What is institutional discrimination?


Institutional or institutionalized discrimination is discrimination that is built into the structure and normal working relationships of a social institution or large organization. The discrimination is perpetuated in the policies and procedures of the institution. Institution can refer to either a company or agency, such as a government, or to a social institution, such as the education system or marriage.

Discrimination can be either institutional or individual. Individual discrimination refers to the overt acts of one person toward another. Institutional discrimination is usually less obvious and includes acts committed collectively against groups of people.

Discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of an individual based on his membership or perceived membership in a certain group. This prejudicial treatment involves the denial of opportunities and equal rights. For example, denying a family access to an apartment because they are Asian-American is discrimination.

An example of institutional discrimination was the prohibition against women voting in the United States. A modern example of institutional discrimination in the United States is found in the denial of marriage rights to persons of the same sex.

Institutional discrimination is usually evident in the outcomes for subordinate or minority groups. For example, institutional discrimination is seen in differential lending practices and residential segregation along racial lines.

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