The Study Blog :

5 examples of thesis statements about racism for your next paper.

By Evans Apr 28 2021

Racism is a hot topic worldwide. It is one of the topics that never lack an audience. As expected, racism is also one of the most loved topics by teachers and even students. Therefore, it is not a surprise to be told to write an essay or a  research paper  on racism. You need to come up with several things within an incredible paper on racism, the most important one being a thesis statement. The term thesis statement sends shivers down the spine of many students. Most do not understand its importance or how to come up with a good thesis statement. Lucky for you, you have come to the right place. Here, you will learn all about  thesis statement  and get to sample a few racist thesis statements.

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Tips to writing a strong racism thesis statement

Keep it short.

A thesis statement is supposed to appear in the first paragraph of your essay. However, this does not mean that it should be the entire paragraph! A strong thesis statement should be one sentence (not an annoyingly long sentence), usually placed as the last sentence in the first paragraph.

Have a stand

A thesis statement should show what you aim to do with your paper. It should show that you are aware of what you are talking about. The thesis statement prepares the reader for what he or she is about to read. A wrong thesis statement will leave the reader of your paper unsure about your topic choice and your arguments.

Answer your research question

If you have been tasked with writing a  research paper  on why the Black Lives Matter movement has successfully dealt with racism, do not write a thesis statement giving the movement's history. Your thesis statement should respond to the research question, not any story you feel like telling. Additionally, the thesis statement is the summary of your sand and answer to the question at hand.

Express the main idea

A confused thesis statement expresses too many ideas while a strong, suitable one expresses the main idea. The thesis statement should tell the reader what your paper is all about. It should not leave the reader confused about whether you are talking about one thing or the other.

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a thesis statement about discrimination

Thesis Statements About Racism Samples

Racism in workplace thesis statement examples.

Racism is so rampant in the workplace. Thousands face discrimination daily in their workplaces. While this is definitely bad news, it gives us more data to choose from when working on an essay or research paper on racism in the workplace. Here are a few examples of thesis statements about racism in the workplace:

1.       Despite being in the The 21st century, racial discrimination is still rampant in the workplace. The efforts made by governments and world organizations have not helped to do away with this discrimination completely.

2.       Even with the unity that comes with digitalism, colour remains the one aspect of life that has continually caused a rift in this life. A lot of efforts have turned futile in the war against racism. The workplace is no exception. It is infiltrated with racial ideologies that remain within man's scope despite the professionalism within the workplace.

3.       Systemic racism is no new concept. It remains the favoured term with the tongues of many after food and rent. This is an indicator of how rooted the world is when it comes to the issue of racism. The now world has been configured to recognize racial differences and be blind to human similarity. Organizations have been established upon this social construct, and more often than it has led them into a ditch of failure. The loot that comes with racism is of great magnitude to bear.

Thesis statement about Racism in schools

Many academic institutions have been recognized for producing students who have passed with distinctions. Unfortunately, behind these overwhelming results lies a trail of many students who have suffered racism and have missed the honors board because of the color differences. Let's look at some of the examples of thesis statements on racism in schools:

1.       Merit should be the S.I unit upon which humanity is graded. Unfortunately, this is not the case, especially in schools, for the new merit score is the person's color. Many have found their way to the honour's board not because of merit but because they of the same color affiliation as the teacher.

2.       Enlightenment and civilization have found their way to the world through one important institution called schools. We owe that to it. Unfortunately, even with the height to which the world has reached civilization and enlightenment, one area has been left out and remains unaddressed- the world view of color. Despite the light and glamour, we see globally, one predominant view is called race. We continue to paint the world based on human color, even in schools.

3.       Bullying falls among the vices that have dire consequences to the victim. One of the spheres to which bullying exists is the sphere of color and race within the context of schools. Many student's confidence and esteem have been shuttered only because they are black or white. Many have receded to depression because they feel unwanted in the schools. One of the prominent times within American History is the Jim Crow Era, where racial segregation in schools within North Carolina was rampant. We saw schools have a section for white students and a separate section for black students within this era. The prevailing flag was black and white, and racism was the order of the day.

Final Thought

Coming up with a thesis statement does not have to difficult. No, not at all. Evaluate the topic or question and express yourself through the thesis statement from your stance or the answer. Mastering this one key in writing exams or assignments is one of the keys to scaling up the ladder of lucrative grades. However, practice is a discipline that will see you become a pro in writing a prolific strong, and catchy thesis statement. Henceforth, regard yourself as a pro, regard yourself as the best in thesis statement writing. If you are still having trouble with coming up with an excellent thesis statement, do not beat yourself up because of it.  Paper per hour  has the  best writers  who can help you with all your racism thesis statement needs.

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How to Write a Racism Thesis Statement: A Step-by-Step Guide (With Examples)

Jul 20, 2023

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Jul 20, 2023 | Blog

As a student, you will handle many subjects and assignments.

One topic that is popular for essays and research papers is Racism.

Many resources are on the topic, so students assume a racism essay is easy.

The challenge you will face with a racism essay is not content but a thesis statement.

The racism thesis statement should be powerful and something your audience can understand and relate to.

This article will provide helpful guidelines and tips on writing a racism thesis statement and examples of powerful racist thesis statements.

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What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement is the backbone of a persuasive paper.

The thesis states your position or opinion as a factual claim and guides readers through their journey with you in this essay.

I am informing them on how they will navigate through it.

A good thesis statement is the equivalent of a preacher giving a sermon or a politician making an announcement.

As you craft your paper’s introduction, your goal will be to pique interest by announcing what you’re going to say in-depth throughout the rest of your essay.

Do you know how a preacher or politician might say, “Here’s what I’m going to tell you”?

The thesis statement is your announcement of what you’re trying to convey.

Difference between a TOPIC and a THESIS STATEMENT

A topic is a subject or good idea you would like to explore further.

A thesis statement is a specific argumentative stance you will take on the subject.

For example, Racism is a topic, while a thesis statement about Racism could be:

“While racism remains a problem in America, it can be reduced or potentially eliminated through the effective implementation of diversity training programs in schools and corporate institutions.”

How do I get started with writing a thesis statement on racial discrimination?

Use these three steps:

(1) brainstorm what you think

(2) refine your idea

(3) rewrite your idea in the form of a central claim

Let’s use a hypothetical sociology class assignment asking you to construct a response to the racism problem on our college campus.

Step 1: Brainstorm what you think 

You start by writing, “Racism is a prominent issue on our college campus.”

Even though this is a great starting point, it is not well-defined. It’s’ simply restating the assignment.

At this point, what you need to do is to brainstorm. On this given topic, what do you think about it?

What’s your opinion on the given topic?

How will you support your opinion?

What examples and facts can you provide?

Try putting these questions on paper and writing down your answers. You will then use the solutions you wrote down to formulate a stronger racism thesis statement.

Step 2: Refine your idea

One of the proven best methods of doing this is using the following model:

On a piece of paper, write this: “I think that ____________.

Using your initial brainstorming idea, fill in the blank.

In our case, it will be this: “I think that racism remains a problem on our college campus.”

While you have rewritten your rough idea at this stage, it is starting to form a thesis.

Next, complete this model as you continue building your thesis: I think racism Racism remains a problem on our college campus because __________.

Then you write: IRacism Racism remains a problem on our college campus because it does not require mandatory diversity training for all of its students.

Okay, now you are progressing and heading in a good direction.

Let’s reword the thesis to make it appear more “academic.”

Step 3: Rewrite your idea in the form of a central claim 

We need to replace the word “you” to make the thesis statement appear less personal and like the main claim.

To achieve this, delete the “I think that” from the sentence:

“Racism remains a problem on our college campus because the college does not require mandatory diversity training for all of its students.”

Hurray! You now have your thesis statement—many congratulations.

Essential details to keep in mind when writing a racism thesis statement

1) your racism thesis statement should appear at the beginning of the paper.

When writing a Racism essay on Racism, the thesis statement is important.

Readers should be given a clear idea of what your essay will cover and how it will unfold.

The racism thesis statement is an outlook for the rest of your paper in the introductory paragraph.

The introductory paragraph should clarify that you’re approaching this topic from all angles and know how complicated this issue can be in today’s society.

2) Your theRacismatement on Racism should give direction to the rest of your paper

A thesis statement on Racism gives your reader direction and provides several reasons for elaborating on a specific claim.

If you wish to accomplish this, your statement should expRacismhe the idea of Racism in-depth with different examples that will persuade readers.

For example: ”Racism does not exist” while still, an argument is insufficient as it has a false sense of structure.

However, if your thesis is that “racism does not exist because antiracist movements have grown in power and number over the years,” you can provide two reasons to support this claim within one sentence.

Such shapes the rest of your paper while leaving much time for evidence discussion later.

Such gives the paper the needed shape as evidence is discussed in detail to support this claim.

3) Ensure that you have a debatable argument

Although it’s important to question any information you are given, there is a certain knowledge that the public already values.

For exampRacismeryone, he knows Racism is a social and moral vice.

This means coming up with such a topic would not interest their audience.

Your argument becomes a racism thesis statement once you add an aspect.

For instance, oRacismld says, “Racism is the most harmful social and moral vice on earth. we might lose our unique identities and multicultural features if not eradicated soon enough.”

4) Keep your Racism thesis statement short!

It’s effortless to make your racism essay more interesting if you keep it short.

If you pick a broad topic, the magnitude of information will almost certainly give you trouble.

A good thesis statement should be small and localized rather than large or generalizing.

For example: “White police brutality on black people among many other things shows that Racism still exists in the United States” would make a powerful claim about something that was happening more often now than before

Tips On How To Write A Racism Thesis Statement

Tips On How To Write A Racism Thesis Statement

Before writing your thesis statement on Racism, consider the following guidelines.

Find a racism topic or issue to write about

Racism is a broad issue that continues to plague the world even today.

Therefore, finding an informative topic from which you can develop a thesis statement shouldn’t be difficult.

You can see Racism approach Racism through other social issues such as art, politics, economy, equitability, poverty, and history.

2. Pick a topic that is interesting to you

You might not be familiar with all the Racism surrounding Racism.

As asRacismoned earlier, Racism is a broad topic; there are many approaches you can take in your paper.

Therefore, to have an easier time developing a thesis, pick a racist topic that interests you.

