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Questionnaire: Do You Discriminate Against Others?

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 15 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Discriminate Discrimination Equal

Many people who discriminate against others would be surprised to hear themselves described this way. They may feel that they were just joking, that their words or deeds were taken out of context or even that they were just trying to help - all without realising that their behaviours could be viewed as discriminatory.

To help you determine if you discriminate against others we have put together this questionnaire. Answer each question honestly with a "yes" or "no" and then total your answers. Match your total to the explanations at the end to find out if you discriminate against others.


1. Have you ever made, or laughed at, a joke that was based on a stereotype?
2. Have you ever made assumptions about a new co-worker based on anything other than merit?
3. Have you ever decided to be, or not to be, friends with someone based on something other than his or her personality?
4. Have you ever refused an offer of help from someone based on something other than that person's skills?
5. Have you ever decided not to offer help to someone based on something other than your own skills or schedule?
6. Have you ever made an assumption about someone based on his or her accent?
7. Have you ever made an assumption about someone based on his or her clothing?
8. Have you ever known of discrimination happening but done nothing to stop it?
9. Have you ever refused to step in when others were perpetuating stereotypes or falsehoods?
10. Have you ever helped someone because you believed they needed it, rather than asking them?
11. Have you ever looked back on an interaction with someone and wondered if you were discriminatory?
12. Have you ever been accused of discrimination?

Do You Discriminate Against Others?

If you answered "yes" to between one and four questions then it is not likely that you discriminate against others as a matter of course. It may be that every now and then you speak or act without thinking through the ramifications, or that you were unaware of the ways in which your words or behaviours could be viewed as discriminatory or insulting. If some of your answers to these questions surprised you, think about why and how you would or would not change your way of thinking in the future. If you remain truly unsure of why something you said or did could be perceived as discriminatory, consider talking it over with others to get second opinions. However, choose your audience carefully as it could be easy to come off as insensitive or even to simply surround yourself with others who will not challenge your thoughts or help you grow.

If you answered "yes" to between five and eight questions then you may discriminate against others more often than you think. You may not be aware of this, particularly if your interactions with those outside of your established social circle are limited, but grouping others by stereotypes limits your own opportunities to learn and experience new things as well as hurts those against whom you discriminate. If you are shocked to think of yourself as discriminatory then take an honest look at your answers and determine what you need to work on in the future to promote equality amongst those in your life, and those you will encounter in the future.

If you answered "yes" to nine or more questions then it is likely that you discriminate against others on a more regular basis. Discriminating against anyone, for any reason, is unfair to all involved and in many instances illegal. Take a hard look at your own beliefs about factors such as age, religion, race, gender and sexuality to determine why you let these factors guide so much of your thinking, words and behaviours. If you need help, seek out someone who celebrates diversity. Don't ignore that your own world is being limited by your prejudices, or that you have the capacity to change this.

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