What is discrimination?

Discrimination is a phenomenon consisting in unfair and biased differentiating of people due to their personal feature, such as, i.a.

  • gender,
  • age,
  • disability,
  • sexual orientation,
  • nationality,
  • ethnic origin,
  • religion.

By discriminatory behaviour we mean mostly a behaviour as a result of which a given person is treated differently (generally negatively, unfairly) from others in a comparable situation. Discrimination is a form of an unjustified and biased, stereotype-based marginalisation of specific social groups which share a specific common feature.


We can encounter discrimination in many spheres of our life (including, i.a. in education, employment, business). Each of us can become both its victim or witness of it. It is important to remember that discriminatory behaviour may be extremely varied – it can reflect both in a determined behaviour towards a given person and in the formulated sentences, jokes, gestures.

Unequal, worse treatment of various social groups sharing a specific feature most often arises from numerous prejudices and stereotypes consisting in a simplified, biased and harmful perception of others. Basing on stereotypes, i.e. certain simplified, established and unsubstantiated by any objective issues beliefs concerning people of specific features, constitutes the first link contributing to the development of discriminatory and harmful approaches in the society.


It starts from a stereotype (Foreigners are unfriendly) then comes prejudice (...so I do not like them) and at the end there is something what we call discrimination (...and I treat them worse).