Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 25, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952637 | Print ISBN: 9780761923879 | Online ISBN: 9781412952637| Publisher:Sage Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Discrimination, Sociology Of
Discrimination, conscious or subconscious, differentiates between individuals based on race, caste, creed, religion, age, gender, health status, physical disabilities, economic circumstances, or even their sexual preferences. Students often study the topic of lawbased discrimination under the subject of constitutional law or even ethics, the discipline concerned with what is morally good or bad, right or wrong. Discrimination has occurred widely throughout history and across societies. Although many forms of discrimination are prevalent, those most frequently causing serious social problems have occurred based on race or caste. In general, discrimination based on race exists more often in the Occident, while that based on caste exists in the Orient. African Americans, who earlier had lived under a system disparagingly called Jim Crow, achieved effective equal legal status only in the 1960s. Discrimination was sometimes justified on very flimsy grounds. Some Christian ministers and theologians taught that God supported racial segregation, favored whites ...