For instance, if you are conversant with the history of America, your thesis statement could focuRacismhe the effects of Racism during the Civil Rights Movement that began in 1954 and ended in 1968.

3. Hook your reader

As you write your thesis statement, try to include a hook.

A hook is a statement that grabs the attention of a reader.

Try hooking your reader by relating your thesis to popular culture.

You could even refer to current issues on the news or relate to popular television programs, movies, or books.

4. Avoid offensiveRacismage

Remember, Racism is a personal issue; it is open to bias depending on your thinking.

Therefore, most of the issues surrounding this topic are controversial.

Avoid offensive and rude language when discussing a controversial topic in an academic paper.

Examples Of Racism Thesis Statements

Examples Of Racism Thesis Statements

It would help if you had a well-thought-out and well-constructed thesis statement to get a good score in your racism-related research paper or essay.

The following are examples of thesis statements on different racism topics.

Existence of Racism

Existence of racism | Essay Freelance Writers

Such an essay tries to prove that racial segregation is still a significant social problem.

Therefore, your thesis statement should focus on the problems racial segregation causes.

Consider the following example:

It is a fact that police killings involving people of color are more than white people. Joshua Correll of the University of Colorado confirmed this when he designed a game where the participants played cops. The game results indicated that, despite the people playing cop, they were more willing to kill a person of color and showed hesitation when the suspect was a white persRacismis. Racism continues to plague society.

Use our free Thesis Statement Generator Tool Here .

Workplace-related Racism

Racism is a form of prejudice often experienced in a workplace environment.

A workplace powerful racism thesis statement could read as follows:

Prejudice in a workplace environment is a backward practice that undermines productivity. In the professional sphere, white people are considered mentally superior, and therefore they get the top jobs that pay higher wages. Blacks are considered physically endowed and land physical labor jobs, which generally pay lower.

Anti-racism movements

Anti-racism is a phrase coined by people who formed movements to fight Racismnsequences of Racism.

Martin Luther King Jr led the greatest antiracist movement between the early 50s and the late 60s.

Another key antiracist figure was Nelson Madiba Mandela of South Africa.

Anti-racism also covers the beliefs and policies set to combat racial prejudice.

An anti-racism essay thesis statement should evoke emotion from a reader.

The following is an example:

Anti-racism movement leaders were treated inhumanely; Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years, and Martin Luther King Junior was assassinated. But, society today would not be as egalitarian as it is without them. Their sacrifices are the sole reason blacks and whites can walk on the same street and work together to create a brighter future.

Cause and effect

You can choose to write about Racism and the effect of Racism.

For example, ignoRacismis a cause of Racism that results in fear and eventually extreme violence.

The following is an example of a thesis statement that focuses on ignorance and fear as thRacismary causes of Racism.

Undoubtedly, Racism has negative consequences, the key among them being fear and violence, resulting from a need to protect themselves. Racism major cause of Racism is ignorance. Uneducated and unexposed feel threatened by people of a different race. Such people condone and practice this prejudice without considering its negative effects and consequences on the individuals they discriminate against and society.

Racism Thesis statements based on art and literature

Books, music, and movies cover a wide variety of racist topics.

The following are examples of literary artworks you can base a racism essay on:

Othello is a play by Shakespeare that addresses some delicate sociRacismssues such as Racism.

You could develop a thesis statemeRacismhlighting Racism in the play.

Othello, who was black, was highly disrespected by Lago and other characters such as Emilia, Roderigo, and Brabantio. These characters labeled him ”Barbary horse,” ”an old black ram,” ”thick lips,” and other demeaning names. He was also abused for marrying a Venetian woman. All this shows a strong conviction that one race is superior and a barbaric intolerance towards the ”inferior” race.

2. To kill a mockingbird

This book by Harper Lee is popular because it portrays the struggles of a black man in the southern states in the early 20 th century.

The book is a good source for Racism essays as it depicts Racism and its effects easily and comprehensibly.

The following is a good example of a racist thesis statement from To Kill a Mocking Bird :

Tom Robinson was suspected of murdering Mayella Ewell, a white woman, and was sentenced not because of any evidence but because he was black. Like Atticus Finch, Scout, and Jem, who tried to defend him, White characters were given shaming names such as ”Nigger lovers.” The story in the book clearly shows the tribulations a black man went through and how his word meant nothing.

3. Disney films

Disney films and racism thesis statements

Disney films are popular for their fascinating stories and world-class acting and production.

However, scrutiny of several films will realize a certain degree of racial prejudice in how the films portray characters.

The following is an example of a thesis statement focusing on racial prejudice in Disney films:

There is a significant degree of racial prejudice in how Disney portrays characters in their films. For example, in Jungle Book, the gorillas communicated in an African vernacular language. Another example is Lady and the Tramp, where the cat villains had slanted eyes and spoke with an East Asian accent. The film production company portrays protagonists as white and antagonists as people of color.

4. Advertisements

The advertisement sector also depicts racial prejudice.

To demonstrate, consider this thesis statement:

Several surveys show that black people are underrepresented in commercials, mainstream media, and online ads. According to the US Census Bureau 2010 records, blacks  and other racial minorities represent 30%. Yet, only 7% of ads involve black people, while other racial minorities are hardly ever represented.

Racism is a fairly easy subject for an essay and research paper .

However, it has so many sources and different points of view that selecting one idea to focus on in creating a thesis statement can be problematic.

But, with the guidelines shared above, developing a thesis statement for your racism essay will not be as difficult.

Remember, you need to let the reader know your point of view and demonstrate your objectiveness on the issue.

Examples of thesis statements on Racism

  • Racism worldwide can end if the global collaboration and interracial and intercultural communication continue to increase.
  • Racial minorities in America still face covert prejudice despite America’s institutional and societal changes in the sixties.
  • Multiculturalism has failed as an institutional practice in Europe, which can be determined by the increase in hate crime cases and racial minority issues.
  • Despite the significance of affirmative action in countering racial prejudice, there are concerns that it promotes racial differences.
  • There exists a misconception that affirmative action is a women’s agenda.
  • Racial prejudice founded on a single person’s actions but taken to be the general state of affairs for the given race is wrong.
  • Racism in the workplace adversely impacts workers’ productivity as it affects their aggressiveness.
  • It costs nothing to point out racist actions in the workplace.
  • The majority of Racism in the world relies on Racism as a means of garnering votes and grabbing power.
  • The rate of racial hatred and related crimes is high in Australian universities.
  • Students’ diversity can play a significant role in reducing racial crimes and related issues.
  • Embracing diversity in the workplace can help reduce incidences of racial intolerance.
  • Transgender, bisexual, gay, and lesbian Americans have experienced prejudice from society.
  • In the thirties, the Blacks lived in hatred and poverty, which was the cause of death of many innocent lives.
  • It was considered strange to show affection to Black Americans in the past.
  • Despite the frowning among most citizens in America, racial prejudice is a common practice, especially in the brave home.
  • Racial equality is a social barrier that Americans are yet to overcome.
  • There are wide geographical and psychological distances between Asians and Blacks in America. Such distances can be attributed to the segregation by the American society government or the white-centric media.

Isabella Robertson

I am dedicated to creating engaging blog posts that provide valuable insights and advice to help students excel in their studies. From study tips to time management strategies, my goal is to empower students to reach their full potential.

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The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Thesis Statements

What this handout is about.

This handout describes what a thesis statement is, how thesis statements work in your writing, and how you can craft or refine one for your draft.


Writing in college often takes the form of persuasion—convincing others that you have an interesting, logical point of view on the subject you are studying. Persuasion is a skill you practice regularly in your daily life. You persuade your roommate to clean up, your parents to let you borrow the car, your friend to vote for your favorite candidate or policy. In college, course assignments often ask you to make a persuasive case in writing. You are asked to convince your reader of your point of view. This form of persuasion, often called academic argument, follows a predictable pattern in writing. After a brief introduction of your topic, you state your point of view on the topic directly and often in one sentence. This sentence is the thesis statement, and it serves as a summary of the argument you’ll make in the rest of your paper.

What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement:

  • tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the subject matter under discussion.
  • is a road map for the paper; in other words, it tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper.
  • directly answers the question asked of you. A thesis is an interpretation of a question or subject, not the subject itself. The subject, or topic, of an essay might be World War II or Moby Dick; a thesis must then offer a way to understand the war or the novel.
  • makes a claim that others might dispute.
  • is usually a single sentence near the beginning of your paper (most often, at the end of the first paragraph) that presents your argument to the reader. The rest of the paper, the body of the essay, gathers and organizes evidence that will persuade the reader of the logic of your interpretation.

If your assignment asks you to take a position or develop a claim about a subject, you may need to convey that position or claim in a thesis statement near the beginning of your draft. The assignment may not explicitly state that you need a thesis statement because your instructor may assume you will include one. When in doubt, ask your instructor if the assignment requires a thesis statement. When an assignment asks you to analyze, to interpret, to compare and contrast, to demonstrate cause and effect, or to take a stand on an issue, it is likely that you are being asked to develop a thesis and to support it persuasively. (Check out our handout on understanding assignments for more information.)

How do I create a thesis?

A thesis is the result of a lengthy thinking process. Formulating a thesis is not the first thing you do after reading an essay assignment. Before you develop an argument on any topic, you have to collect and organize evidence, look for possible relationships between known facts (such as surprising contrasts or similarities), and think about the significance of these relationships. Once you do this thinking, you will probably have a “working thesis” that presents a basic or main idea and an argument that you think you can support with evidence. Both the argument and your thesis are likely to need adjustment along the way.

Writers use all kinds of techniques to stimulate their thinking and to help them clarify relationships or comprehend the broader significance of a topic and arrive at a thesis statement. For more ideas on how to get started, see our handout on brainstorming .

How do I know if my thesis is strong?

