Discrimination is unfair and negative behavior, actions, or attitudes toward a person of group of people based on gender identity, race, age, socioeconomic status, and other characteristics. It can affect access to employment, health care, housing, education, and more. Exploring the systemic factors that entrench and contribute to discrimination adds vital context to discussion of the issue in media coverage.
Black people in the US faced discrimination through forced labor, exploitation, and brutal labor conditions during slavery. After Reconstruction, with the onset of Jim Crow laws, Black people were subjected to laws known as “black codes” that limited their employment and earning opportunities. For example, in South Carolina, Black people could only hold farming or domestic work. Segregation also meant Black Americans had unequal access to education, housing, and health care, among other resources; this hurt their ability to develop certain skills and professional experience, further limiting job opportunities. This system has had lasting effects — there is a persistent gap in wages and employment rates between Black and white Americans, and the disparity is even greater when looking at Black women’s wages specifically.
Employment discrimination also affects other racial and ethnic groups: The Center for American Progress in 2019 found that “Black or African American, Asian, and Hispanic or Latino people comprise 36 percent of the overall U.S. workforce, they constitute 58 percent of miscellaneous agricultural workers; 70 percent of maids and housekeeping cleaners; and 74 percent of baggage porters, bellhops, and concierges.” There is also some evidence to suggest that workplace discrimination against Asian Americans increased during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Discrimination through racialized or segregated housing become common during slavery and continued through the New Deal in the 1930s, allowing for discriminatory and predatory lending practices called “redlining” that perpetuated residential segregation and trapped Black Americans in underresourced neighborhoods.
Black Americans are still less likely to own homes than white Americans, more likely to be rejected for loans, and more likely to pay higher interest rates. The National Bureau of Economic Research in 2021 found that Black and Hispanic people experienced widespread discrimination in rental markets as well.
- Prejudice and Discrimination (Simply Psychology)
- Prejudice and Discrimination (National Institutes of Health)
- Black journalists face challenges that stem from systemic racism (Columbia Journalism Review)
Discrimination is unfair treatment based on specific characteristic(s) of a person or group of people, such as race, age, or gender identity. It can affect access to employment, health care, housing, education, and more. Exploring the systemic factors that entrench and contribute to discrimination adds vital context to discussion of the issue in media coverage.