Pubdate: Mon, 20 Nov 2000
Source: Hamilton Spectator (CN ON)
Copyright: The Hamilton Spectator 2000
Author: Krista Warnke


It is painfully obvious that Mike Harris and his government have no respect 
for human rights, fairness or equity. Their plan to force welfare 
recipients to undergo drug testing before giving them their cheques is the 
latest example. It is time for some very basic anti-discrimination education.

A stereotype is defined as a belief held by an individual about the 
presumed physical and psychological characteristics of members of a social 
category. These beliefs can be either positive or negative. When applied so 
generally that individual differences are not recognized, or even defined, 
they are impediments to human relations. For example: Welfare recipients 
are irresponsible, unmotivated people who use their cheques to buy alcohol 
and drugs.

Prejudice is a mental state or attitude of prejudging (generally 
unfavourably), attributing a stereotype to that person. Prejudiced 
attitudes reinforce unequal treatment of individuals or a group of people. 
For example: While reviewing resumes, an employer notices one from someone 
who is receiving social assistance and assumes she/he would probably be a 
"problem employee" because of drug or alcohol use.

Discrimination is an action or behaviour against a member of a social 
category based on prejudice and stereotypes. For example: The employer puts 
the resume on the "no interview" pile.

Systemic discrimination is also referred to as "institutional" or 
"structural" discrimination. It is when institutions, government agencies, 
corporations and organizations have systems that discriminate, based on 
stereotypes and prejudice, and therefore limit the opportunities or the 
human rights of some groups. A system can refer to laws, polices and/or 
practices. For example: Mike Harris' proposed drug testing for welfare 

If (and it's a big "if") the Ontario government has any interest in human 
rights, fairness, or equity, it will abandon this blatantly discriminatory 

- -- Krista Warnke, public education co-ordinator, Sexual Assault Centre, 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart