Sourced from The Conflict Thesaurus, Volume 2
Discrimination can be defined as mistreatment due to an element of the character’s identity or their identification with a certain group of people. It may be based on a multitude of factors, including age, race, intellectual ability, family status, gender, sexuality, religion, or physical ability.
The line between discrimination and harassment is blurry and very often will be determined by the specific context of the situation, but discrimination tends to be more generalized, with the character being treated a certain way because of a specific identifier. For scenarios where your character is being personally targeted (oftentimes, repeatedly) based on these factors, see the entry on EXPERIENCING HARASSMENT.
The character being denied a place to practice their religion
Not being offered a job because of a discriminating factor
Receiving lower pay or unequal benefits at work
Not being taken seriously in the workplace
Not being given equal access to housing, education, training, or another advantage
Being interrogated about a purchase that other consumers wouldn’t be questioned about
Not being able to marry or adopt a child
Being profiled by members of the public or by the authorities
Being excluded from clubs, memberships, and certain careers
Being denied financial support (a loan, scholarship, sponsorship, etc.) that anyone else can access
The character having to hide aspects of their life
Needing to convince others of their value
Housing or job choices being limited by a discriminatory factor
Dealing with judgmental looks or comments from others
The character having to pretend they don’t notice the discrimination
Not being given the same responsibilities or perks in the workplace
Being stereotyped by others
Dealing with ignorant questions
The character having to educate others about their race, sexuality, gender, etc. Having to point out a double standard and fight for equal status
Struggling to achieve financial stability
POTENTIALLY DISASTROUS RESULTS:
Having to sue someone
Publicly accusing a person or entity of discrimination without evidence, and being punished
Getting into an argument or fight
Seeking revenge against the discriminatory person
Experiencing bullying, threats, or violence
The character being denied the ability to marry, adopt a child, or expand their family Being denied critical medical or mental health care
Being held without cause or trial
Self-medicating to cope with anxiety or depression and developing an addiction Attempting or committing suicide
RESULTING EMOTIONS: Anger, Anguish, Anxiety, Bitterness, Defeat, Defensiveness, Depressed, Desperation, Disbelief, Discouraged, Disillusionment, Frustration, Humiliation, Hurt, Inadequate, Insecurity, Intimidated, Powerlessness, Resentment, Vulnerability, Worthlessness
POSSIBLE INTERNAL STRUGGLES:
Becoming isolated and depressed
The character questioning their self-worth
Feeling torn about speaking up—wanting to, but fearing it will only make things worse
Feeling helpless for not being able to protect loved ones from discrimination Wondering if they will ever be accepted for who they are
Feeling pressured to fit in
Resenting people who have never faced discrimination
Resenting those who could be an ally but won’t step in and help
The character being enraged when others minimize or dismiss the discrimination
NEGATIVE TRAITS THAT MAY WORSEN THE SITUATION: Abrasive, Antisocial, Cowardly, Dishonest, Disrespectful, Hostile, Inhibited, Insecure, Nervous, Prejudiced, Resentful, Subservient, Timid, Uncommunicative, Vindictive, Violent, Volatile
IMPACT ON BASIC NEEDS:
Self-Actualization: A character may be forced to live below their potential if they lack the same opportunities as everyone else.
Esteem and Recognition: Not being accepted based on a random factor may cause the character to question their own worth.
Love and Belonging: The character may struggle to connect with people who can’t relate to their lived experience. As well, other characters may not pursue a deeper relationship with the character due to bias or the fear they will be similarly labeled and mistreated.
Safety and Security: Access to jobs, safe housing, and medical care may be diminished because of discrimination. This kind of mistreatment will also increase the character’s vulnerability, making them feel unsafe around certain people or in specific situations.
POSITIVE TRAITS TO HELP THE CHARACTER COPE: Centered, Courageous, Courteous, Diplomatic, Friendly, Honorable, Persistent, Professional, Resourceful, Responsible, Socially Aware
Impacting culture by educating people on personal differences
Helping secure safer environments for others (at work, school, public spaces, etc.) Exposing harmful practices or bad actors in influential positions to bring about change
Self-advocating and receiving equal benefits and opportunities
See the complete lists of entries for Volume 1 and Volume 2.
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