10 Unfortunate Examples of Discrimination in History

10 Unfortunate Examples of Discrimination in History


The world has seen a lot of issues of discrimination. People are more vocal about ending discrimination. But that is just for some. People are born different; discrimination is pointing out the differences between people or even things. It is treating someone or something inferior or worse in some way. Discrimination do always have a negative connotation to the world. It is a serious topic that requires attention. Your preferences should have nothing to do with bringing other people done. Just because they’re different or unique, doesn’t mean the others can discriminate them. It is definitely an awful thing to do.

Discrimination is a complex topic which is difficult to discuss. It is important to get past our discomforts and talk about certain issues as such discrimination which really strikes at the very heart of being human. Discrimination is harming someone’s rights. People are being harmed just because of who they are or what they believe in. Discrimination is indeed harmful and commits inequality. Regardless of our differences; race, ethnicity, nationality, class, religion, belief, sex, gender, language, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, health or other status, everyone has  the right to be treated equally. Too often we hear heartbreaking stories of people who suffer cruelty simply for belonging to a different group, or because they are “below” those of privilege or power. Because of an unjustified distinction made in policy, law or treatment, a person is unable to enjoy his or her human rights or other legal rights on an equal basis with others; that is discrimination. We must challenge discriminatory laws and practices to ensure that all people can enjoy their rights on an equal basis. That’s why working with communities across the world to address this problem is important.



First things first, why do you think people discriminate? Even when still young, humans are naturally motivated to categorize people and objects. However, discrimination goes beyond that. A person discriminating another person possibly has problems that people don’t know about. The attitude of that certain person is a reflection of a complex set of factors including his or her history, sociocultural practices, influence of community and even family beliefs. The most common form of discrimination is the destructive generalizations about a certain group. Some people harbor disparaging beliefs about a certain group and its members. These people are consciously aware of their negative emotions toward members of the group. Even with that, they still intend to harm or avoid them.

People should make efforts to discuss discrimination. Our society is getting weaker because of the lack of diversity which is perpetuated by discrimination. All of us should be diverse. Diversity breeds creative thinking and free, happy communities. Contributing significantly to awareness of these important truths are the productive and meaningful dialogues that can happen anywhere. Talking openly about discrimination, especially eradicating it, is a good thing. It will surely threaten someone’s conscious and unconscious belief systems. That could possibly mean, changing his or views, which could let the person about discriminating others. One essential factor when talking about discrimination is having an open mind, because if a person is close-minded, it could hinder an honest and open discussion of the topic. People must get engaged. When discussing or talking about discrimination, people should acknowledge emotions and feelings. Strong emotions are often ignored or suppressed when discussing about discrimination. These emotions anxiety, guilt, defensiveness and even anger.

Discrimination happens literally everywhere. Many countries are trying their best to eradicate discrimination in the community to have a harmonious environment where people do not judge or aren’t being judged particularly because they are different. Big countries, such as the United States has serious discrimination issues. Some even reach the international media which leads to people reacting over it from around the globe. Discrimination is very prominent in the United States. It is a critically important matter because it deals with significant and harmful effects on health and well-being of people who are affected. Historically marked by discrimination in the United States is the attitudes of the people and even the government toward minorities. Particularly on the basis of national origin, race, gender and sex, many sorts of discrimination have come to be recognized in the huge nation of the United States. A lot of stories about discrimination have surfaces the world. Here are 10 unfortunate examples of discrimination in history.

1. Gender discrimination has been an issue way back decades or even centuries ago. During the early years, in most countries, if not all, women were not entitled to the same rights and privileges as men. Women were then not allowed to vote. They were usually required to surrender control of their property to their husband upon marriage. Also, the educational and occupational opportunities of the women were severely limited. A woman’s place was within the home tending to domestic affairs, including raising children. This was what was commonly believed back then.

Susan B. Anthony, the woman who lead the movement for women’s suffrage, was arrested for voting in a presidential election. Everyone should have the right to vote. The movement for women’s suffrage, was also led by Lucy Stone, who was one of the first American women to retain her maiden name after marriage.

In the Nineteenth Amendment of the United States, the women were finally given the constitutional right to vote which they deserve. The women’s rights movement lost its rise after the ratification of the 19th Amendment. It regained its momentum in the 1960s. Women are now the traditional or the so-called normal role of housewife. A lot of women are now entering the work force or manpower. Also, because of this, there is was an increased demand for equal rights and opportunities.