If there’s time, run it by your instructor or make an appointment at the Writing Center to get some feedback. Even if you do not have time to get advice elsewhere, you can do some thesis evaluation of your own. When reviewing your first draft and its working thesis, ask yourself the following :

  • Do I answer the question? Re-reading the question prompt after constructing a working thesis can help you fix an argument that misses the focus of the question. If the prompt isn’t phrased as a question, try to rephrase it. For example, “Discuss the effect of X on Y” can be rephrased as “What is the effect of X on Y?”
  • Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? If your thesis simply states facts that no one would, or even could, disagree with, it’s possible that you are simply providing a summary, rather than making an argument.
  • Is my thesis statement specific enough? Thesis statements that are too vague often do not have a strong argument. If your thesis contains words like “good” or “successful,” see if you could be more specific: why is something “good”; what specifically makes something “successful”?
  • Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? If a reader’s first response is likely to  be “So what?” then you need to clarify, to forge a relationship, or to connect to a larger issue.
  • Does my essay support my thesis specifically and without wandering? If your thesis and the body of your essay do not seem to go together, one of them has to change. It’s okay to change your working thesis to reflect things you have figured out in the course of writing your paper. Remember, always reassess and revise your writing as necessary.
  • Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? If a reader’s first response is “how?” or “why?” your thesis may be too open-ended and lack guidance for the reader. See what you can add to give the reader a better take on your position right from the beginning.

Suppose you are taking a course on contemporary communication, and the instructor hands out the following essay assignment: “Discuss the impact of social media on public awareness.” Looking back at your notes, you might start with this working thesis:

Social media impacts public awareness in both positive and negative ways.

You can use the questions above to help you revise this general statement into a stronger thesis.

  • Do I answer the question? You can analyze this if you rephrase “discuss the impact” as “what is the impact?” This way, you can see that you’ve answered the question only very generally with the vague “positive and negative ways.”
  • Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? Not likely. Only people who maintain that social media has a solely positive or solely negative impact could disagree.
  • Is my thesis statement specific enough? No. What are the positive effects? What are the negative effects?
  • Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? No. Why are they positive? How are they positive? What are their causes? Why are they negative? How are they negative? What are their causes?
  • Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? No. Why should anyone care about the positive and/or negative impact of social media?

After thinking about your answers to these questions, you decide to focus on the one impact you feel strongly about and have strong evidence for:

Because not every voice on social media is reliable, people have become much more critical consumers of information, and thus, more informed voters.

This version is a much stronger thesis! It answers the question, takes a specific position that others can challenge, and it gives a sense of why it matters.

Let’s try another. Suppose your literature professor hands out the following assignment in a class on the American novel: Write an analysis of some aspect of Mark Twain’s novel Huckleberry Finn. “This will be easy,” you think. “I loved Huckleberry Finn!” You grab a pad of paper and write:

Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn is a great American novel.

You begin to analyze your thesis:

  • Do I answer the question? No. The prompt asks you to analyze some aspect of the novel. Your working thesis is a statement of general appreciation for the entire novel.

Think about aspects of the novel that are important to its structure or meaning—for example, the role of storytelling, the contrasting scenes between the shore and the river, or the relationships between adults and children. Now you write:

In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain develops a contrast between life on the river and life on the shore.
  • Do I answer the question? Yes!
  • Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? Not really. This contrast is well-known and accepted.
  • Is my thesis statement specific enough? It’s getting there–you have highlighted an important aspect of the novel for investigation. However, it’s still not clear what your analysis will reveal.
  • Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? Not yet. Compare scenes from the book and see what you discover. Free write, make lists, jot down Huck’s actions and reactions and anything else that seems interesting.
  • Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? What’s the point of this contrast? What does it signify?”

After examining the evidence and considering your own insights, you write:

Through its contrasting river and shore scenes, Twain’s Huckleberry Finn suggests that to find the true expression of American democratic ideals, one must leave “civilized” society and go back to nature.

This final thesis statement presents an interpretation of a literary work based on an analysis of its content. Of course, for the essay itself to be successful, you must now present evidence from the novel that will convince the reader of your interpretation.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Anson, Chris M., and Robert A. Schwegler. 2010. The Longman Handbook for Writers and Readers , 6th ed. New York: Longman.

Lunsford, Andrea A. 2015. The St. Martin’s Handbook , 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St Martin’s.

Ramage, John D., John C. Bean, and June Johnson. 2018. The Allyn & Bacon Guide to Writing , 8th ed. New York: Pearson.

Ruszkiewicz, John J., Christy Friend, Daniel Seward, and Maxine Hairston. 2010. The Scott, Foresman Handbook for Writers , 9th ed. Boston: Pearson Education.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Discrimination Essay In A Nutshell

Haiden Malecot

Table of Contents

Discrimination Essay In A Nutshell

The history of mankind is sodden with discrimination. It takes different forms and shapes, and modern society is not an exception. It is at stake of cultural history and has influenced many social, cultural, and economic occurrences that we see today.

Thus, any student will face a writing assignment dedicated to this subject matter sooner or later.

It is not that difficult when you know the principles of proper academic writing. Yet, when you have no time or decided to write it without an outline, you may end up in a deadlock.

Here we cover the basics of the writing of the essay on discrimination. Weaponize yourself with the tips from pro writers!

What is a discrimination essay?

There are several types of discrimination based on:

  • Sexual orientation
  • Disability, etc.

Each and every type of discrimination implicates the superiority of a certain group of people over another group of people. One of the main problems here is that many people mess up the notion of discrimination with the notion of prejudice and stereotypes. It is necessary to understand that, as a rule, stereotype and prejudice cause discrimination, but, these notions are not exactly the same.

This theme is controversial, multifaceted, and can be approached from different points of view. Thus, the list of disciplines that can cover issues connected to discrimination includes Psychology, Social Sciences, Political Science, Anthropology, Religion Studies, History, etc.

Racial discrimination essay essentials

The issue of racism is a hot button for American society. Naturally, this issue is widely depicted in the literary works, works of art, movies, etc., so you will definitely find enough research material. The problem here is of another kind. It is essential to make up your mind on the topic.

We have gathered some interesting ideas that you can use for your papers.

Essay on racism and discrimination

First and foremost, it is necessary to set these two notions apart: racism and racial discrimination are not the same. In fact, you will write a cause-and-effect essay where racism will be a cause, and racial discrimination will be the effect. Or, vice versa, you can approach this topic another way. Indicate that discrimination is a much broader notion than racism.

Consequently, racism is one of the manifestations of discrimination. Both approaches are correct, so the choice is yours. Select the one that seems more interesting to you and start working!

Racial discrimination in the workplace essay

A workplace is a place where all types of discrimination appear from time to time, so it provides a fertile field for the research. For example, you can dedicate the essay on racial discrimination to the issue of prejudice in this sphere.

Thus, as a rule, employers tend to hire white people to do intellectual labor and black people to do physical work. A heavy accent or poor knowledge of English can also become a stumbling block on the way to a good job.

The best sources to search for information are the laws and social programs aimed to protect workers from unfair treatment.

So you can make an insight into the current situation with labor legislation, what steps are taken to eliminate the racial discrimination at work and evaluate their efficiency. Another idea for the essay dedicated to the work issues is your solutions to them with solid argumentation.

Anti-racism paper

As the issue of racism is old as the hills, the search for the sound solution also takes different shapes and forms. There are many policies, movements, activists, and even scientific investigations aimed to prove that all people have similar physiology and development despite the race.

Here you can discuss the activities of the anti-apartheid movements (and, obviously, explain what apartheid is), or to discuss the influence of a particular anti-racist activist on the certain movement or event.

Racial discrimination in media

If you are an attentive TV viewer, this topic won’t need any further explanation. All you need is a thorough analysis of a cast of characters of any TV show or movie.

Thanks to racial prejudice, African Americans are typically criminals or hip hop musicians (often both), and Asian Americans are nerds with no communicational skills. All main roles are played by white people almost without exception.

Even Disney cartoons are not an exception!

If to compare Aladdin and Jafar, for example, it becomes clear that positive hero has whiter and more regular features, and the main villain has a more exotic appearance, though both characters are supposed to be of Arabic appearance.

Another idea for a thematic prejudice and discrimination essay is the negative effects of racial discrimination in media. Or, if you want a challenging task, try to search for some positive effects of racism in media.

Racial discrimination in literary works

The first one that comes to mind is, obviously, Othello. It is a brilliant example of the consequences of intolerance and the belief that one race is superior to others.

Another great discussion point is the aptitude of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” in the school program. The text of this novel is filled with offensive, racist words and may seem abusive, so can the cultural values overweight the offense?

Or you may discuss the issues connected with Uncle Tom’s Cabin. On the one hand, this novel had a great influence on the start of the American Civil War. On the other, the novel is filled with racial stereotypes.

Gender discrimination essay ideas

Unequal treatment of men and women is evidenced in the Bible, let alone less famous sources. The situation started to change only in the 20th century with the development of the women’s rights movement. Still, in many countries, women’s rights are often neglected or abused.

The main types of gender discrimination are:

  • Remuneration

Educational gender discrimination

Perhaps, it is the most popular topic for a college discrimination essay. Here you can talk about the preference to male students in the scholarship programs or admissions.

Do not forget to find enough statistics!

Gender discrimination in the workplace

There are at least three main issues that any woman can face with the attempt to find a job. First and foremost, when there are two candidates for a position, a man and a woman, an employer is more likely to choose a man. The next issue is sexual harassment.

According to the statistics, almost half of employed American women faced sexual , verbal, or physical harassment at work. Also, the very possibility to become pregnant and then take a maternity leave drives away employers.

Remuneration issues

It is a well-known fact that women get 25% less money than men for an equal amount of work. You can offer a solution to this issue or pay more attention to the statistics.

Essay on discrimination outline

As any other academic paper, this essay calls for proper planning and clear and logical structure. You will have to divide the paper into three parts: the intro, body, and conclusion.

As a result, the sample outline for gender discrimination in the workplace essay will look like this:

  • Definition of discrimination
  • Gender discrimination as a part of the discrimination
  • Historical review + examples
  • Labor legislation and its inefficiency + examples
  • Current situation + possible solutions
  • Restatement of the main idea
  • Call to action

Starting discrimination essay introduction

The best way to start the intro, in this case, is to find some impressive statistics that highlight the scale of the issue. For example, 77% of women and 34% of men faced verbal sexual harassment at work according to the online survey by Stop Street Harassment.

Then you have to provide the background for your work. And the intro should be finished by the thesis statement on discrimination, aka the main idea of the text.

For example, inefficient labor legislation fails to protect women’s rights in the workplace.

Writing the body of the essay

The first paragraph s dedicated to the historical aspect of the problem. Thus, you show that the issue is not new, yet, still has no proper solution.

