make sure everyone knows their rights and responsibilities regularly monitoring organizational systems for barriers relating to  Code  grounds providing an effective and fair complaints procedure promoting appropriate standards of conduct at all times.

2. Policy objectives

The policy should set out its objectives, such as promoting human rights within the organization, preventing harassment and discrimination, and defining principles and standards for behaviour.

The objectives of this Policy are to:

  • Make sure that members, clients and associates of XYZ Organization are aware that harassment and discrimination are unacceptable practices and are incompatible with the standards of this organization, as well as being a violation of the law
  • Set out the types of behaviour that may be considered offensive and are prohibited by this policy.

3. Applying the policy

The policy should set out the activities involved and who it applies to. In employment, for example,  Code  protections have been interpreted broadly, to include temporary, casual and contract staff, as well as volunteers. Employees are protected against harassment and discrimination by co-workers, management and superiors – and they are also protected from the actions of others who enter the employment context, such as suppliers or clients. Employees may be protected while off the work site, or outside of normal working hours, where activities are connected to the workplace. Because employees are entitled to work in an environment free of harassment and discrimination from clients, suppliers or others who enter the employment context, publicly post the policy or make it available to visitors.

The  Code  also requires organizations to avoid harassment and discrimination in the services they offer to the public. This includes dealings with customers, potential customers and business associates such as suppliers.

In rental housing, the right to be free from harassment applies both to tenants and applicants. Landlords may be held liable if they do not take steps to ensure that tenants are protected from harassment by other tenants, or by people visiting the premises, such as maintenance and other support staff.

The right to freedom from discrimination and harassment extends to all employees, including full-time, part-time, temporary, probationary, casual and contract staff, as well as volunteers, co-op students, interns and apprentices. It is also unacceptable for members of XYZ Organization to engage in harassment or discrimination when dealing with clients, or with others they have professional dealings with, such as suppliers or service providers. This policy applies at every level of the organization and to every aspect of the workplace environment and employment relationship, including recruitment, selection, promotion, transfers, training, salaries, benefits and termination. It also covers rates of pay, overtime, hours of work, holidays, shift work, discipline and performance evaluations. This policy also applies to events that occur outside of the physical workplace such as during business trips or company parties.

4. List and explain protected grounds

The  Human Rights Code  prohibits discrimination in five parts of society, called “social areas” – employment, housing, services, contracts and membership in trade, vocational and professional associations. Protection is offered based on 17 grounds (see below). In your policy, set out the applicable  Code  grounds, together with definitions where necessary. Note that the  Code  grounds vary somewhat, depending on the social area involved. The ground of “record of offences” applies only in the social area of employment, while the ground of “receipt of public assistance” applies only in housing.

While the  Code  prohibits discrimination because of pregnancy under the ground of sex, it may be helpful for policies to explicitly identify discrimination and harassment based on pregnancy, as many are unaware of this  Code  protection.

The policy can also note that people may experience discrimination and harassment based on the intersection of multiple grounds of discrimination (intersectionality). For example, a person who experiences harassment because she is a Muslim woman can file a complaint based on both sex and creed.

Organizations may choose to extend protection beyond that mandated by the  Code . For example, some organizations prohibit any form of psychological harassment, or discrimination and harassment based on political opinion.

This policy prohibits discrimination or harassment based on the following grounds, and any combination of these grounds:

  • Creed (religion)
  • Sex (including pregnancy and breastfeeding)
  • Gender identity
  • Gender expression
  • Family status (such as being in a parent-child relationship)
  • Marital status (including married, single, widowed, divorced, separated or living in a conjugal relationship outside of marriage, whether in a same-sex or opposite-sex relationship)
  • Disability (including mental, physical, developmental or learning disabilities)
  • Place of origin
  • Ethnic origin
  • Citizenship
  • Record of offences (criminal conviction for a provincial offence, or for an offence for which a pardon has been received)
  • Association or relationship with a person identified by one of the above grounds
  • Perception that one of the above grounds applies.

5. Define key concepts

Define key concepts, consistent with human rights law and policy. Offer examples to clarify the concepts.

It may be helpful to provide definitions of related concepts, such as racism, heterosexism, ageism, etc., and to outline common manifestations of discrimination related to specific  Code  grounds. Consult the relevant OHRC policies for more information.

