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Identifying Institutionalized Discrimination

Identifying Institutionalized Discrimination

Policies are put in place to not only manage processes but also to ensure fairness for all people impacted by the policies. Think about the recent pandemic. To slow the spread of the virus and reduce hospitalizations, many governments required members of society to quarantine at home for a specified period of time. However, many jobs were deemed essential and those working in those positions were not required to stay at home. On one hand, these individuals were able to maintain their income, but they also were at increased risk of becoming infected. This was especially true for delivery drivers. Since most people were not shopping in-person, delivery drivers experienced increased workloads, bringing them into greater contact with customers during a period of growing virus infections.

Since those whose jobs were not deemed essential were required to quarantine at home and those working in essential jobs could not quarantine without fear of losing their jobs, would you consider this policy a form of institutionalized discrimination?

Institutionalized discrimination involves policies and procedures that limit or prohibit access for certain people while still providing access for others. It occurs at the institutional rather than at the individual level.

For this assignment, you will consider examples of organizational policies and procedures and examine whether institutionalized discrimination exists. You also will explore who is affected by institutionalized discrimination and how institutions might change their policy or approach to be more inclusive. Please review the examples of organizational policies and procedures in the “Critical Thinking Activity” below.

Critical Thinking Activity

  • A summer job application asks for a photograph of the applicant (applications without photographs will not be considered).
  • An apartment complex requires that applicants state whether they have or are planning to have children.
  • A public school institutes a new policy that students must wear their hair no longer than chin length.
  • A courthouse does not inform defendants that they have the option to request an interpreter, if needed.
  • An airline posts an advertisement in an online job board for stewardesses.
  • A restaurant chain runs a television advertisement stating that they are seeking waiters in the age range of 18–25.
  • A hospital includes questions on race, ethnicity, and religion on an emergency room intake form.

For your Journal entry:

  • Describe whether a community or communities is/are being excluded in each example provided and explain which community/communities are being excluded.
  • Explain whether the policy or procedure in each example might be considered a form of institutionalized discrimination and explain why or why not.
  • If institutionalized discrimination is occurring, explain how the institution involved might change its approach or policies to be more inclusive.
  • Write at least 300 words.

Support your response with these Learning Resources:

Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality.(2016, November 16). Current trends in social mobility: Raj Chetty[Video].

OECD,(2016, April 11). The cost of inequality [Video]. Youtube.


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