In our modern society, we've taken a lot of steps forward in terms of human rights and equality for all people. However, we're not at the point where we can say discrimination no longer exists. As a deaf person, you may still find that prejudice is alive and well when you venture out into the world. If we want to stop discrimination forever, the first step is always making sure that everyone can recognize discrimination when it is taking place. Only then can they make steps to stop it. This article should help you learn to recognize discrimination.

The linguistic definition of discrimination is treating someone differently because they belong to a particular group. The group they belong to might be deaf people or people in wheelchairs or Asian people or Catholics or homosexuals or anything else that might set them apart from the majority. When we say treating someone differently, we mean treating them negatively or denying them the same rights and privileges others enjoy.

In practice, this means any person or organization who refuses to offer you what they would offer to any other person is discriminating against you. In countries like Canada and the United States, this is illegal, especially if they are discriminating against you by disqualifying you from applying for a job or barring you from using the service. Discrimination can work for the majority (i.e. against minorities) or for the minority (i.e. against the majority). Either way it infringes on your right to equal consideration.

Discrimination can come from an unfair policy within a company, such as if a real estate company were told not to sell houses to someone who is disabled or is gay. Discrimination can also come from individuals, such as a real estate agent whose company policy states that she must show a home to any client who is interested but who refuses to take you to see a home because you are in a wheelchair. Often excuses are made for the discriminatory treatment, but do not let them deter you.

So what can you do if someone is treating you with discrimination? Well, once you have consulted the definition of discrimination, you can take steps to rectify it. Often calling the person out on their behavior is enough. Sometimes, however, you may have to go over their head or even take your grievance to the police or the courts.

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