The Congress passed the Equal Pay Act of 1963 as a response.  This act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the ground of sex. This is also with respect to the terms of compensation. The following year, Congress enacted Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans discrimination in employment on the bottom or the basis of sex, among other grounds. Males, also females, have been granted protection against sex discrimination under both the Equal Pay Act and Title VII.

The Congress submitted the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the states for ratification in 1972. Basically, the ERA has barred all discrimination on the ground of sex. Within the mandatory ten-year deadline, the ERA has suffered defeat. This is because the required number of states failed to ratify it. To date, women are still battling the difficulty of equality in their personal and professional relationships. 

2. Racism still exists in the United States even until today. A lot of people point that the high rates of poverty and unemployment among blacks are some of the strong evidences that racism is still very powerful in all around the globe. It is even argued that since the inherent abilities of different races are equal, large differences in outcome are explained, most plausibly by persistent racial discrimination or racism. There are also others who claim that this is not the result of racism against the blacks. They say that this is the result of other factors. These factors include high crime rates in the inner cities, illegal drug trade and even low standards in public schools. All of these factors, as they say, disproportionately affect blacks who are concentrated in urban areas for historical reasons.

George Floyd, a black American man was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25, 2020. This was during an arrest for allegedly using a counterfeit bill. A white officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on George Floyd’s neck for almost eight minutes while Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down, begging for his life. Two officers further restrained Floyd, while one officers prevented bystanders from intervening. Floyd was motionless and had no pulse during the final minutes. Chauvin, the officer who knelt on Floyd, ignored onlooker’s pleas to remove his knee, which he did not do until medics told him to.

The following day was intense, after videos made by witnesses and security cameras became public. The four officers were fired. Autopsies found Floyd’s death to be a homicide. George Floyd’s death triggered the George Floyd protests against police brutality and racism. The movement, Black Lives Matter, was strengthened. Even the whole world was moved to stand against racism.

3. Another well‐known example of discrimination involves the Jews, who have endured mistreatment and persecution for thousands of years. The largest scale plan to destroy this group of individuals occurred during World War II, when many of the Jews were exterminated in German concentration camps within the name of Nazi ideals of “racial purity.” The story of the attempted genocide, or systematic killing, of the Jews has led sociologists to examine and comment upon issues of race and ethnicity.

A number of the emotionality in discrimination stems from subconscious attitudes. This causes an individual to keep off feelings of inadequacy by projecting them onto a target group. All of these are held by professionals, like the psychologists. Those without power who are unfairly blamed, anxiety and uncertainty are reduced by attributing complex problems to an easy or simple cause blaming people as cause of their problems, by using certain people as scapegoats. Across the globe, it has been shown that prejudice is fundamentally related to low self‐esteem. People are able to enhance their sense of self‐worth and importance, by hating certain groups.

4. It’s difficult to believe that today, in the 21st century, discrimination is still a major issue, but as much as we would like to think that we live in a peaceful world with widespread acceptance, this sadly isn’t the only case. Discrimination in the workplace have since been making a sound. One particular case of discrimination in the workplace was the  Starbucks Dyslexia Case.


An employee of Starbucks, Meseret Kumulchew, was accused of fraud. Her employer claimed that she was falsifying documents. That was when she just mistakenly entered incorrect information when recording fridge temperatures in a duty roster. Because of this, she was given lesser duties. Her employer basically took away vital parts of her supervisor position. She was even told that she needs to be retrained before she could continue with responsibilities that made up the job she loves. She expressed in an interview that she was made to feel like a fraud. She also said that she was on the verge of wanting to end her own life. Meseret then added that the only thing that holding her back was the thought of her beloved children. 


Meseret took Starbucks to an employment tribunal for discrimination against disability. She has stated that she had been upfront with her employers from the very start. She said that she has told them that she was Dyslexic. Her being Dyslexic means that she has difficulties with reading, writing and telling the time.  The employment tribunal has found that Starbucks failed to make reasonable adjustments for their employee, Meseret, and that they had discriminated against her due to the effects of her Dyslexia. It was also found that she was victimized by her employer and that there appeared to be little or no knowledge or understanding of equality issues within the business.

5. Another example of discrimination in the workplace was the Richemont Race Discrimination Case. In United Kingdom, there is a company that owns luxury brands including Cartier and Montblanc, is it called Richemont. There was an issue about the company and its employee Cheryl Spragg. She was spied on by her employer. She was denied the opportunity to progress within the company. The company’s HR and other staff members even bullied her because of her skin color.