The second paragraph contains all your research about the legislation that should protect women’s equal rights with men and shows the void of laws. You will have to support this thought with real-life examples taken from trustworthy sources.

The last body paragraph provides your point of view on the solution to the problem.

Writing the discrimination essay conclusion

Usually, this section summarizes all the main ideas expressed in the paper. Then you restate the thesis statement and make a call-to-action aimed to leave an aftertaste after reading it.

The list of the most interesting discrimination essay topics

  • LGBT discrimination essay: homophobia.
  • Are there any racist ideas in Charles Darwin’s works?
  • The differences in racism against men and women.
  • Will racism ever disappear?
  • Can religion cause racism?
  • The problem of reverse discrimination.
  • Is feminism relevant today?
  • The concept of cultural racism.
  • The problem of racism in the “Shape of Water” by Guillermo Del Toro.
  • The issue of racism in “Green Mile” by Steven King.

Check out well-written discrimination essay examples

The theory is always helpful, but it’s always better to see the visual example. You can search for top-notch essay samples at a reliable custom writing service and use them as a source of inspiration.

On balance…

The issue of discrimination is one of the front burner issues for any society. The range of topics is huge, so as the problem itself, so you have plenty of variants to choose from. Search for relevant info, pay attention to planning and formatting and create a writing masterpiece!

And if you cannot complete this task on your own, feel free to ask professionals for help! Sometimes it is the wisest solution that helps to save tons of time and energy.

No inspiration to write the essay? Well, our professional writers are always inspired to offer you a helping hand! Click the button to learn more.

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  • How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples

How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples

Published on January 11, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on August 15, 2023 by Eoghan Ryan.

A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . It usually comes near the end of your introduction .

Your thesis will look a bit different depending on the type of essay you’re writing. But the thesis statement should always clearly state the main idea you want to get across. Everything else in your essay should relate back to this idea.

You can write your thesis statement by following four simple steps:

  • Start with a question
  • Write your initial answer
  • Develop your answer
  • Refine your thesis statement

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Table of contents

What is a thesis statement, placement of the thesis statement, step 1: start with a question, step 2: write your initial answer, step 3: develop your answer, step 4: refine your thesis statement, types of thesis statements, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about thesis statements.

A thesis statement summarizes the central points of your essay. It is a signpost telling the reader what the essay will argue and why.

The best thesis statements are:

  • Concise: A good thesis statement is short and sweet—don’t use more words than necessary. State your point clearly and directly in one or two sentences.
  • Contentious: Your thesis shouldn’t be a simple statement of fact that everyone already knows. A good thesis statement is a claim that requires further evidence or analysis to back it up.
  • Coherent: Everything mentioned in your thesis statement must be supported and explained in the rest of your paper.

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a thesis statement about discrimination

The thesis statement generally appears at the end of your essay introduction or research paper introduction .

The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts and among young people more generally is hotly debated. For many who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its many benefits for education: the internet facilitates easier access to information, exposure to different perspectives, and a flexible learning environment for both students and teachers.

You should come up with an initial thesis, sometimes called a working thesis , early in the writing process . As soon as you’ve decided on your essay topic , you need to work out what you want to say about it—a clear thesis will give your essay direction and structure.

You might already have a question in your assignment, but if not, try to come up with your own. What would you like to find out or decide about your topic?

For example, you might ask:

After some initial research, you can formulate a tentative answer to this question. At this stage it can be simple, and it should guide the research process and writing process .

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Now you need to consider why this is your answer and how you will convince your reader to agree with you. As you read more about your topic and begin writing, your answer should get more detailed.

In your essay about the internet and education, the thesis states your position and sketches out the key arguments you’ll use to support it.

The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its many benefits for education because it facilitates easier access to information.

In your essay about braille, the thesis statement summarizes the key historical development that you’ll explain.

The invention of braille in the 19th century transformed the lives of blind people, allowing them to participate more actively in public life.

A strong thesis statement should tell the reader:

  • Why you hold this position
  • What they’ll learn from your essay
  • The key points of your argument or narrative

The final thesis statement doesn’t just state your position, but summarizes your overall argument or the entire topic you’re going to explain. To strengthen a weak thesis statement, it can help to consider the broader context of your topic.

These examples are more specific and show that you’ll explore your topic in depth.

Your thesis statement should match the goals of your essay, which vary depending on the type of essay you’re writing:

  • In an argumentative essay , your thesis statement should take a strong position. Your aim in the essay is to convince your reader of this thesis based on evidence and logical reasoning.
  • In an expository essay , you’ll aim to explain the facts of a topic or process. Your thesis statement doesn’t have to include a strong opinion in this case, but it should clearly state the central point you want to make, and mention the key elements you’ll explain.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.

The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:

  • It gives your writing direction and focus.
  • It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.

Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.

Follow these four steps to come up with a thesis statement :

  • Ask a question about your topic .
  • Write your initial answer.
  • Develop your answer by including reasons.
  • Refine your answer, adding more detail and nuance.

The thesis statement should be placed at the end of your essay introduction .

Cite this Scribbr article

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The harmful effects of discrimination : a meta-analysis of research

Downloadable content.

a thesis statement about discrimination

  • Fent, Randa.
  • Duder, Sydney (Supervisor)
  • This thesis is designed to examine the effects of discrimination on its target. It aims to investigate the psychological, physical, perceptual and behavioral responses that individuals exhibit when faced with racist, sexist and heterosexist as well as other types of discriminatory acts. Through meta-analytic procedures, findings from existing studies investigating the impact of discrimination on the target were gathered and their average effect sizes calculated. A total of 50 empirical studies were identified, from which 84 effect sizes were derived. Using homogeneity analysis techniques, the studies' effect sizes were compared and analyzed. The results show significant heterogeneity in the overall mean effect size (0.38) of discrimination. Subsequent moderator variable investigations indicated that among discrimination acts, sexism had the highest mean effect size (0.64), while among the responses to discrimination, the perceptual factor showed the highest mean effect size (0.65). Additional moderator variables' investigations resulted in significant differences between Canadian and American settings in terms of discrimination acts and responses.
  • Discrimination -- Psychological aspects.
  • Sexism -- Psychological aspects.
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Discrimination, Harassment, Abuse and Bullying in the Workplace: Contribution of Workplace Injustice to Occupational Health Disparities

Cassandra a. okechukwu.

1 Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Kerry Souza

2 Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Washington, District of Columbia, United States

Kelly D. Davis

3 Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, United States

A. Butch de Castro

4 Department of Psychosocial and Community Health, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, United States

This paper synthesizes research on the contribution of workplace injustices – discrimination, harassment, abuse and bullying – to occupational health disparities. A conceptual framework is presented to illustrate the pathways through which injustices at the interpersonal and institutional level lead to differential risk of vulnerable workers to adverse occupational health outcomes. Members of demographic minority groups are more likely to be victims of workplace injustice and suffer more adverse outcomes when exposed to workplace injustice compared to demographic majority groups. A growing body of research links workplace injustice to poor psychological and physical health, and a smaller body of evidence links workplace injustice to unhealthy behaviors. Although not as well studied, studies also show that workplace injustice can influence workers’ health through effects on workers’ family life and job-related outcomes. Lastly, this paper discusses methodological limitations in research linking injustices and occupational health disparities and makes recommendations to improve the state of research.


The aim of this paper was to synthesize and evaluate research demonstrating how workplace injustice – discrimination, harassment, abuse and bullying –may contribute to occupational health disparities. Reflecting historical and current societal power imbalances, forces within and outside workplaces can result in the mistreatment of workers (individually or as a group) through unjust practices [ Jones 2000 , Turney 2003 , Hodson, et al. 2006 , Lopez, et al. 2009 ]. We theorize that mistreatment of workers in the workplace may exacerbate health disparities between groups of workers. We reviewed the peer-reviewed literature reporting direct and indirect associations of workplace injustices with health outcomes. The extant literature contains a diffuse body of work on workplace injustice from different disciplines; many of which are unrelated to health. Our synthesis is limited to papers that present evidence of the contribution of workplace injustice to occupational health disparities. Our review led us to propose a conceptual framework ( Figure 1 ) to illustrate the various relationships suggested by research studies. To complement conceptual models that illustrate relationships between other workplace factors and health, this model illustrates pathways between workplace injustices and health outcomes that are supported by the extant scientific literature. Our starting point for a conceptual framework for the contributions of work to health disparities is the Ecosocial approach advanced by Krieger [ Krieger 1994 , Krieger, et al. 2008 ].

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A Model for understanding the contribution of workplace injustice to occupational health disparities

In summarizing this evidence, we acknowledge the vast literature on workplace/organizational justice that describes employees’ perceptions of equity between workers’ input and workplace procedures, interactions and outcomes [ Elovainio, et al. 2002 ]. Although this literature is relevant to the health of workers, our discussion does not extend to this topic.

Workplace Injustices: Definitions and Scope

Definitions and scope of workplace injustice(s) differ according to the discipline and body of literature reviewed. The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) protects workers from injustice based on age, disability, gender/sex, genetic information, national origin, pregnancy, race/color, or religion (2011). Though excluded from this EEOC definition, other federal agencies and some state and local laws also protect workers from workplace injustice based on sexual orientation and gender identity. For the purposes of this paper, we defined workplace injustice as workplace-related discrimination, harassment, abuse or bullying. We considered how these injustices, including bullying which is usually status-blind, might differentially impact workers who are socially disadvantaged. Perpetration of workplace injustice can occur at the institutional or interpersonal level.

Institutional or structural injustice

Jones’ (2000) characterization of institutional racism as structurally constructed differential access to societal opportunities, goods and services can be applied to the characterization of institutional workplace injustice. This injustice is “normative, sometimes legalized” and “structural, having been codified in our institutions of custom, practice, and law, so there need not be an identifiable perpetrator” (p. 1212). Institutional injustice can persist even after levels of individual injustice have lessened in a society [ Williams and Mohammed 2009 ].

Interpersonal injustice

At the individual/interpersonal level, workplace injustice can be intentional or unintentional and encompasses acts of commission and omission. Studies have documented a range of such unfair practices faced by vulnerable workers, from isolating or excluding socially/economically disadvantaged workers from workplace events and activities to subjecting them to overtly hostile actions and behaviors (e.g. being subjected to insults and jokes related to one's race/ethnicity). Studies suggest that African-American and other racial/ethnic minority workers are more likely to report being targets of derogatory comments and having their work duties and activities made difficult by others [ Alleyne 2004 ; Raver and Nishii 2010 ].