It is important to note that people experiencing harassment may not outwardly object to the harassing comments or conduct. People may feel unable to object. For example, they may be in a vulnerable situation and be afraid of the consequences of speaking out. It doesn’t matter if someone voices objections or not to the person making the unwelcome comments – they can still make a complaint and the behaviour can still be found to be harassment.

The following behaviour is prohibited:

Discrimination:  means any form of unequal treatment based on a  Code  ground, whether imposing extra burdens or denying benefits. It may be intentional or unintentional. It may involve direct actions that are discriminatory on their face, or it may involve rules, practices or procedures that appear neutral, but disadvantage certain groups of people. Discrimination may take obvious forms, or it may happen in very subtle ways. Even if there are many factors affecting a decision or action, if discrimination is one factor, that is a violation of this policy.

Harassment:  means a course of comments or actions that are known, or ought reasonably to be known, to be unwelcome. It can involve words or actions that are known or should be known to be offensive, embarrassing, humiliating, demeaning or unwelcome, based on a ground of discrimination identified by this policy. Harassment can occur based on any of the grounds of discrimination.

Examples of harassment include:

  • Epithets, remarks, jokes or innuendos related to a person’s race, gender identity, gender expression, sex, disability, sexual orientation, creed, age, or any other ground
  • Posting or circulating offensive pictures, graffiti or materials, whether in print form or via e-mail or other electronic means
  • Singling out a person for humiliating or demeaning “teasing” or jokes because they are a member of a  Code -protected group
  • Comments ridiculing a person because of characteristics that are related to a ground of discrimination. For example, this could include comments about a person’s dress, speech or other practices that may be related to their sex, race, gender identity or creed.

If a person does not explicitly object to harassing behaviour, or appears to be going along with it, this does not mean that the behaviour is okay. The behaviour could still be considered harassment under the  Code .

Sexual and gender-based harassment:  sexual harassment is a form of harassment that can include:

  • Gender-related comments about a person’s physical characteristics or mannerisms
  • Paternalism based on gender which a person feels undermines his or her self respect or position of responsibility
  • Unwelcome physical contact
  • Suggestive or offensive remarks or innuendoes about members of a specific gender
  • Propositions of physical intimacy
  • Gender-related verbal abuse, threats or taunting
  • Leering or inappropriate staring
  • Bragging about sexual prowess or questions or discussions about sexual activities
  • Offensive jokes or comments of a sexual nature about an employee or client
  • Rough and vulgar humour or language related to gender
  • Display of sexually offensive pictures, graffiti or other materials including through electronic means
  • Demands for dates or sexual favours.

Sexual Solicitation:  this policy prohibits sexual solicitations or advances by any person who is in a position to grant or deny a benefit to the recipient of the solicitation or advance. This includes managers and supervisors, as well as co-workers where one person is in a position to grant or deny a benefit to the other. Reprisals for rejecting such advances or solicitations are also not allowed.

Poisoned environment:  a poisoned environment is created by comments or conduct (including comments or conduct that are condoned or allowed to continue when brought to the attention of management) that create a discriminatory work environment. The comments or conduct need not be directed at a specific person, and may be from any person, regardless of position or status. A single comment or action, if sufficiently serious, may create a poisoned environment.

6. Roles and responsibilities

Set out the roles and responsibilities of the various parties present in the organization.

All persons present in XYZ organization are expected to uphold and abide by this policy, by refraining from any form of harassment or discrimination, and by cooperating fully in any investigation of a harassment or discrimination complaint. Managers and supervisors have the additional responsibility to act immediately on observations or allegations of harassment or discrimination. Managers and supervisors are responsible for creating and maintaining a harassment- and discrimination-free organization, and should address potential problems before they become serious.

[14]  OHRC policies, available online at  www.ohrc.on.ca , provide examples of forms of harassment and discrimination that are specific to each of the various  Code  grounds.

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4 Takeaways as School Leaders Battle Charges of Tolerating Antisemitism

At a hearing in Congress, public school leaders from New York, California and Maryland forcefully buffed Republican attacks, drawing a contrast with university presidents.

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David Banks, left, and Karla Silvestre sitting at a table.