The company has placed Cheryl under close surveillance for a number of days, following a back injury. They have been  following her to a wedding. They are even receiving images of her home and garden. These actions were undoubtedly upsetting, not to mention, intimidating for her. Cheryl was also refused internal progression by the company. It was on the basis of her skin color. She has applied for the same post on three different occasions. The decisions for her progression were made by the same people. It was found out that the company had a preference for white Europeans. Even the judge that was ruling in Cheryl’s claim against race discrimination in her workplace has agreed that this was indeed an act of direct discrimination against Cheryl. Cheryl has won her claim after the judge heard the case and considered the evidences. She was even awarded compensation for the traumatic and humiliating experience she had in Richemont.

6. Creuza Oliveira tells the story of more than nine million Brazilian domestic workers of which mostly women and black, for whom slavery is not exempted to the dust piles of history. Oliveira is from a family of poor rural workers with no schooling. As a domestic worker in Bahia, she began her life. At the time, she was merely just 10 years old. Unable to balance work and school, she had to choose work and dropped out of school for how many times. Without authorization from her family and relatives in Bahia, her employers took her to Sao Paulo to work when she was just ages 14.

Oliveira has heard on the radio about meetings of domestic workers fighting for their rights, her life has then changed. She attended one meeting and began her evolution from a suffering young girl with low confidence into a leader in the fight for the rights of blacks, not just for women but also for domestic workers. Domestic workers are now guaranteed rest days and vacation days by law. The are also offers of job security for the pregnant women. Legislation prohibiting domestic work for youngsters and teenagers under the age of 18 has also been recently signed into law by the President.

7. Elena Gorolová has always dreamed of having a little girl, with her husband. Blessed with the birth of two sons, they looked forward to the subsequent. However, she was told that she had been sterilized by the very doctor who delivered her son. This incident has happed without her knowing before-hand. It was such a horrifying discovery which then led her to the slow realization that she was not alone. Roma women like herself had also been involuntarily sterilized in hospitals in the Czech Republic. The pleas of the Roma women to the officials only fell on ears. These also added insult to the injury.

She recalled that the birth of her second child in 1990 was a difficult one. She went on to discover that her Fallopian tubes had been severed. It made the operation irreversible. A number of organizations held a meeting for those women whose health and lives had been affected by forced sterilization. The organizations include the League of Human Rights, Life Together and the European Roma Rights Centre. This was what pushed for recovery process to begin. Elena has since then openly speaking to women who understood what she had been through gave Gorolová the catharsis and courage she needed to maneuver forward. The group has sought to improve the way medical staff treated women in maternity wards. They have set out to promote the concept of informed consent. They even promote patients’ rights and even raise awareness about forced sterilization. The group was also seeking for compensation and thee government’s apology for its failure to protect them and the women in general. 



8. Naomi Washington Leapheart and wife, Kentina, have consecrated their legal marriage with a sacred wedding ceremony in the presence of their loved ones on a beach in Cape May, New Jersey. Three months later, they were still basking in the joy of that day. Their joy was sweeter because in many ways, it is their resistance. Expectedly, not everyone was supportive of our union. In fact, they still ache as they remember that, a prospective wedding planner they considered hiring told them that she couldn’t work with them because she believes in the biblical definition of marriage, which, to her, made theirs illegitimate. Naomi and partner are Christian ministers. Their faith was precisely what animated their love and the decision they made to make a spiritual commitment to each other and to their communities. They still are grateful that they could be legally married in any State in the United States. The rejection they experienced reminded them that there is still so much more work to be done in this matter.

9. Older workers also make important contributions to the workplace, its productivity and culture. For older adults, work still remains important especially for financial security. It is also important to give meaning to later life, to maintain social networks, and also to promote lifelong learning. But nowadays, and even years and decades before, ageist beliefs create barriers for older workers. These beliefs downgrade the older adults practically saying that the older adults are not that productive and are not contributing in the workforce. Britain is one of the worst countries in the world when it comes to intergenerational friendships, according to a new report from social enterprise United for All Ages. 

10. Khalid Hussain, a Bihari from Bangladesh,  has also experienced racial discrimination. The Urdu speaking Biharis are known to be the most disadvantaged group in the country. This was as described by Khalid. Hussain lives in the Geneva camp. It was one of the largest in Bangladesh. The houses can only accommodate 5 to 8 people. The entire camp only has 250 public toilets.


Khalid’s story was typical.  On completion of primary school, he and other students tried to enroll at the local high school. However, they were unfortunately refused.  The only option they had was a private school which most, including them, could not afford. The extreme difficulty Biharis experience trying to access employment and escape poverty was also described by Khalid.  Hussain has talked of tolerance and appealing for a change of attitude which would reduce the discrimination endured by his community.