Types of Workplace Injustice

Workplace discrimination refers to actions of institutions and/or individuals within them, setting unfair terms and conditions that systematically impair the ability of members of a group to work [ Rospenda, et al. 2009 ]. Often, it is motivated by beliefs of inferiority of a disadvantaged outgroup compared to a dominant group [ Roberts, et al. 2004 ]. Racism, or discrimination based on race, justifies the mistreatment and dominance of members of a particular racial or ethnic group due to beliefs of their genetic and/or cultural inferiority; it also carries a history of societal power relationships between races [ Williams 1997 ]. Discrimination can also occur between disadvantaged groups themselves. For example, de Castro et al. (2006) found that some ethnic groups were favored over others among immigrant worker groups. This favoritism was initiated and perpetuated by both coworkers and employers/supervisors alike [ de Castro, et al. 2006 ]. Latino indigenous-speaking farm workers in Oregon reported differentially distributed hazardous work conditions, including lack of educational materials in languages they understood, between themselves and Spanish-speaking workers; they also reported that these conditions were often perpetrated by Spanish-speaking Latino former farmworkers who had risen through the ranks to become supervisors [ Farquhar, et al. 2008 ]. Similarly, in a study of 356 African-American workers, 43% of the 219 workers who reported workplace discrimination reported that the perpetrators included fellow African-Americans [ Din-Dzietham, et al. 2004 ].

Discrimination against workers with disabilities, younger and older workers, and gender persists, as well. Studies have shown that discrimination against workers with disabilities has both societal and historical influences and persists despite being prohibited by the Americans with Disabilities Act [ Scheid 2005 , Stuart 2006 , Snyder, et al. 2010 , Moore, et al. 2011 ]. Ageism, discrimination based on age, has been shown to have a curvilinear life course trajectory whereby it disproportionately impacts younger workers in their 20s and older workers above 50 [ Gee, et al. 2007 ].

Workplace harassment differs from discrimination because it involves negative actions toward a worker due to attributes, such as race/ethnicity, gender etc., that lead to a hostile workplace whereas discrimination involves unequal treatment or limiting of opportunities due to these attributes [ Rospenda et al, 2009 ]. Harassment must target workers’ protected EEOC status in order to meet the US legal definition [ Ehrenreich 1999 , Carbo 2008 ]. Sexual harassment is a type of workplace harassment that is typically characterized along gender/sex lines [ Pina et al, 2009 ]. Fitzgerald and colleagues (1999) delineated four types of sexual harassment—sexist behavior, sexual hostility, unwanted sexual attention, and sexual coercion. Sexist behaviors describe actions in which one's gender or sex is the primary target of discrimination [ Fitzgerald, et al. 1999 ]. This overlap in definition can make distinguishing between gender discrimination versus harassment difficult. The other three describe experiences that are more physical and sexual in nature.

Workplace bullying or abuse involves actions that offend or socially exclude a worker or group of workers, or actions that have a negative effect on the person or group's work tasks [ Grubb, et al. 2004 ]. These actions are often status-blind and occur repeatedly and regularly over a period of time [ Grubb, et al. 2004 ]. The actions taken and workers’ sensitivity to them can vary according to culture [ Cassitto, et al. 2003 ].


Conceptual framework.

Using Ecosocial theory of disease distribution as a basis [ Krieger 1994 , Krieger, et al. 2008 ], we present a working model ( Figure 1 ) to illustrate potential pathways linking workplace injustice exposures and health disparities. In the following section, we define components of our model and discuss evidence from the literature to support the pathways between them. Our model is not a causal diagram; presence of arrows between components in the model does not imply that causal analyses have been conducted.

Labor stratification into Hazardous Positions

Our conceptual model ( Figure 1 ) shows labor stratification, in which minority and other disadvantaged workers are systematically hired into certain (usually lower power) positions [ Landsbergis, Grzywacz, & LaMontagne, 2012 ]. Labor stratification has been documented to occur upstream, before entry into the labor force, through unfair access to or denial of employment opportunities. Experimental studies have documented employers responding negatively to job applicants based on age, gender, race, and sexual orientation, thereby discriminating against or preferentially hiring applicants for certain types of jobs [ Crow, et al. 1998 , Hebl, et al. 2002 , Horvath and Ryan 2003 , Pager 2003 , Bertrand and Mullainathan 2004 , Pager, et al. 2009 ]. Other studies, based on self-report, have also found discrimination and bias in hiring and/or promotion based on sexual orientation and age of applicants [ Johnson and Neumark 1996 , Badgett, et al. 2007 ]. An analysis of court cases showed that, in some fields, women may encounter a “maternal wall,” whereby they are denied employment and/or promotion due to pregnancy or childbirth [ Williams and Westfall 2006 ].

The occupational health literature supports the observation that racial/ethnic minorities and immigrants are often over-represented in jobs with poorer working conditions [ Frumkin, et al. 1999 , Murray 2003 , Agudelo-Suarez, et al. 2009 , Berdahl 2008 ]. Among African-Americans, Haggerty and Johnson (1995) point out that labor stratification is part of broader societal level injustices, notably poor educational systems thereby predisposing African-American workers to limited, hazardous, poor-quality job opportunities in adulthood [ Haggerty and Johnson 1995 ].

Differential Assignment to Hazardous Duties

Even when workers are in the same occupational position, some workers are directly exposed to more occupational hazards through assignment of the most hazardous duties to socially and economically disadvantaged populations, thus increasing their risk for work-related injury or illness [ Murray 2003 , de Castro, et al. 2006 , Farquhar, et al. 2008 , Delp, et al. 2009 , Shannon, et al. 2009 ]. An early documented example is that of the Gauley Bridge/Hawk's Nest tunnel disaster in 1930 [ Cherniack 1986 ]. Although various explanations for disproportionate incidence of pneumoconiosis and associated death among African-American compared to White workers were posited, an examination of job placement of workers in the mine revealed race-based job assignment as the root cause. African-American workers were de facto assigned to the deepest, dustiest parts of the tunnel, while White workers were more likely to be assigned to work outside.

Available evidence suggests that, after controlling for differences in education and experience, African-American and Hispanic workers are consistently more likely to be employed in occupations where serious injuries and illnesses are more likely to occur [ Robinson 1984 , Robinson 1987 , Loomis and Richardson 1998 , Shannon, et al. 2009 ]. However, the social forces behind disproportionate exposures of minority worker groups to occupational hazards may be complex. An analysis of illnesses and injury rates over a 10-year period showed that disparities were dynamic and sometimes disappear when researchers control for job characteristics such as work schedule, union representation, health insurance and job hours [ Berdahl 2008 ].

A U.S. study of a unionized, multi-ethnic working class sample found that 85% of workers reported high exposure to at least one occupational hazard [ Quinn, et al. 2007 ]. A similar proportion of this same group of workers was exposed to one of three workplace injustices (bullying, sexual harassment, or racial discrimination) [ Krieger, et al. 2006 ]. Analyses of the same sample showed that exposure to occupational hazards was unevenly distributed based on race and gender: Being a minority in any way increased workers’ chances of being exposed to hazards [ Barbeau, et al. 2007 , Krieger, et al. 2005 , Krieger, et al. 2006 , Krieger, et al. 2008 , Krieger, et al. 2010 ].

Though empirical evidence is limited, some researchers have suggested that differential enforcement of occupational health and safety regulations or policies in industries and occupations where minority workers predominate may be another mechanism for disparities. One example is the OSHA exemption for farms with less than ten employees. Somervell and Conway (2011) showed that worker fatality rates in states that observe this exemption were higher than in states that do not. U.S. farm workers are largely immigrant, Latino workers [ Farquhar, et al. 2008 , Somervell and Conway 2011 ]. Other researchers have noted that a majority of the workers impacted by the suspension of both prevailing wage policies and enforcement of occupational safety and health regulations during the Hurricane Katrina and Rita cleanup process were Hispanic day laborers [ Delp et al, 2009 ; Pastor et al, 2006 ]. A more thorough analysis of the policies and decisions surrounding disaster cleanup events is needed to determine whether or not policies and decisions differentially impact minority workers.

The extent to which occupational factors contribute to overall health is inadequately described, but we hypothesize, based on our review of literature, that it is possible that differential exposure to occupational hazards among minority workers may be a significant contributor to the overall experience of health disparities. Several studies have explored the relative importance of work exposures to overall health, and the findings are intriguing. For example, a recent examination of government employees in an European city found that physical conditions at work explained most of the observed occupational class inequalities in health [ Kaikkonen, et al. 2009 ]. Likewise, a French study found a social gradient in exposure to physical, ergonomic and chemical hazards in addition to a gradient in experiences of workplace bullying, in which managers and professionals were less likely to be exposed to any hazard compared to associate professionals/technicians, clerks/service workers, and blue-collar workers [ Niedhammer, et al. 2008 ]. Similar studies with US samples could not be found. More research studies, in cohorts for which detailed occupation information is available, must be conducted to help explain observed differences in health outcomes.


Potential modifiers.

Some studies have identified factors that appear to modify observed effects of workplace injustices on health and other outcomes. In Figure 1 , these factors are represented as potential modifiers. Workplace injustice may further contribute to health disparities by having differential effects on disadvantaged populations compared to dominant groups. For example, racial/ethnic minorities have been reported to have increased risks of the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)-related effects when exposed to workplace bullying [ Rodríguez-Muñoz, et al. 2010 ]. Similarly, in another study, even though experiences of workplace bullying were significantly associated with negative emotional reactions for all targets, African-Americans reported significantly higher emotional response to racial/ethnic bullying compared to other groups [ Fox and Stallworth 2005 ]. Also, generalized bullying has been associated with higher numbers of psychological symptoms and increases in drinking to intoxication for women compared to men [ Rospenda, et al. 2009 ]. In contrast, an Italian study found that men were more likely to develop depressive disorder with increasing severity of bullying [ Nolfe, et al. 2010 ].