By Jacey Fortin

  • May 8, 2024 Updated 3:20 p.m. ET

House Republicans largely failed to land damaging blows on Wednesday as they questioned public school leaders from three politically liberal parts of the country, accusing them of “turning a blind eye” to an alarming rise in antisemitism in classrooms since the Oct. 7 Hamas-led attack on Israel.

In contrast to similar Congressional hearings for university leaders, which prompted upheaval at several colleges in recent months, the leaders of elementary and secondary school districts from New York City, Berkeley, Calif., and Montgomery County, Md., mostly managed to hold their ground. In some cases, they turned the charges of failing to confront antisemitism back on their Republican questioners.

The school leaders fielded rapid-fire questions from Republican members of a House education subcommittee on a broad range of accusations made by some Jewish students, parents, educators and advocacy groups. Those groups have filed complaints to the U.S. Department of Education, saying that the districts violated federal civil rights laws by allowing a hostile climate for Jewish students.

The leaders said that both students and faculty members who engaged in overt antisemitic acts had been disciplined. They also disputed some of the allegations, saying that subsequent investigations had not borne out the initial incendiary reports.

Here are four takeaways from the hearing.

Republicans failed to land the same heavy blows they did against university presidents.

The congressional inquiry into primary and secondary schools followed two contentious hearings on antisemitism in higher education .

At a hearing in December, the presidents of Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology fell into the trap of relying on lawyerly answers rather than appealing to common sense.

Then last month, Columbia University leaders took a different approach, promising a crackdown. That helped stir further protests and eventually led to arrests on the school’s Manhattan campus, prompting a surge of pro-Palestinian activism across the country.

The public school leaders seemed to fare better on Wednesday than the university presidents, assuming a calm and unapologetic posture and at times pushing back against tough questions from Republican committee members.

“Mr. Banks, does Israel have the right to exist as a Jewish state?” “Absolutely.” “Ms. Silvestre?” “Yes.” “Ms. Ford Morthel?” “Yes.” “Does — is the phrase, ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,’ is that antisemitic?” “I think most Jewish people experience that as antisemitic, and as such, it is not allowed in our schools.” “You would say it is?” “I would say it is antisemitic.” “Ms. Silvestre?” “It is if the intent is the destruction of the Jewish people, yes.” “And it is. And it is, and so I would say I’d put you down as a ‘yes.’ You’re OK with that?” A ‘yes’?” “Yes.” “Ms. Ford Morthel?” “If it is calling for — sorry. “It’s a yes — you can just go yes or no.” “It is if it is calling for the elimination of the Jewish people in Israel. And I will also say that I recognize that it does have different meaning to different members of —” “I’m going to go ‘yes.’ I’ll put you down, ‘yes.’ I got a boogie because five minutes goes by so fast.”

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They repeatedly stressed their dedication to the students in their districts. “We recognize the need to teach students to express themselves with respect and compassion,” said Enikia Ford Morthel, superintendent of the Berkeley schools, adding that the district passed a policy against hate speech last year.

Public school leaders seemed practiced in dealing with tough questions.

The three districts all serve diverse student bodies with a significant number of Jewish students. In all three, the school district leaders have had to respond to highly fractious debates over what kind of behavior and language veers into antisemitism .

They have also been through the crucible of the Covid pandemic, navigating the closing of schools and mask mandates.

At the hearing on Wednesday, that experience appeared to pay off.

David Banks, chancellor of the New York City schools, the nation’s largest district, in particular made it clear that he would not be cowed by tough questioning . “It is my responsibility to go before Congress to face this critical, complicated and highly charged issue head on,” he said in a Tuesday opinion column in The New York Post.

The three districts serve many students of color, as well as members of various faiths. In their testimonies, the leaders spoke to the necessity of protecting all of their students from discrimination.

“I stand up not only against antisemitism,” Mr. Banks said. “I stand up against Islamophobia and all other forms of hate. You can’t put them in silos.”

Mr. Banks pushed back especially hard, defending his actions and his city.

Mr. Banks responded forcefully at times to pointed questions from Republican lawmakers, including Representative Elise Stefanik, Republican of New York, who had tripped up university presidents at the December hearing on antisemitism.

He said that some of Ms. Stefanik’s accusations about antisemitic chanting at a Brooklyn high school had not been substantiated by an investigation.

