discrimination

Discrimination means distinguishing between two or more people or things. Usually, discrimination means an unfair system that treats one group of people worse than another.

Discrimination isn't always a bad thing. You have to use discrimination to tell a good restaurant from a bad one, or a good idea from a bad one. However, this word is very tarnished by its main use these days: as a word for unfair treatment of people, based on racism, sexism, homophobia, or another prejudice. There is a huge history of discrimination in the United States.

Definitions of discrimination
  1. noun
    unfair treatment of a person or group on the basis of prejudice
    synonyms: favoritism, favouritism
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    types:
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    able-bodiedism, able-bodism, ableism, ablism
    discrimination in favor of the able-bodied
    ageism, agism
    discrimination against middle-aged and elderly people
    cronyism
    favoritism shown to friends and associates (as by appointing them to positions without regard for their qualifications)
    fatism, fattism
    discrimination against people who are overweight
    heterosexism
    discrimination in favor of heterosexual and against homosexual people
    nepotism
    favoritism shown to relatives or close friends by those in power (as by giving them jobs)
    racial discrimination, racialism, racism
    discriminatory or abusive behavior towards members of another race
    sexism
    discriminatory or abusive behavior towards members of the opposite sex
    racial profiling
    a form of racism consisting of the (alleged) policy of policemen who stop and search vehicles driven by persons belonging to particular racial groups
    antifeminism, chauvinism, male chauvinism
    activity indicative of belief in the superiority of men over women
    sexual discrimination
    discrimination (usually in employment) that excludes one sex (usually women) to the benefit of the other sex
    type of:
    social control
    control exerted (actively or passively) by group action
  2. noun
    the cognitive process whereby two or more stimuli are distinguished
    synonyms: secernment
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    differentiation, distinction
    a discrimination between things as different and distinct
    individualisation, individualization, individuation
    discriminating the individual from the generic group or species
    appreciation, discernment, perceptiveness, taste
    delicate discrimination (especially of aesthetic values)
    contradistinction
    a distinction drawn on the basis of contrast
    contrast, demarcation, dividing line, line
    a conceptual separation or distinction
    hairsplitting, word-splitting
    making too fine distinctions of little importance
    connoisseurship, vertu, virtu
    love of or taste for fine objects of art
    style, trend, vogue
    the popular taste at a given time
    delicacy, discretion
    refined taste; tact
    culture
    the tastes in art and manners that are favored by a social group
    type of:
    basic cognitive process
    cognitive processes involved in obtaining and storing knowledge
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