Definition of Discrimination: Causes and Types

Discrimination is – Differences are common, especially in our country, Indonesia. In contrast to the majority of countries in the world which consist of only one race, the Indonesian state actually consists of hundreds of races and tribes.

Each tribe has a different culture, a different language, a different dialect, and different living habits. All these differences usually occur due to geographical location and also the culture of the area.

Being born and living life in Indonesia, which consists of so many ethnicities, cultures, languages, and appearances, makes us Indonesians appreciate and respect these differences. That way, the unity and integrity of Indonesia is maintained and strong.

Apart from that, it makes us aware that God created different human beings not to be enemies with each other or even to point swords at each other, but to learn about the oneness of God. That way, we learn how to appreciate the difference itself, to learn to understand that it’s okay to be different from other people.

Unfortunately, not everyone can think that way, so it can trigger resentment between individuals. Talking about differences, in fact almost everyone knows that basically all humans are different from one another. We can see this from the closest family, where the physical and characteristics of family members are not always the same.

Again, many people know that every human being is different, unfortunately only a few really understand that. If many people are not aware of this, then there will be many cases of discrimination everywhere. Discrimination cases do not only occur abroad, but several discrimination cases also occur in Indonesia.

Then, what exactly is meant by discrimination? You can find the answer in the discussion of this article.

Definition of Discrimination

Discrimination is an action, attitude or behavior carried out by a person or one group to corner another group. Usually discrimination is carried out by one group with a larger population to another group with a much smaller population or what we usually call minorities.

The behavior, attitudes, and actions of cornering themselves are triggered by the big differences between the two groups. Whether differences in ethnicity, culture, skin color, social status to religion. Discrimination that is allowed to go unpunished can lead to a conflict.

Discrimination occurs most often in homogeneous countries, where the majority of the population is of the same race with exactly the same living habits as one another. Therefore, with so many similarities, it is not uncommon for residents of homogeneous countries to feel superior to residents of other countries.

They feel that their degree is much higher than people who are different from them. As a result of this mindset, when foreigners with different skin colors visit, they will be treated differently from local people.

Discriminatory behavior itself can occur everywhere, especially in public facilities, such as supermarkets, restaurants, buses, means of transportation, and so on. In addition, public facilities are usually always filled with many people.

However, sadly, even though many people see this discriminatory behavior, most of them decide to remain silent without taking any action to stop it. What’s worse, not a few of these people actually agree and consider this act of discrimination as the right step.

Not infrequently this discriminatory behavior leads to big fights that can involve many people. The discriminatory behavior received by a tourist will make him reluctant to return to the country, and it often results in deep trauma. If things like that happen frequently, then the tourism sector could experience a decline.

Causes of Discrimination

There will be no smoke if there is no fire. The same saying also applies to discrimination. However, discriminatory acts or behaviors do not appear suddenly, but are caused by something. In this case, most discrimination is caused by prejudice or stereotypes that develop in society.

Prejudice and stereotypes that arise are usually caused by a lack of knowledge. But instead of finding out from books or the internet, they prefer to believe what they know. For example, people in South Asian countries sometimes discriminate against people from Southeast Asia because they think that Southeast Asia is not more advanced than countries in South Asia, especially from an economic point of view.

This is exacerbated by the lack of desire to find out, so they continue to think that the countries in Southeast Asia are poor and undeveloped. In fact, the world does not only develop around them.

The world is also changing, and every country is also developing, including countries in Southeast Asia, Indonesia for example. When compared to Indonesia in the 90s, our country is clearly running very fast, both in the economic, infrastructure and technology fields.

It is these prejudices and stereotypes that ultimately make a person tend to treat other people in a different way. They will treat people who are from developed countries and of equal or higher social status in a better way.

Meanwhile, people who are considered to be from developing countries or middle to lower economic status will be treated in a bad way. The lower the social status, skin color or economic status, the worse the treatment they get.

Types of Discrimination

Although at first glance acts of discrimination look the same, discrimination is actually divided into several types. These types of discrimination are divided based on race, gender, age, and political views.

Even though Indonesians respect differences, certain types of discrimination still frequently occur in this country. So, what types of discrimination exist? Here are the types of discrimination that most often occur in the world!


Racism, this one term is definitely quite familiar to all of us. When compared to other types of discrimination, racism is the most common type of discrimination to date. From its name, you can conclude that racism is the belief that one race is far superior to another.

Nowadays, racism is usually based on skin color. As you know, every race has a different skin color from one another. There are races whose people have black, brown, olive, to white skin.

In certain countries, people tend to think that white skin is a symbol of beauty. People with white skin are always considered much more beautiful and attractive than those with dark skin. In fact, this racist attitude makes many women try to change their skin color to a lighter one because they feel ugly and are not confident with their natural skin color.

