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3 Tutorials that teach Discrimination
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Author: Paul Hannan

Recognize the difference between discrimination and prejudice. 

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Source: Intro Music by Mark Hannan; Public Domain

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Welcome to this episode of Sociology-- Studies of Society. Today's lesson is on discrimination. As always, don't be afraid to pause, stop, rewind, or even fast forward to make sure you get the most out of this tutorial. Today we're looking at discrimination. I want to start by really juxtaposing two different things here. And we have unfair judgments, and they really fall into two different categories. We have thoughts, and we have actions.

So prejudice is when we have these thoughts, these judgments, that unjustly generalize about a group of people. On the other hand, discrimination is when we actually apply those unjust prejudices to individuals or a group of individuals. So when we look at discrimination-- this action of discriminating, this action of applying those prejudices-- we can add the term "institutional" on top of that, in front of that. And institutional is discrimination found throughout an institution. So that's when you have a system that is really set up to be discriminatory.

Now, there are many examples of institutional discrimination throughout the American system. One of the biggest places you can see it-- one of the boldest places you can see it-- is in education. Now, this discrimination still happens today. And there are many different stats looking at how different racial groups, different groups, really succeed differently in schools and how that's based on the institution. But we've made a lot of progress.

Brown versus Board of Education was really a landmark case, which attempted to change the way schools are run in America and deinstitutionalize that racism-- that discrimination. And in this case, what it was is they-- it was actually a couple of different cases and lumped together underneath Brown versus Board of Education for Topeka, Kansas. And all these different cases had to do with racial segregation and the idea that the African-Americans in these places were receiving considerably substandard education because of segregation. The law for a long time said that separate but equal was OK. So as long as you had two different things that were separate, they could be equal and that was OK.

So you get have a water fountain for whites and a water fighting for blacks and as long as they are equal, that was OK-- as long as you had both of them. But what exactly was equal? Did they have to be exactly the same? Well, specifically looking at schools, the African-American schools had limited resources, overcrowded schools, considerably less funding, many different strikes against it there. And this case really helped prove that separate but equal doesn't work.

Now, besides the fact on being unequal, they had a lot of different ways of showing that even if they're separate and exactly equal, this thought of this discrimination coming from the institution of education still is affecting and happening to people within the system. So today's takeaway message-- we looked that prejudice and discrimination. Prejudice is, again, the thought of that unfair, unjust generalization. And then discrimination is the actual act. And institutional discrimination is when that act is found systematically throughout an institution.

And then Brown versus Board of Education is this landmark case that really attempted to end institutional discrimination against African-Americans in public schools. Well, that's for this lesson. Good work, and hopefully you'll be seeing me on your screen again soon.

Terms to Know
Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka

A landmark supreme court decision that ended institutional discrimination in the American education system.


Action based on prejudice.

Institutional Discrimination

Discrimination that results from the day-to-day operations of some institutions in society.


An attitude or judgment about another group that is unfair and usually involves stereotypes.