Is discrimination an individual or system phenomenon?
“Discrimination” is a discourse that says that certain personal characteristics merit the traditional penalties of ostracism (social intolerance) or shunning (avoidance). These personal characteristics include race, ethnicity, religion, politics, class, sex, sexuality, age, and physical, cognitive, or emotional disabilities. For example, black people who mix in white society may receive either stares or minimized interaction, resulting in the subjects perception of discrimination, but an absence of perception on the part of the perpetrator. Discrimination is a “hegemonic” (i.e., dominant) discourse, meaning that it seems to those immersed in it as if it occurs without their consent or participation, when in fact it occurs only because everyone consents to it and participates. Because I said so, that’s why. “Anti-discrimination” is a counter-hegemonic discourse. This discourse says that social norms that impose the traditional penalties of ostracism or shunning, based on personal identi