We explain what student discrimination is and what its main characteristics are. In addition, types of discrimination, causes, and solutions.
Student discrimination is a problem that has serious consequences for those who are victims of it. That is why it is important that as future teachers we know about discrimination, what are its causes, consequences, how it manifests, etc., so that when we are in the classroom or in the educational institution we can identify the situations that arise and that are related to discrimination, in order to be able to solve them and also to raise awareness among the rest of the social actors involved in the school (students, parents, managers, etc.) and thus eradicate this problem.
What is student discrimination?
The student discrimination is one of the ways in which individuals, groups or institutions act in relation to others, highlighting inequalities and placing other people as “different” and inferior in some way.
Discrimination is a way to isolate a group, region or nation in order to establish differences in a peaceful way towards other people. These differences are not established by the simple fact of finding them, but rather, the culture or society that discriminates does so in detriment of the values, customs or ideology of those other cultures that it considers as inferior.
In part, the feeling of student discrimination arises from another concept that is rooted in all cultures since the creation of ancient civilizations: ethnocentrism. This concept implies a way of conceiving the society or culture as superior to the others and intrinsically is rooted in all of humanity. However, from there it can lead to discrimination, a concept that implies not only the devaluation but also the rejection and isolation of cultures that are considered as different.
Ethnocentrism becomes discrimination when, from the thought of superiority, discriminatory actions are derived and opportunities are denied to discriminated groups.
Characteristics of student discrimination
Ethnocentrism and discrimination
As mentioned earlier, ethnocentrism is characteristic of all societies. This concept alludes to the need to consider the culture to which a person belongs as better than the rest. This is characteristic of the entire human species and of all times.
However, the negative discrimination becomes present when the difference becomes intolerant, it is belittled to the point of marginalizing other cultures, despising them and attacking them both verbally and physically.
From the point of view of psychology, discrimination is a prejudice. This prejudice is based on derogatory or pejorative behavior towards a group of people. However, the prejudice is not based on a logical or accurate basis on the superiority of those who discriminate because they have no scientific or logical basis to support discrimination.
Types of student discrimination
There are different types of student discrimination:
- Labor discrimination. That which occurs in the workplace.
- Sexual discrimination. That which discriminates or exerts a prejudice due to gender difference.
- Social discrimination. It is a type of discrimination based on the country of origin, social customs, clothing, etc., that a person has as an acquired habit.
- Racial discrimination. It is the type of discrimination that is presented by the physical appearance of a person: a color of the skin, eyes, height or the physical frame of a person.
- Religious discrimination. It is the prejudice that arises from the lack of tolerance and marginalization towards a type of religious belief.
- Ideological discrimination. That which is professed since one person has political and ideological beliefs different from others.
This type of student discrimination occurs when the person has the discernment to distinguish and differentiate the inequalities between two or more people or things. Discrimination without negative charge indicates that the person has the capacity for recognition that something is different from something else. The strict term of the word discrimination does not carry any racial connotation, xenophobic or harmful to anyone.
Discrimination and the social context
While it is correct to indicate that each society has in some way or other discriminated against other people or groups, it is also important to say that this type of negatively charged discrimination (bordering on racism) has manifested itself more specifically after the second half of the twentieth century.
In many cases, discrimination can lead to racism. To make a distinction, discrimination is the thought that other races or species are inferior in one or more aspects, while racism is to act depriving freedom or other benefits acquired for all humanity towards a particular society or group of individuals.
An act that overcomes racism is called xenophobia. Although they have the same root of origin as discrimination and racism, xenophobia implies, as the suffix indicates, a phobia towards something or someone. In the case of xenophobia, this implies a repulsion or rejection towards everything that does not belong to the culture to which the person belongs.
Lack of foundation
Student discrimination with a negative connotation (that which can turn into racism) lacks logic or foundation. That is to say, a person thinks that he/she is considered for some reason superior to another but he/she does not have a scientific foundation that endorses it, only the prejudices do it.
On November 4, 2000, Protocol No. 12 of human rights was adopted, prohibiting discrimination. Although previously it had been indicated in the declaration of human rights (in article 14) about discrimination, this time the prohibition of the denial of the enjoyment of rights provided by law is clarified.
We live in a world in which each human being is unique and unrepeatable. As such, it is necessary to accept the inequalities in favor of these differences for cultural, social and moral enrichment (given that each culture and society has norms or customs that can favor other societies).
The recognition of difference not as a negative aspect of society but rather as a necessary difference characteristic of human beings is a concept that began to be thought only in the middle of the 20th century to the present, that is, in postmodernity.
That is, that the fight against discrimination must be done by changing the paradigms on which we rely to live with students, parents, managers, etc., so that we achieve a transformation in the ways of relating and communicating, doing it in a respectful and inclusive way.