is action taken to prevent discrimination on the grounds of race, age, gender,
disability, sexual orientation or religion. ADP promotes equality, fairness and
ways of doing things that don’t oppress people.
Can you think of a time when you have heard someone be prejudice or
Now think of how you could challenge this statement to stop the discrimination
When you are working in a community, the best type of language to use is
called ‘pro-social language’ which means it promotes inclusion, values
diversity and does not come across as violent.
You can use pro-social language to challenge people who are discriminatory
1. Paraphrasing- if someone says ‘He was acting like a spaz’, you say, ‘so you
think he was acting in a silly way?’ This way you are encouraging people to
use other words that are less offensive
2. Questioning- If someone says something that was a stereotype such as
‘girls can’t play football’ then question their assumption. Ask them how they
know this is true, is it true, are there any examples that suggests this might not
3. Exploring- When someone says something explore with them the meaning
of it e.g. If they say, ‘that pen is so gay’, you say, ‘what do you mean when
you use the word gay? How do you think a gay person would feel if they heard
you use the word gay to mean stupid or wrong?’
Other tips to remember What is right isn’t always easy and what is easy isn’t always right
Try not to challenge the person, instead challenge the comment. (Don’t
say ‘you are wrong’, say ‘I disagree with what you are saying’)
It is your responsibility to stand up against discrimination, don’t just
leave it to other people- Be a role model!
Be aware of your own attitudes and stereotypes, and challenge
Actively listen when people are explaining where they are coming
from, it will help you understand why they think the way they do
Project a feeling of trust, support and care so people feel comfortable
and don’t feel attacked
Six Strands of discrimination
The UN convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination
defines racism as:
"any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour,
descent, or national or ethnic origin". (Schools and clubs racism pack, 1997
European Year Against Racism). Racism is the belief that (a) different human
characteristics are determined by race and (b) that there are superior and
A useful definition is:
Prejudice + Power = Racism
Sexism describes discrimination against someone on the grounds of their
gender and also is used to describe any type of differentiation based on sex.
Attitudes and conditions that promote stereotyping of social roles based on
Discrimination against people with disabilities in favour of people who are not
disabled. An ableist society is said to be one that treats non-disabled
individuals as the standard of ‘normal living’.
The assumption that a person's age should determine their social status and
their roles in society.
An untrue assumption that chronological age is the main determinant of
human characteristics and that one age is better than another.
Valuing or treating a person or group differently because of what they do or do
not believe. While some authorities nowadays tend to stress that religion is
something personal, others still practice religious discrimination.
Discrimination on the grounds of ones sexual orientation is using
discrimination against people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual or assumed to
Sexual orientation describes the sexual attraction between individuals as
Heterosexual/straight: attracted to those of the opposite gender
Lesbian (women) or gay (men): attracted to those of the same gender
Bisexual: attracted to others of either the same or the opposite gender
** Transgender is an issue of gender identity as opposed to biological sex
and/or sexual orientation.
Gender describes our identity as a woman or man. For most people it
coincides with the biological sex ascribed at birth. For a minority who are
transgender, their internal sense of identity is different from the sex ascribed
at birth and from how others perceive them. A transgender person may
decide to go through transition and move from their assigned gender to their
inner one. They may or may not choose to have hormone treatment and/or
surgery as part of this. Someone who is transgender, may be straight,
lesbian, gay or bisexual. Transgender people are protected under the Sex
Discrimination (Gender Reassignment) Regulations of 1999.
In order for Young People to be included in projects, to be able to participate
meaningfully and in order for them to learn and achieve, they NEED:
1) A safe, comfortable and supportive environment.
2) Clear guidelines on acceptable behaviour.
3) Workers whom listen and take their input seriously.
4) Access to information and advice
5) Appropriate models of people who are black and minority ethnic, disabled,
young and old, gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gender, male and female and
with various religions and faiths.
Allport suggests that through accepting and/or failing to challenge name
calling and bad mouthing, people will become desensitised to discriminatory
words, oppressive language and stereotypical assumptions thus making them
Once assumptions, oppression and discrimination is accepted in language, be
it verbal and/or written (e.g. SMS, graffiti, online), this may lead to an
escalation of discrimination, which manifests through behaviours such as
ignoring or excluding minority groups from activities (level 2), discrimination
through action that directly or indirectly disadvantages someone else (level 3),
physical attacks and acts of violence (level 4) and finally murder or death
It is important to note that each of these levels of discrimination can also be
directed to one’s self and internalised, for example, using demeaning
language to describe one’s self, self harm and suicide.
Handy Hints when challenging discrimination, oppression and
A challenge should be seen as an invitation, not an attack.
Very few people would consider themselves prejudiced and would react
negatively if accused of being so. Acknowledge that people’s attitudes and
statements may be due to social background and personal circumstances,
and that the person may not realise they are being offensive.
Don’t expect the world.
One challenge is unlikely to change a person’s attitude. However, consistent
challenging from all Youth Workers, colleagues and peers will raise the
awareness of an issue.
Address the attitude and/or the behaviour; not the person.
Attitudes and behaviours often change with experience and knowledge.
Highlighting that a person’s statement was discriminatory as opposed to
claiming that someone is “a homophobe” or “ableist” is likely to result in a
more positive response.
Showing composure and calmness, as well as consideration for the other
person’s feelings is more likely to allow for your message or challenge to get
through. Shouting or getting frustrated may indicate a poorly thought out view