A study by Krieger (1990) demonstrated how keeping quiet about experiences of discrimination may take a toll on health. African-American women who did not tell others about the unfair treatment they received were four times more likely to report high blood pressure than women who told others (a similar association was not significant for White women) [ Krieger 1990 ]. Likewise, one study found that while lack of equality was associated with poorer self-reported health for both men and women, women's health was influenced when inequality existed for men and/or women whereas men's was only affected when men were the victims of inequality [ Bildt 2005 ].

Stress-Mediated Pathway

In Figure 1 , the main pathway linking exposures to workplace injustice and health outcomes is via stress. Evidence for this pathway in the model is derived from the psychological literature supporting the “stressor-stress-strain” framework. According to work by Lazarus and Folkman (1984) , negative health effects result when an individual perceives situational demands as stressful and this stress experience exceeds their capacity to cope [ Lazarus and Folkman 1984 ]. Experiences of discrimination, harassment and bullying in the workplace can operate as stressors provoking a psychological and/or physiological stress response. There is strong empirical evidence that psychological stress can affect biological host resistance through the activation of neuroendocrinological and immunological responses [ Cohen, et al. 2007 ]. The activation of these responses can include disturbances in the circadian cortisol profile, which several studies have found among targets of workplace injustice [ Kudielka and Kern 2004 , Huebner and Davis 2005 , Hansen, et al. 2006 , Townsend, et al. 2011 ]. These types of disruptions in cortisol have been shown to lead to a multitude of chronic negative health conditions [ Cohen, et al. 2007 ]. More studies are needed to directly and clearly show the link from exposure to workplace injustice to physiological responses and, in turn, to negative health outcomes.


Health outcomes.

The broader literature on stress and health has established links between experiences of discrimination and harassment and adverse health outcomes. Workplace injustices have been directly associated with three types of outcomes: psychological and physical health, health behaviors, and job outcomes. There is a small but suggestive body of evidence suggesting a fourth outcome—family well-being. These outcomes can be seen on the right-hand side of our model ( Figure 1 ).

Several cross-sectional studies have found evidence of symptoms and diagnosis of PTSD among workers exposed to workplace bullying and sexual harassment [ Leymann and Gustafsson 1996 , Schneider, et al. 1997 , Mikkelsen and Einarsen 2002 , Matthiesen and Einarsen 2004 , Tehrani 2004 , Willness, et al. 2007 , Buchanan and Fitzgerald 2008 , Larsen and Fitzgerald 2010 , Rodríguez-Muñoz, et al. 2010 ]. In explaining how bullying may lead to PTSD, Einarsen and colleague (2003) posit that although the experience of workplace injustice is often not life-threatening, the experience threatens the inner world of the target by shattering basic cognitive schema about fairness and justice and negatively influences one's social and personal identity leading to PTSD.

A meta-analysis of the antecedents and consequences of sexual harassment found evidence for the association of sexual harassment with general poor mental health [ Willness, et al. 2007 ]. Although anxiety and depression were the most prevalent conditions, the strongest evidence of effect was found for PTSD [ Willness, et al. 2007 ]. These symptoms may be worsened for minorities through an interactive effect of sexual and racial/ethnic harassment [ Buchanan and Fitzgerald 2008 ].

Another mechanism through which minority workers might experience more severe outcomes is through attribution. A study, which included a meta-analysis, showed that social context (e.g. gender or racial composition of workplace) influenced workers’ attribution of their experiences of injustice; attribution in turn impacted the severity of outcomes with internal and personal attribution leading to worse health outcomes [ Hershcovis & Barling, 2010 ]. An association between workplace bullying and short- and long-term change in psychological distress and depression has been shown with both cross-sectional and longitudinal studies [ Kivimäki, et al. 2003 , Hogh, et al. 2005 , Nolfe, et al. 2010 ]. One longitudinal study suggested the possibility of a cyclical relationship in which developing depression increased the risk of workers becoming targets of bullying, which then increased depressive symptoms [ Kivimäki, et al. 2000 ]. However, worker inputs to injustice exposures are not represented on our conceptual model and are beyond the scope of this review.

Evidence from cross-sectional studies suggests that workers who experience racial/ethnic discrimination in the workplace suffer a range of negative psychological health outcomes, such as more days of poor mental health [ Roberts, et al. 2004 ], psychological distress [ Eaton 2003 , Krieger, et al. 2010 ], anxiety and depression [ Bhui et al, 2005 , Agudelo-Suarez, et al. 2009 , Hammond, et al. 2010 , Raver and Nishii 2010 ], negative emotions [ Fox and Stallworth 2005 ], and emotional trauma [ Alleyne 2004 ]. Although these studies utilized self–report of discrimination, experimental research has provided added evidence for the influence of work-related racial discrimination on mental health [ Salvatore and Shelton 2007 ]. Workplace ageism has been linked to psychological distress among older workers [ Yuan 2007 ]. This might particularly impact older women [ Encel and Studencki 1997 , Handy and Davy 2007 , Walker, et al. 2007 ]. A review of literature elucidated how ageism and sexism may operate concomitantly to negatively influence the health of older working women [ Payne and Doyal 2010 ].

Other studies suggest somatic health effects of workplace injustice. An experimental study found that working under an unfavorable supervisor (whose actions included bullying) led to clinically significant increases in workers’ blood pressure [ Wager, et al. 2003 ]. Cross-sectional studies provide other evidence of an association between workplace injustice and somatic health. Those who experience racial discrimination may be at increased risk for work-related injury or illness [ Murray 2003 , de Castro, et al. 2006 , Farquhar, et al. 2008 , Delp, et al. 2009 , Shannon, et al. 2009 ]. Racial/ethnic discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying have been negatively associated with self-rated health and unhealthy days [ Krieger 1999 , Nazroo 2003 , Gunnarsdottir, et al. 2006 , Fujishiro 2009 , de Castro, et al. 2010 ] while racial discrimination and workplace bullying were associated with bodily pain [ Burgess, et al. 2009 , Saastamoinen, et al. 2009 ]. Sexual harassment has also been linked to a host of physical health symptoms, including headaches, stomach aches and disrupted sleep [ Gutek and Koss 1993 , Goldenhar, et al. 1998 , Magley, et al. 1999 , Wasti, et al. 2000 , Willness, et al. 2007 ].

Non-targeted witnesses of workplace injustice may also be at risk for adverse health outcomes. Non-bullied witnesses to workplace bullying reported more anxiety [ Hansen, et al. 2006 ], and, workers who witnessed repeated bullying in their workplace were almost twice more likely to report acute pain than those who did not witness it [ Saastamoinen, et al. 2009 ]. A U.S. study found that bullying witnesses reported better outcomes (work quality and health) than bullying victims; however, witnesses’ outcomes were worse than those of non-witnesses [ Lutgen-Sandvik, et al. 2007 ]. Among a sample of female employees in a public utility and food processing plant, Glomb and colleagues found that observing sexual harassment was linked to lower psychological well-being, similar to individuals who experienced the harassment directly [ Glomb, et al. 1997 ]. Another study found that observing the mistreatment was linked to poor psychological well-being, even after controlling for one's own experiences [ Miner-Rubino and Cortina 2004 , Miner-Rubino and Cortina 2007 ]. Researchers have posited that the influence on bystander health is partly because bystanders develop a fear of becoming a target [ Hoel, et al. 2004 ]. Yet to be evaluated is whether bystander effects are worse when the witnesses are members of the same disadvantaged group as the target.

Health Behaviors

Experiencing workplace injustice may lead to unhealthy behaviors that likely operate as maladaptive coping mechanisms. Evidence from the stress and health literature suggests that stress influences health through changes in health behavior [ Steptoe, et al. 1998 , Droomers, et al. 1999 , Epel, et al. 2000 , Ng and Jeffery 2003 ]. Recent research suggests similar processes with workplace injustice. For example, workplace racial discrimination has been associated with smoking [ Okechukwu, et al. 2010 ], and heavy alcohol use has been linked to sexual harassment among women [ Gradus, et al. 2008 ] and to workplace bullying [ Rospenda, et al. 2009 ].

Job Outcomes

As illustrated in figure 1 , negative job outcome is a potential outcome of workplace injustices. Workplace racial discrimination and bullying have been linked to both self-reported and medically-certified sickness absence, although the strongest associations were between bullying and medically-certified sickness absence [ Kivimäki, et al. 2000 , Alleyne 2004 ]. A cross sectional study found that sexual harassment explained the greater risk for sickness absence among female metal workers in male-dominated worksites compared to those in female dominated worksites [ Hensing and Alexanderson 2004 ]. An important feature of bullying and discrimination includes restriction of information or services related to advancement [ Alexis and Vydelingum 2004 ]. With exposure to workplace injustice, targets may become socially isolated and/or ostracized [ Zapf, et al. 1996 , Lutgen-Sandvik, et al. 2007 ], and, might engage in higher levels of counterproductive work behaviors (e.g., tardiness) and reduced productivity, and/or withdraw from seeking promotions, thus lessening their credibility and value at work [ Spratlen-Price 1995 , Day and Schoenrade 1997 , Caver and Livers 2002 , Fox and Stallworth 2005 , Allan, et al. 2009 ].

Career advancement has also been shown to be hindered by workplace injustices leading directly to premature exit from the workforce, particularly among socially disadvantaged workers, or indirectly via sickness absence and other health consequences [ Alexis and Vydelingum 2004 , Giga, et al. 2008 ]. This premature exit may also result from behavioral hints encouraging them to quit their job, which disadvantaged workers may already be more likely to encounter in the workplace [ Giga, et al. 2008 ].

Income has been linked to both physical and mental health [ Pappas, et al. 1993 , Marmot 2002 ]. Thus, workplace injustice could influence health disparities by reducing wages available to socially and economically disadvantaged groups. White men in the U.S. still earn considerably more than equally qualified women and men of other races/ethnicities [ IWPR 2010 ]. Although the Equal Pay Act of 1963 prohibits employers from paying men and women who perform equal tasks at different pay rates, a gender wage gap persists [ IWPR 2010 , US Dept of Commerce 2011 ]. In some organizations, men are still promoted to management positions over their equal female counterparts [ Blau and DeVaro 2007 ]. Also, many women encounter a “glass ceiling,” unable to move up the corporate ladder despite their achievements [ Williams 2001 ]. A wage penalty between 9% and 18% per child has been noted among mothers [ Gangl and Ziefle 2009 ]. In contrast, men seem to benefit in career advancement from having families [ Friedman and Greenhaus 2000 ]. Studies have found that leaves of absence are associated with fewer promotions and smaller salary increases [ Poppleton, et al. 2008 ], and that women are more affected than men because of they usually have heavier caregiving burdens [ Kelly 2005 ]. The wage penalty based on sexual orientation, though, is more complicated. A review of nine studies found that gay and bisexual men earned 10% to 32% less than heterosexual men [ Badgett, et al. 2007 ]. However, the review also found no statistically significant difference in earnings by sexual orientation among male workers in California, demonstrating, in this case, that context at the state-level mattered. The results regarding wage differentials by sexual orientation among women is more equivocal with some studies finding that lesbians earned more while other studies found that they earned less than heterosexual women. [ Badgett 1995 , Black, et al. 2003 , Badgett, et al. 2007 ].

