Difference Between Segregation and Discrimination

Segregation vs Discrimination

Discrimination and segregation are two practices that may have been outlawed and condemned by people around the world but still remain rampant in many parts of the world. Treating people according to the color of their skin and holding prejudice against a particular class of people because of their racial affiliations are examples of discrimination. On the other hand, keeping people apart on the basis of their perceived differences is segregation. There are many similarities between segregation and discrimination that confuse people and many tend to believe that the two practices are same or synonymous. However, despite similarities, there are differences that will be highlighted in this article.


For modern day Americans, it may be shocking, but the reality is that Americans practiced slavery for nearly 2 centuries before Civil war broke out. After the war, some of the southern states of the country passed laws that legalized segregation. These laws were challenged in Supreme Court, but the court ruled that these laws did not violate the 14th amendment of the constitution as they provided separate but equal facilities. Before segregation, there was no need to separate blacks from whites as blacks were mostly slaves of whites. Separate facilities were created for blacks and the whites such as restaurants, schools, hospitals, theaters, and so on. It was the south of the country that was hell bent on segregation and no voting rights for the blacks. In the 1860’s Jim Crow laws were instituted in the South to enforce discrimination and segregation. Blacks were not just separated from the society, but they were also humiliated at every step of life, and they had to show deference to the whites.


Discrimination refers to the practice of treating different people differentially primarily on the basis of the color of their skin, nationality, and ethnicity. Discrimination is in reality unfavorable or biased treatment of a particular class or people depending upon their race or color of skin. Discrimination includes behavior or action that is prejudicial and covers gender, racial, age related, and disability related discrimination. It is a negative action or attitude towards a particular group of people. While racial discrimination is the most common and popular type of discrimination, discrimination on the basis of gender, age, ability, language, ethnicity etc. are also common around the world.

What is the difference between Segregation and Discrimination?

• Segregation is a type of discrimination as it separates two groups of people on the basis of the color of their skin.

• Discrimination can take place at all places from home to offices, and it can be done on the basis of sex, age, color of skin, ability, ethnicity, and even language.

• When you are segregating, you are discriminating, actually.

• Both segregation and discrimination are unlawful and bad for the society.

• While segregation is easy to spot, discrimination continues unabated in the minds of the people around the world.

• Segregation in USA was an attempt to prevent blacks from becoming a part of the society and to stop them from voting.