Urgent Support

Understanding discrimination

What is discrimination?

Discrimination is defined as when an individual is treated unfairly or denied opportunities (among others) based on an aspect of their identity. One could be discriminated on the basis of:

  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Caste and Religion
  • Economic class
  • Language
  • Physical appearance
  • Academic performance / rank / score
  • Rural/ Urban background
How does it take place?

While sometimes discrimination is obvious (slurs, abuses), it can also take place in subtle ways (not wanting to be in the same study/work group because of their identity, avoiding or alienating them, denial of opportunities).

“I am being discriminated against.”

No matter what the reason or method, it's essential to remember that discrimination is never okay. Being discriminated against can leave one feeling stressed, unsafe, angry, ashamed, or lonely as if they don’t belong here

If you feel you’re being discriminated against please know

  • This is not okay or acceptable.
  • You have the right to be on campus and study without being discriminated against or feel unsafe.
  • This experience is not your fault or because you lack something. This is not about you but about faulty perceptions.

Things you can do

  • You can address these actions as discriminatory and seek help.
  • You don’t have to deal with this alone. Talk to your friends, mentor, classmates, or professors you trust. You could also consider talking to a counsellor at the Student Wellness Centre to help cope with the situation.
What can I do if I see someone being discriminated against?
  • Report it to the authorities when possible.
  • Offer support to the student who was targeted. Remind them that this isn’t their fault and they didn’t deserve for that to happen.
  • Direct them to relevant support structures on campus.
  • While they are carrying out the above, encourage them to talk to trusted friends, their mentor or visit the Student Wellness Centre for emotional support.
How can I empathise with those who feel discriminated against?

As young individuals it's essential to take a moment and acknowledge our own privileges. Some of us had certain benefits and access to opportunities because of the groups we belong to, access that others did not have. Privilege doesn’t mean that we faced no hardships or did not work hard to make best use of opportunities or to reach milestones. It simply means we didn’t have to face certain hurdles that others did.

Being conscious of the above can help us move towards creating a more just environment.