Family Well-Being

In Figure 1 , family well-being is the final component that may be linked to exposure to workplace injustice. From a family systems perspective, family members are linked, and, thus, what happens to one member can influence others through their interactions and communications [ Cox and Paley 1997 ]. As such, health outcomes of workplace injustice can extend beyond the worker via family interactions. One pathway, characterized as the “kick the dog” phenomenon by Hoobler and Brass (2010), occurs when an abused worker acts abusively towards family members. In one study, family members of workers who experienced bullying reported that the workers engaged in family undermining when they got home [ Hoobler, et al. 2010 ]. Furthermore, the stress and well-being of the victim of injustice may cross over and influence family members’ well-being [ Westman 2001 ]. For example, among Mexican-American families, Crouter and colleagues (2006) found that men's reports of workplace racism were associated with depressive symptoms for them and their wives. This effect was moderated by acculturation: the more workplace racism fathers in less acculturated families experienced, the more depressive symptoms family members reported. This association was not apparent in families with higher levels of acculturation [ Crouter, et al. 2006 ]. Thus, workplace injustice may affect family members directly, due to lack of resources from deserved pay and promotions for example, or indirectly due to the disadvantaged workers’ distress or health.


Qualitative studies have provided rich perspectives from workers to explain how workplace injustice plays out in the labor market, within their jobs, and at worksites [ Agudelo-Suarez, et al. 2009 , de Castro, et al. 2006 , Baillien, et al. 2008 , Bowleg, et al. 2008 , Farquhar, et al. 2008 , Allan, et al. 2009 , Delp, et al. 2009 , van Heugten 2010 ]. Some studies have taken a grounded theory approach to allow for the emergence of themes explicitly or implicitly indicative of workplace injustice. Some of these qualitative studies did not necessarily have a predetermined aim of documenting the occurrence of a particular injustice, but rather initially set out to examine physical and/or psychosocial working conditions of a particular racial/ethnic minority group or groups. For example, de Castro and colleagues (2006) reviewed worker complaints received at a community-based workers’ rights center. The authors discovered that many complaints about working conditions and arrangements were tinged with experiences of discrimination based on workers’ race or ethnicity.

Other studies have quantified workplace injustices using either a self-labeling or operational method through surveys [ Bond, et al. 2007 ]. With self-labeling, study participants indicate whether they have been exposed to a pre-defined type of injustice. The operational method commonly involves study participants indicating whether or not they have experienced different events in a list of acts within a specified period. The number and frequency of experienced acts is then used to classify whether one has or has not experienced a particular workplace injustice. Studies using both methods have shown that prevalence is consistently lower in the self-labeling versus operational method [ Mikkelsen and Einarsen 2001 , Krieger, et al. 2005 , Lutgen-Sandvik, et al. 2007 , Chan, 2008 , Hogh, et al. 2011 ].

An important issue for both methods relates to timing, duration, and severity of the experience, which are often not measured [ Rospenda, et al. 2005 , Badgett, et al. 2007 , Bond, et al. 2007 , Saunders, et al. 2007 , Williams, et al. 2008 , Estrada, et al. 2011 ]. Some measures have a wide window for capturing the timing of the injustice. For example, the widely used measure of sexual harassment (SEQ) has a 24-month reference period (see [ Gutek, et al. 2004 ] for a critique). One-time assessments do not capture the ebb and flow of emotions and experiences related to workplace injustice occurring over time. Sampling and the timing of study participant recruitment poses a barrier to elucidating injustice-health linkages.

Other limitations of studies linking workplace injustices and health outcomes are inconsistencies in measuring different exposures and their outcomes. Currently, no authoritative definitions of the various types of workplace injustice exist. As a result, studies have measured discrimination, harassment, bullying and abuse using different definitions; with some strictly employing legal definitions whereas others use more inclusive definitions. Also, some assessments consist of a one-item measure (e.g., whether a person has been ever discriminated/harassed/abused against at work because of race, religion, sex, age, marital status, nationality, disability, or for any other reason). A key finding in the literature on stress and health is that such failure to develop measures for and comprehensively assess stressful experiences has the end result of understating the impact of stress on health [ Thoits 2010 ].

Additionally, the majority of studies on workplace injustice have been cross-sectional. Although cross-sectional studies provide information about the distribution of disease and can suggest associations between exposures and health outcomes, they do not provide evidence of causality. Furthermore, cross-sectional designs provide little information in terms of temporality, severity of the injustice event(s), or predictability for worker health and organizational outcomes. Cross-sectional studies are valuable for describing the experience of specific worker groups at one point in time, but longitudinal study designs are needed to better understand the unfolding relationship of workplace injustice and health.

An added issue for occupational-related studies is that most samples are drawn from white-collar settings where fewer minority workers work [ Harris, et al. 2011 ]. Few studies of workplace injustice have targeted workers in service settings and even fewer have been of blue-collar workers. Further, studies often fail to consider contextual and historical contributions to workplace injustices such as the historical and current ratio of men to women in the workplace and the race, age, sexual orientation, and gender of supervisors. For example, men might become targets of bullying and sexual harassment in occupations that are historically female. This has been found among nursing assistants where one study found that male nursing assistants reported prevalence of bullying that was twice the prevalence reported by female nursing assistants [ Eriksen and Einarsen 2004 ].

More studies utilizing multiple reporters, such as manager, coworkers, and family members, are also needed. Experiencing injustice in the workplace may “ripple” beyond the parties involved through the work context and into the family and other contexts. Including a diverse sample of reporter perspectives could provide evidence of the extent to which incidents of workplace injustice occur, and, offer insight into possible interventions. Depending on the nature of the workplace injustice, obtaining multiple reports from others at work is not always feasible.

Studies examining interactions of more than one type of workplace injustice are needed. How much do workplace injustices co-occur and what are the health implications of concomitant exposures? One methodological obstacle to such studies is that distinguishing between exposures, (e.g. bullying of racial minorities versus racial discrimination) can be difficult. Being a minority appears to increase the likelihood of being a target of injustice and both bullying and sexual harassment occur in racialized forms [ Alexis and Vydelingum 2004 , Woods, et al. 2009 , Fielden, et al. 2010 ]. A study examining discrimination exposure among job applicants found that African-American male homosexual job candidates were the most likely target of discrimination while White female heterosexual candidates were the least likely to experience discrimination [ Crow, et al. 1998 ]. Several studies addressing the additive influence of minority and immigration status on health are suggestive. A Danish study of the intersection of race/ethnicity and immigration status found that Western immigrants reported the same level of bullying as Danish workers while non-Western immigrants had 85% higher risk of experiencing workplace bullying than Danish workers [ Hogh, et al. 2011 ].

One study suggested only a minimal additive effect of ethnic harassment, gender harassment, and generalized workplace harassment on mental and physical health [ Raver and Nishii 2010 ]. The investigators theorized that workers adapt, thus further harassment does not yield significantly higher negative effects. This is a premise of the adaptation level theory, which posits that people subconsciously adjust to exposure to one form of workplace injustice by using coping strategies that buffer them from further harm [ Raver and Nishii 2010 ]. However, other studies use comparisons of exposure to injustice to exposure to trauma to conclude that exposure to multiple injustices is associated with much greater distress (thus potentially more health harming) than exposure to one injustice [ Yoder and Aniakudo 1995 , Bowleg, et al. 2003 , Krupnick, et al. 2004 , Buchanan and Fitzgerald 2008 ]. These discrepant findings could be due to the timing, severity, and/or type of injustices experienced. The magnitude of additive or multiplicative effect of exposure to multiple workplace injustice is a question that can be answered empirically through more studies, particularly if designed longitudinally and informed by a lifecourse perspective. Studies could also incorporate recruitment strategies that allow the recruitment of study participants who have been exposed to the multiple exposures under study.

These study design issues may, in part, reflect the difficulties researchers face in gathering data on workplace injustice. As noted by Badgett and colleagues (2007) , employers do not easily cooperate with research on workplace injustice compared to other types of workplace studies (e.g. worksite health promotion), and findings from such studies could have legal and financial implications and/or cause damage to employer's image.


The extant literature describes the phenomena of discrimination, harassment, abuse and bullying in the workplace and the potential outcomes of these exposures. Although there are exceptions, these unjust experiences are most often described as affecting workers in non-dominant and/or disadvantaged worker groups. Our review pointed out that these same worker groups often hold more hazardous jobs and have been shown to experience poorer general health. We explored how various forms of workplace injustice have been shown to operate and contribute to disparate health among these workers. Additionally, we suggested a conceptual model informed by current evidence to illustrate pathways between workplace injustice experiences and health disparities. The model is offered as a starting point for researchers to build upon in exploring the potential mechanisms between these exposures and health disparities and under what conditions these disparities occur. The intent of this conceptual model is to contribute to the “unpacking” of the complex contributions of workplace injustices to health disparities.

Prospective studies and refinement of methods for characterizing and quantifying workplace injustices are needed to establish causative roles and to disentangle the contributions of various exposures. Future studies should employ representative samples and oversample disadvantaged worker groups. The literature on workplace ageism and its health effects are lacking; as the workforce ages and workers delay retirement, this is a timely area for study.

Though the body of literature directly linking workplace injustice and health is small, we believe that our conceptual model is a working model that incorporates the evidence to date. While more research should be done to characterize the relationship between workplace injustice and health, the current evidence supports the pathways in this model and points to a potentially important role for workplace injustice in the health status of working people and likely their families.

Evidence for the influence of workplace injustices on health outcomes

Conflict of Interest: The authors have no conflict of interest.