Although the term racism is popular today, discrimination based on race has in fact been around for decades. If you have ever read a history book about World War II, you may know that Adolf Hitler once attempted to genocide the Jews living in Europe. This action was actually based on many factors, one of which was Hitler’s belief that the Aryan race was far superior to the Jews.

As a result, as many as millions of Jews in Europe had their rights restricted, arrested, imprisoned, and tortured in concentration camps spread across several countries that had been occupied by Germany and the Nazis. At the end of World War II, as many as 5 million Jews died from disease, hunger, torture, and murder committed by the Nazis in their concentration camps.

Racism also occurred in the United States around the 16th century, at which time white people considered them far more respectable than black people. As a result, black people not only lost their rights as human beings, but also became slaves and were traded like animals. This slavery only ended when Abraham Lincoln led Uncle Sam’s country.


If racism is based on the belief that one race is far superior to other races, then sexism is the belief that men are smarter and stronger than women. Sexism in the end makes women always be number two in many things, especially work.

Even though sexism is not as bad as racism, this type of discrimination is still very detrimental to women. In the past, women were not allowed to apply for certain jobs because they were thought to be unable to do so. Sexism also occurred in Indonesia during the colonial era.

At that time, women’s duties were just to stay at home, in the kitchen, taking care of their husbands and children. Because their job is only to stay at home, women are prohibited from receiving higher education. In the era before Kartini, many indigenous women could not read because they never had the opportunity to receive an education.

What’s worse, even though the world is now very modern, sexism is still found in many countries. In South Korea, for example, women’s salaries are not the same as men’s. Many companies also prefer to accept male employees over women because they are considered more profitable.

Such an opinion is based on the fact that women will one day marry, give birth and have children. They can no longer work because they have to take care of their children and families.


Ageism is an act of discrimination based on a person’s age. Interestingly, compared to other types of discrimination, ageism is rarely recognized by many people. In fact, ageism occurs very often in our daily life.

One example of this type of discrimination is ageism, namely the assumption that older people are wiser than those who are still young. While the elderly are seen as wise, the young are often seen as clumsy, selfish, ignorant and incapable of anything.

This is actually very reasonable because in their teens, they have less stable emotions. When problems arise, young people will choose the easiest solution, without thinking about the consequences of their choice. But not all young people are like that right?

However, a person’s attitude, actions, and mindset are not always in accordance with his age. Likewise, many people who are mature in age still have a childish mindset, and even often make trouble and cause trouble to those around them.

It’s not only young people who are victims of this type of discrimination. Parents are also sometimes the ones who suffer from this type of ageism discrimination. For example, when applying for a job, many companies prefer to hire young people because they are considered physically stronger than older people.

Because of this, many parents find it difficult to find jobs that match their skills. Even if they have a wealth of experience, they are still limited by the age requirement set by the company.

Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities

Life as a person with a disability is not easy, physical limitations are one of the reasons. However, the life of persons with disabilities becomes more difficult than it should be because society often looks at them with one eye.

In their surroundings, persons with disabilities are often seen as weak and always need a helping hand from others. It’s true that sometimes they need help, but that doesn’t mean they’re weak and can’t do anything on their own.

Today, many people with disabilities have higher education. However, they still find it difficult to find work because companies are reluctant to give them a chance to prove themselves. As a result, they have to fend for themselves to live.

In fact, regardless of their physical limitations, people with disabilities can also work well just like other people as long as they get the opportunity to try, the opportunity to prove themselves, and get the opportunity to be equal to other people.

Discrimination of Different Political Views

Now this discrimination can be considered quite unique, because it only occurs at certain times. Unfortunately, this type of discrimination also occurs in Indonesia. Usually political discrimination occurs before the presidential election which occurs every 5 years.

As the general election approaches, people tend to be divided into two camps. The camps of candidate A and candidate B. This one discrimination can be said to be very annoying, because the two camps not only support each other’s chosen candidate, but also discredit one another.

For example, the general elections in 2014 and 2019, we know how the Indonesian people are divided and attack each other. Suddenly, political views became a very sensitive topic.

Someone will treat other people better when that person has the same political views. On the other hand, a person may treat other people badly and even be hostile to his own brother because of differences in political views.

How to Avoid Discrimination

Basically, there are several ways to avoid discrimination, including:

  1. Uphold Human Rights
  2. Increase the Spirit of Unity and Unity
  3. Get used to not looking at other people from their appearance
  4. Mutual Respect and Appreciation


Regardless of how many and the types, discrimination is not something that can be justified, whatever the reason. Discrimination at first is only prejudice, but if left unchecked, this prejudice will turn into attacks, even prolonged hostilities.

People who experience discrimination will not only feel offended and hurt, if left unchecked they will also feel prolonged trauma. In fact, victims of discrimination can be traumatized.