Discrimination is the capacity to perceive difference and involves making choices about how we treat other people or respond to a situation. These choices can be made using real and relevant information or they can be based on prejudice, stereotypes and bias.
An example of positive discrimination relates to selection of members of a sports team based upon relevant criteria such as ability, attitude, effort and attendance. These are all fair and legitimate criteria to apply to team selection.
Discrimination becomes hot when someone is treated differently because they happen to belong to or associate with a particular group of people.
Over the last fifty years or so, governments in many countries have passed laws and developed policies and programs to try to overcome the negative effects that such discrimination can have on groups of people and individuals. These are referred to as anti-discrimination legislation, policies and programs.
10 March 2002