At one point, Mr. Banks turned the tables on the politicians by blaming Congress for not doing enough to fight antisemitism.

If we really care about solving for antisemitism, and I believe this deeply, it’s not about having gotcha moments. It’s about teaching. You have to raise the consciousness of young people. And the challenge we have as a system is that we do have some adults who bring their own bias into the classroom. And we’ve got to figure out how do we unpack all of it at the same time. But the ultimate answer for antisemitism is to teach, to expose young people to the Jewish community so that they understand our common humanity. And I would certainly ask that to my colleagues from across the nation, and I would call on Congress, quite frankly, to put the call out to action, to bring us together to talk about how we solve for this. This, this convening for too many people across America in education feels like the ultimate gotcha moment. It doesn’t sound like people are actually trying to solve for something that I believe we should be doing everything we can to solve for.

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The hearing, he said, felt like “the ultimate gotcha moment.” He added that the antidote to antisemitism is education.

“You have to raise the consciousness of young people,” he said.

Discipline of students and faculty was a major point of contention.

Republican representatives asked repeatedly about the kinds of disciplinary action that would be taken in response to acts of antisemitism on school grounds, and particularly whether educators accused of inappropriate actions had been, or would be, fired.

In response, the school leaders emphasized that antisemitism was unacceptable. “Let me be clear,” said Karla Silvestre, the school board president in Montgomery County. “We do not shy away from imposing consequences for hate-based behavior, including antisemitism.”

But the leaders mostly tried to avoid broad statements about the grounds for termination or suspension. In union districts, like the one in New York City, there are often lengthy processes that administrators have to follow when they pursue disciplinary action.

Ms. Ford Morthel said California’s strict rules regarding divulging personnel information can make people think teachers who cross a line are not punished. But she said that was not true, and action can be taken by district administrators privately.

When antisemitism rears its head, I believe we must respond. And we have. We have removed, disciplined or are in the process of disciplining at least a dozen staff and school leaders, including removing a principal in the middle of a school year. We have suspended at least 30 students.

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Mr. Banks said that at least 30 students in New York City public schools have been suspended since Oct. 7, and roughly a dozen staff members were subject to discipline — the first time he has publicly shared specific details about repercussions related to antisemitic incidents.

Reporting was contributed by Troy Closson , Dana Goldstein , Annie Karni and Sarah Mervosh .

Jacey Fortin covers a wide range of subjects for the National desk of The Times, including extreme weather, court cases and state politics all across the country. More about Jacey Fortin

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  • Commencement

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School of Social Work Spring 2024 Commencement

May 4, 1:30 pm et.

Power Center 121 Fletcher Street Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Directions to the Power Center

Important Information

  • Event Details
  • Accessibility Information
  • Know Before You Go

The School of Social Work Spring Commencement for Master of Social Work students will be held in-person and livestreamed on the SSW website. The Power Center doors will open for guests and graduates can begin arriving at 12:30pm.

A light reception will be held in the Power Center Lobby immediately following commencement.

Please email [email protected] with any questions.

The SSW Commencement will be livestreamed on this page and on the front page of the U-M School of Social Work website .

Letter from the Dean

Beth Angell

Dear Graduates,

Congratulations! We are thrilled to celebrate your hard work and dedication together with your friends, families and loved ones.

In pursuit of your MSW, you have gained the skills, knowledge and training to make a difference in the lives of others. You are effective, practiced facilitators and leaders who know how to take a stand, address injustice and engage the community. As you begin the next chapter of your lives, remember that education is a lifelong process. Keep in touch with your faculty and classmates and keep listening and learning from your clients and colleagues.

University of Michigan social work graduates have a reputation for their expertise, dedication and achievement. Today you join 17,000+ alumni who lead the field as policymakers, agency directors and foundation leaders, who improve lives as accomplished and effective social workers. We look forward to hearing how you apply your talents for the good of people and communities.

You have earned the term “the leaders and best.” On behalf of the Michigan Social Work community, I wish you every success as you reach out, raise hope and change society.

Beth Angell Dean and Phillip Fellin Collegiate Professor of Social Work

Keynote Speaker Joyce Dixson-Haskett, MSW ‘94, LMSW, ACSW, SAP

Joyce Dixson-Haskett

Joyce Dixson-Haskett is a leader in the fight against human trafficking. She advocates daily for the freedom and restoration of dignity and value to those affected by this heinous and corrupt system. She is a survivor of human trafficking and has been commissioned by Governor Gretchen Whitmer to sit on the Michigan Human Trafficking Commission.

