Stopping Discrimination

Stopping Discrimination

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Why this petition matters

Started by deialeene delmendo


Discrimination strikes at the very heart of being human. It is harming someone’s rights simply because of who they are or what they believe. Discrimination is harmful and perpetuates inequality.

We all have the right to be treated equally, regardless of our race, ethnicity, nationality, class, caste, religion, belief, sex, gender, language, sexual orientation, gender identity, sex characteristics, age, health or other status. Yet all too often we hear heartbreaking stories of people who suffer cruelty simply for belonging to a “different” group from those in positions of privilege or power.

Discrimination occurs when a person is unable to enjoy his or her human rights or other legal rights on an equal basis with others because of an unjustified distinction made in policy, law or treatment. Amnesty International’s work is rooted in the principle of non-discrimination. Working with communities across the world, we challenge discriminatory laws and practices to ensure all people can enjoy their rights on an equal basis.



At the heart of all forms of discrimination is prejudice based on concepts of identity, and the need to identify with a certain group. This can lead to division, hatred and even the dehumanization of other people because they have a different identity.

In many parts of the world, the politics of blame and fear is on the rise. Intolerance, hatred and discrimination is causing an ever-widening rift in societies. The politics of fear is driving people apart as leaders peddle toxic rhetoric, blaming certain groups of people for social or economic problems.

Some governments try to reinforce their power and the status quo by openly justifying discrimination in the name of morality, religion or ideology. Discrimination can be cemented in national law, even when it breaks international law – for example, the criminalization of abortion which denies women, girls and pregnant people the health services only they need. Certain groups can even be viewed by the authorities as more likely to be criminal simply for who they are, such as being poor, indigenous or black. 


Dealing with discrimination

Finding healthy ways to deal with discrimination is important, for your physical health and your mental well-being.


Focus on your strengths. Focusing on your core values, beliefs and perceived strengths can motivate people to succeed, and may even buffer the negative effects of bias. Overcoming hardship can also make people more resilient and better able to face future challenges.


Seek support systems. One problem with discrimination is that people can internalize others’ negative beliefs, even when they’re false. You may start to believe you’re not good enough. But family and friends can remind you of your worth and help you reframe those faulty beliefs.

Family and friends can also help counteract the toll that microagressions and other examples of daily discrimination can take. In a world that regularly invalidates your experiences and feelings, members of your support network can reassure you that you’re not imagining those experiences of discrimination. Still, it’s sometimes painful to talk about discrimination. It can be helpful to ask friends and family how they handle such events.

Your family and friends can also be helpful if you feel you’ve been the victim of discrimination in areas such as housing, employment or education. Often, people don’t report such experiences to agencies or supervisors. One reason for that lack of reporting is that people often doubt themselves: Was I actually discriminated against, or am I being oversensitive? Will I be judged negatively if I push the issue? Your support network can provide a reality check and a sounding board to help you decide if your claims are valid and worth pursuing.


Get involved. Support doesn’t have to come from people in your family or circle of friends. You can get involved with like-minded groups and organizations, whether locally or online. It can help to know there are other people who have had similar experiences to yours. And connecting with those people might help you figure out how to address situations and respond to experiences of discrimination in ways you haven’t thought of.


Help yourself think clearly. Being the target of discrimination can stir up a lot of strong emotions including anger, sadness and embarrassment. Such experiences often trigger a physiological response, too; they can increase your blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature.

Try to check in with your body before reacting. Slow your breathing or use other relaxation exercises to calm your body’s stress response. Then you’ll be able to think more clearly about how you want to respond.


Don’t dwell. When you’ve experienced discrimination, it can be really hard to just shake it off. People often get stuck on episodes of discrimination, in part because they’re not sure how to handle those experiences. You might want to speak out or complain, but you’re not sure how to go about it, or are afraid of the backlash. So instead, you end up ruminating, or thinking over and over about what you should have done.

But rumination can make things worse. Researchers have found that while traumatic experiences are a significant cause of anxiety and depression, people who ruminate, or dwell on, those negative thoughts and experiences report more stress and anxiety.

In a calmer moment, it might be helpful to talk over the ways you can cope with similar experiences in the future. Try to come up with a plan for how you might respond or what you could do differently next time. Once you’ve determined how to respond, try to leave the incident behind you as you go on with your day.

Seek professional help. Discrimination is difficult to deal with, and is often associated with symptoms of depression. Psychologists are experts in helping people manage symptoms of stress and depression, and can help you find healthy ways to cope.


“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela


8 have signed. Let’s get to 10!