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What is Reverse Discrimination?

Puja Lalwani Jun 3, 2019
Reverse discrimination is the exact opposite of the kind of discrimination people have been facing for belonging to certain minority groups. Here's an overview of this concept.
Education is important because, first of all, people need to know that discrimination still exists. It is still real in the workplace, and we should not take that for granted. ―Alexis Herman
At some point in time, we've all been victims of discrimination. Whether it is while gaining admission to the college of our dreams, or while applying for that dream job, there's always someone who has an advantage over us. So, we're left behind in the race no matter how hard we try.
We've faced various forms of discrimination, for being in the weaker zone. But the weaker zone has now received special backing, where the process becomes one of reverse discrimination.
While discrimination suggests favoring those who have an advantage over the less advantageous, reverse discrimination is exactly the opposite. Here, those who have a lesser advantage are given greater preferences and privileges as compared to those who are perceived as the advantaged lot.
For example, we are all aware of the racial discrimination that has existed against African-Americans in the United States of America. A case of reverse discrimination would be one where greater privileges are given to African-Americans, whereas, their fair-skinned counterparts are stripped off their advantages.
While prevalent in most situations, this form of discrimination is mostly experienced in the workplace. Reverse discrimination may also occur when women, who were traditionally given lesser preference, are now treated differently (better) than men.
This would be a case of gender discrimination in the workplace or in any other setting. Discrimination is also now made in terms of the sexual orientation of a person.
Reverse discrimination has emerged as the result of all the preferential treatment that was given to advantaged groups in the past. With various movements that began for the equality of all races, sexes, and those with disabilities, it soon became a kind of pattern to treat those from marginalized groups with greater privileges.
Instead of attaining equality, the process reversed completely. So while people are already battling with various types of discrimination in the workplace due to whatever reason, another kind of discrimination they have to deal with is reverse discrimination.
In an attempt to end discrimination of various types, the government of the United States had implemented a policy of what is known as affirmative action. It was an attempt to get people to put aside their views and biases when hiring or giving admissions, and allow for equality in the process.
This policy included ending biases on the bases of gender, color, and disabilities. However, among some groups, this policy was so deeply absorbed, that it became an act of favoring only marginalized groups, and discriminating against those who did not belong to such groups.
Unfortunately now, when reviewing job applications for a particular job, instead of considering two candidates (one from a regular, non-discriminatory background, and perhaps one who may have faced discrimination due to a disability), the latter is given greater preference. This then becomes a case of reverse disability discrimination in the workplace.
In effect, affirmative action was meant to create equality, but ended up leading to the act of reverse discrimination. Various groups are still marginalized, for the fact that they have never been discriminated against on any grounds. This so-called privileged background has now become the bone of contention, and a kind of bane for such individuals.
As such, they experience racial discrimination in the workplace, along with various other types of discrimination. Reverse discrimination may not be particularly illegal, because in many cases, it may have indeed been a valid decision to choose a woman for a position over a man. This cannot count for voluntary employment discrimination.
However, if there are several positions reserved for women, and yet a woman gets a position that a better qualified man could get, it becomes a case of reverse discrimination. People who have been discriminated against can resort to the law for equal treatment, and in some cases, the law has helped those who have been treated unequally.
However, weeding it out of the system completely will take some time. Bias and discrimination based on various factors has always been experienced, and for such a deep-rooted problem, an immediate solution is not possible. It will take some time and enough effort to end a problem that emerged as a method of helping groups, perceived as marginalized.