She is also a leader in the advocacy for children of incarcerated parents. Her clinical model, Levels of Response to Traumatic Events, (LORTE) has been described as “the most sensible approach in assisting children with incarcerated parents.” Professionals also say: “There are no known programs, including programs in the OJJDP Model Programs Guide, which deal exclusively with the effects that the incarceration of a parent has on a child and address the core issues as the LORTE model does.”

Dixson-Haskett holds a Master of Social Work from the University of Michigan and is the founder and owner of Daylily Health LLC in Royal Oak, Michigan, a thriving clinical practice that tackles and defeats mental health problems in the concrete, the abstract and the spiritual. More importantly, she was an incarcerated mother, for 17 ½ years. She knows firsthand how the incarceration of a parent adversely affects the children. Dixson-Haskett began fighting for the rights of women who had been battered and abused, and for their children, while she was yet behind bars; she continues to work diligently on behalf of this elite population. She currently resides in the Houston, Texas area where Daylily Health 2 is being birthed.

Student Speaker Lady Funcke Muñoz

Lady Funcke Muñoz

Lady Alejandra Funcke Muñoz (she/her/ella) is an MSW student in Interpersonal Practice in Integrated Health, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse Pathway. She is a passionate advocate whose academic journey reflects her commitment to integrated health, mental health, advocacy and human rights. She graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Human Services from Palm Beach State College. She has also earned specialized certifications from Columbia University and Palm Beach State College, enhancing her expertise in trauma-informed practice and social services.

She served as a graduate research assistant at the School’s Level Up Lab, as a representative in student government, and as a graduate program assistant for both the DEI Office and Community Conversations. She facilitated educational workshops, coordinated community dialogue events, and advocated for formerly incarcerated students' opportunities within the university, fostering inclusivity and equity in higher education.

Funcke Muñoz worked at User Voice and His Majesty’s the King Prison Service in the United Kingdom, where she researched the intersection of incarceration, biodiversity and human rights to inform evidence-based policy recommendations and advocacy efforts.

In recognition, she received the DEI Impact Awards’ Student of the Year, Latinx Research Week 2024 Familismo Award and the Michigan Difference Student Leadership Awards Nominee from M-LEAD.

Funcke Muñoz intends to pursue her PhD and continue her work in higher education advocacy and mental health.

Student Speaker Jessica Leacher

Jessica Leacher

Jessica Leacher grew up in Milan, Michigan, and holds a BA in Social Relations and Policy from James Madison College at Michigan State University. She spent most of her career working in nonprofits in Washington, D.C., to support community college and university leaders through structured collaboratives, training and workshops that are designed to grow leadership practices and result in more equitable outcomes for students across the country.

At various places of employment, Leacher joined and co-led diversity, equity and inclusion committees, experiencing firsthand the structural inequities replicated within the nonprofit sector. It was because of these experiences that she decided to pursue social work.

During her time earning her Master of Social Work, she has been a Community Change student and a National Community Scholar. She worked for Clinical Associate Professor Daicia Price in the School’s DEI office and Professor Daphne Watkins’ Young Black Men Masculinities and Mental Health Project. Leacher is a lifelong learner and passionate about building creative, inclusive and diverse spaces where every person feels they belong. She intends to pursue a position with a local foundation or nonprofit serving communities in southeast Michigan.

She would like to thank her family and friends for their unwavering support and love.

Commencement Program

anti discrimination advocacy essay

Photos from the Ceremony

Coming soon, information for graduates.

Check this page for up-to-date graduate commencement information.

anti discrimination advocacy essay

Graduation Merch Sale

May 4, 2024 @ 2:30 PM Lobby of the Power Center *Accepting cash and check only

Shop Online Now *Cashless options available online

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IMAGES

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    1. Introduction. For more than a century, racial discrimination against non-citizens and people of colour has persisted as an intractable social problem in several parts of the world (United Nations, 2015).While the origin of racial discrimination seems to be contestable in the critical race literature (Lampert, 2004), it is widely recognised that race-related discrimination can be traced as ...

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