Reverse discrimination

Reverse discrimination

Reverse discrimination is a controversial term referring to discrimination against members of a dominant or majority group, including the city or state, or in favor of members of a minority or historically disadvantaged group. Groups may be defined in terms of race, gender, ethnicity, or other factors. This discrimination may seek to redress social inequalities where minority groups have been denied access to the same privileges of the majority group. In such cases it is intended to remove discrimination that minority groups may already face. Reverse discrimination may also be used to highlight the discrimination inherent in affirmative action programs.

The law in some countries, such as the UK, draws a distinction between Equality of Provision and Equality of Outcome, recognising that identical treatment may sometimes act to preserve inequality rather than eliminate it. Opponents of this distinction may label it as an example of positive discrimination.



In India, among the limited positions for higher studies, 50 percent are reserved.[citation needed] Reserved category candidates can select a position from the Open 50 percent if he or she has good merit. This results in further reverse discrimination of Open/General/Non Reserved candidates. Further, since there is no Economic criteria is classifying Reservation, poorer sections of reserved class often remain poor whereas the affluent section reap benefits for successive generations.[citation needed] Also, the poorer sections of Open/General Category become devoid of access to higher education for even slightly low merit on competitive exams. The difference in merit on entrance exams is often very wide between the reserved and unreserved classes. In India, the term is often used by citizens protesting against reservation and quotas.[1][2][3]

United Kingdom

UK law draws a distinction between Equality of Provision and Equality of Outcome, particularly in respect to disability rights. The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and the Equality Act 2010 make it clear that treating two people identically may not be sufficient to guarantee that they have been treated equally in law if the task, physical environment or service does not offer them equality of outcome. The law provides for disabled people to request the provision of 'reasonable adjustments' to ensure that they are able to access employment, services and the built environment with the same potential as non-disabled people.

In November 2007, David Rosin, a former vice-president of the Royal College of Surgeons wrote in the magazine Hospital Doctor: “It is time that someone spoke up concerning the reverse discrimination with respect to merit awards” and saying that "female and ethnic minority consultants are being given preferential treatment to meet artificial quotas".[4]


  • The Zebra murders were a series of unprovoked crimes that specifically targeted White Americans in San Francisco between 1973 and 1974. The murders were carried out by a group known as the "Death Angels" (a radical splinter group of the Nation of Islam), who intended to kill whites to spread terror and earn favor and status within their sect.
  • The 2002 Beltway sniper attacks were a series of crimes where the attackers planned to kill six whites a day for 30 days[5], and resulted in 10 deaths and 3 critical injuries. One of the snipers Lee Boyd Malvo testified that John Allen Muhammad was driven by hatred of America because of its "slavery, hypocrisy and foreign policy" and his belief that "the white man is the devil".

See also






  1. ^ Devanesan Nesiah. Discrimination With Reason? The Policy of Reservations in the United States, India and Malaysia. 1997. Oxford University Press. 0195639839.
  2. ^ Excess reservation will cause reverse discrimination, cautions Supreme Court
  3. ^ R. Kent Greenawalt. Discrimination and Reverse Discrimination. 1983. Knopf. ISBN 0394335775.
  4. ^ Templeton, Sarah-Kate (2007-11-18). "'Doctor's Revolt at Anti-White Bias'". London: The Times. Retrieved 2010-06-30. 
  5. ^ "The sniper's plan: kill six whites a day for 30 days". Daily Telegraph. 2006-05-25. Retrieved 2010-06-30. 

Further reading

  • Nigel Warburton (2004). "Reverse discrimination". Philosophy: the basics (4th ed.). Routledge. pp. 72–73. ISBN 0415327725. 
  • Alina Tryfonidou (2009). Reverse discrimination in EC law. European monographs. 64. Kluwer Law International. ISBN 9041127518. 
  • Fred L. Pincus (2003). Reverse discrimination: dismantling the myth. Lynne Rienner Publishers. ISBN 1588262030. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • reverse discrimination — n: discrimination against whites or males (as in employment or education) Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996. reverse discrimination …   Law dictionary

  • reverse discrimination — ➔ discrimination * * * reverse discrimination UK US noun [U] ► HR, LAW the usually illegal practice of giving an advantage in education, employment, etc. to members of groups who have traditionally been treated unfairly, for example because of… …   Financial and business terms

  • reverse discrimination — ☆ reverse discrimination n. discrimination in hiring, college admissions, etc. directed against members of certain social or racial groups, as white males, thought of as being dominant or having benefited from past discrimination against minority …   English World dictionary

  • reverse discrimination — noun : discrimination against whites or males (as in employment or education) * * * noun [noncount] : the practice of making it more difficult for a certain type of person (such as a white man) to get a job, to go to a school, etc., because other …   Useful english dictionary

  • reverse discrimination — N UNCOUNT Reverse discrimination is the same as positive discrimination. The Scheme wants a policy of reverse discrimination in favour of children from working class and ethnic backgrounds …   English dictionary

  • reverse discrimination —    a failure to appoint the more suitable candidate    Discrimination, tout court, might seem sufficient to have covered the concept:     White men have scored two major victories in reverse discrimination rulings by the US Supreme Court,… …   How not to say what you mean: A dictionary of euphemisms

  • reverse discrimination — noun The policy or practice of discriminating against members of a designated group which has in the past unfairly received preferential treatment in social, legal, educational, or employment situations, with the intention of benefiting one or… …   Wiktionary

  • reverse discrimination — reverse′ discrimina′tion n. soc discrimination against white persons or males resulting from preferential policies intended to remedy past discrimination against minorities or females • Etymology: 1965–70 …   From formal English to slang

  • reverse discrimination — discrimination against members of a majority group as a result of policies that give preference to minorities (such as affirmative action, etc.) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • reverse discrimination — Prejudice or bias exercised against a person or class for purpose of correcting a pattern of discrimination against another person or class. A type of discrimination in which majority groups are purportedly discriminated against in favor of… …   Black's law dictionary