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69 Gender Discrimination Essay Topic Ideas & Examples

🏆 best gender discrimination topic ideas & essay examples, 🔎 interesting topics to write about gender discrimination, 🎓 good essay topics on gender discrimination.

  • Gender-Based Discrimination in the Workplace In order to give a good account of the effects of gender-based discrimination against women, this paper examines the space of women in the automotive engineering industry.
  • Controversy of Gender and Race Discrimination Gender and race issues should be well tackled, for instance, in some of the societies men are believed to be superior to women and hold all the important positions in the society. We will write a custom essay specifically for you by our professional experts 808 writers online Learn More
  • Gender Discrimination in History and Nowadays In literature, especially in the works of Greek philosophers, there is a striking discrepancy in the perceptions of women’s place and homosexuality. Women were regarded as the devil’s seed, and the criteria to classify a […]
  • Gender Discrimination in Public Administration The subject of the dispute and the statement of claim was the vacancy of a traffic controller, which was initially offered to Johnson, but then, as part of the program, the place was given to […]
  • Discussion of Gender Discrimination in Modern Society In the professional field, women are constantly in discriminatory positions of jeopardy due to their gender. However, women still need to compete in the work environment.
  • Gender Roles, Expectations, and Discrimination Despite Isaac being the calmest boy in the school, he had a crush on Grace, a beautiful girl in the school who was from a wealthy family.
  • Gender Stereotypes and Sexual Discrimination In this Ted Talk, Sandberg also raises a question regarding the changes that are needed to alter the current disbalance in the number of men and women that achieve professional excellence.
  • Discrimination and Politics of Gender and Sexuality Furthermore, the heterosexual had equal rights in terms of marriage as it was legalized in 50 states and there was no longer hiding one’s identity.
  • Manifestations of Gender Discrimination in Insurance In the past, insurance companies have engaged in gender discrimination in the classification, acceptance and rating of risks. This paper provides an in-depth analysis of the concept of gender discrimination and insurance in the world.
  • Gender and the Problem of Discrimination Generally, after the evaluation of the facts, it appears that the consumption of media forms socializes us to hold particular conceptions of gender and the other related concepts and issues, and can even confront gender […]
  • Gender Discrimination in the Workplace and Better Management Skills All complexities and worries including gender discrimination and violence at the workplace are the domain of management for which skilled management is an asset par excellent.
  • Racial and Gender Discrimination in the Workplace and Housing Job discrimination is that discrimination which arises at the places of work Factors that include the presence of a high population of the unemployed create room for the vice.
  • Ethics of Gender Identity Discrimination at Work Besides, ethical theories such as virtue ethics facilitate an understanding of the ethical impasse of whether to terminate the contract of transgender employees or embrace their sexual identity in the workplace environment.
  • Gender and Cultural Discrimination in Modern Society Gender and cultural discrimination prevail in society in general and at the workplace in particular and the worst affected remains the women and people of different cultures in the workforce to date.
  • Employee Issues: Gender Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Discrimination Sexual harassment is not always sexual in nature for instance, in a case where a man assaults women based purely on the woman’s gender.
  • The Problem of Gender-Based Employment Discrimination The idea of men being paid more than women was widely accepted in the past, as men were considered the primary wage earners and breadwinners for the family.
  • The Problem of Gender Discrimination In so doing, it has determined that the number of women in the workforce has systematically and continually risen over the course of the past two decades while the number of men in the workforce […]
  • Poverty, Stratification and Gender Discrimination The purpose of this paper is to analyze the effects of poverty on people and the perception of stratification and discrimination through the prism of functionalism and conflict theory.
  • Institutions and Gender Discrimination Issues In addition, parents buy clothes and toys that reflect gender issues in society and this contributes to the development of gendered stereotypes.
  • Gender Discrimination on Birth Stage There has been a controversial debate over the years on the decline of men due to the emphasis on women’s empowerment.
  • Gender Discrimination in the United States Although the principle of equality is proclaimed as the democratic value in the USA, the gender differences are still accentuated with references to the woman’s role in the society and woman’s participation in the activities […]
  • Workplace Gender Equality and Discrimination Laws Gender equality in the workplace is also important to achieve competitive benefits, as well as a complex and competitive worldwide economy.
  • Gender Discrimination and Shared Responsibility Therefore, it is of great importance to address the mentioned challenge, and one of the solutions lays in the education of women.
  • Gender Discrimination in Russian Workplaces In the Soviet era, women were seen as an important factor in the industrialization of the country and they were allocated education and work opportunity by Russia’s socialist government.
  • Gender Discrimination in the Workplace: Resolving Glass Ceiling Issue The enactment of this proposed policy will not only address the issue of women discrimination in organisations, but also in the top management positions. The implementation of this proposed government policy will require all the […]
  • Gender Discrimination in the Workplace Essay This essay will document gender bias and gender discrimination in the context of social and physical and the social confines of the work place that is experienced at work in the context of United States […]
  • Problem of the Gender Discrimination in the Workplace This requires the employer to consider some of the things such as the number of women and men that applied for the available positions.
  • Age and Gender: Discrimination During the Hiring Process When an employer sets forth to hire employees, there are a number of factors that have to be put into consideration by the concerned employer in order to ensure that those that are recruited have […]
  • Gender Discrimination at the Workplace: A Case of Sexual Harassment In the current case and issues surrounding Herman Cain the Republican presidential candidate, it is apparent that cases of sexual harassment have taken place based on the above definition.
  • Gender Discrimination and Intergenerational Transmission of Preferences
  • Age and Gender Discrimination in the News Industry
  • Analysis of the Phenomenon of Racial and Gender Discrimination
  • Avoiding Sexual Orientation and Gender Discrimination in the Workplace
  • Overview of Business Ethics and Gender Discrimination
  • The Problem of Career and Gender Discrimination in Bahrain
  • Caregivers, Firm Policies, and Gender Discrimination Claims
  • Collaboration, Alphabetical Order, and Gender Discrimination: Evidence From the Lab
  • Cultural Defense for Ethnic Accommodation or Cultural Excuse for Gender Discrimination
  • Effective Public Policy Which Reduces Gender Discrimination in the Agricultural Labour Market
  • The Link Between Equal Opportunity and Gender Discrimination
  • Equal Protection and Gender Discrimination in Military Training
  • Ethnic and Gender Discrimination in the Rental Housing Market
  • Exploring Gender Discrimination Across Countries and Cultures
  • Family Labor Market Decisions and Statistical Gender Discrimination
  • Family Matters: Endogenous Gender Discrimination in Economic Development
  • The Question of Gender Discrimination Against Asian Americans
  • Gender Discrimination and Efficiency in Marriage: The Bargaining Family Under Scrutiny
  • Measuring and Testing for Gender Discrimination in Physician Pay: English Family Doctors
  • Gender Discrimination and Emigration: Push Factor Versus Screening Process Hypothesis
  • Output and Gender Discrimination in Pay: Evidence From Manufacturing Industry
  • Gender Discrimination and Evaluators’ Gender: Evidence From the Italian Academy
  • Political Instability, Gender Discrimination, and Population Growth in Developing Countries
  • Gender Discrimination and Firm Profit Efficiency: Evidence From Brazil
  • Prejudice and Gender Discrimination Against Women and Minorities
  • Gender Discrimination and Gender Bias in the Modern Society
  • Gender Discrimination and Growth: Theory and Evidence From India
  • Rent Sharing and Gender Discrimination in Collegiate Athletics
  • Social Norms and Gender Discrimination in the Labor Market: An Agent-Based Exercise
  • Gender Discrimination and Prejudice Evident in Promotional Content
  • Subjective Performance Evaluation and Gender Discrimination
  • Gender Discrimination and Self-Employment Dynamics in Europe
  • The Analogies Between Racial and Gender Discrimination
  • Gender Discrimination and Social Identity: Evidence From Urban Pakistan
  • The Glass Ceiling and How Gender Discrimination Affects Women
  • Gender Discrimination During the Early Nineteenth Century
  • Life and Contributions of Nafis Sadik to the Fight Against Gender Discrimination
  • Gender Discrimination Set Straight: Women’s Right to Express the Option of Voting
  • The Women During the Persian Rule and the Gender Discrimination
  • Gender Discrimination Still Exists in Today’s Era
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How Are LGBT Youths Affected by Discrimination and What Can Schools Do to Help?

This essay shows how discrimination leads to increased high school drop out rates for LGBT youths and, of greater concern, increased rates of suicide and substance abuse.

Gaell Jocelyn-Blackman

In this paper, I will discuss the different types of discrimination that LGBT youths are faced with and the effects on these youths. The paper will elaborate on the severe impacts on LGBT youths not only caused by discrimination but also due to lack of support and guidance. The paper will also discuss the roles of the parents and schools in helping minimize discrimination against LGBT youths. This paper will also hopefully instruct schools and parents to accept and support gay students rather than add to the discrimination that they already face. Doing so will reduce the high school drop out rate and most importantly the youth suicide rate. In essence, the purpose of this research paper is to identify the different effects on LGBT youths due to discrimination and to explore various actions that can and should be taken by schools and parents to help these youths live a normal and happy life. Therefore, my target audience is the school system as well as the parents of LGBT youths.

Suicide is the leading cause of death among gay and lesbian youths. Gay and lesbian youths are 2 to 6 times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual youth. Over 30% of all reported teen suicides each year are committed by gay and lesbian youths. . . . Gays and lesbians are at much higher risk than the heterosexual population for alcohol and drug abuse. Approximately 30% of both the lesbian and gay male populations have problems with alcohol. Gay and lesbian youth are at greater risk for school failure than heterosexual children. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1989, as cited in “Today’s Gay Youth,” n.d., n.p.)
Substantially higher proportions of homosexual people use alcohol, marijuana or cocaine than is the case in the general population. (McKirnan & Peterson, 1989, as cited in “Today’s Gay Youth,” n.d., n.p.)
Approximately 28% of gay and lesbian youths drop out of high school because of discomfort (due to verbal and physical abuse) in the school environment. (Remafedi, 1987, as cited in “Today’s Gay Youth,” n.d., n.p.)
Gay and lesbian youths’ discomfort stems from fear of name calling and physical harm. (Eversole, n.d, as cited in “Today’s Gay Youth,” n.d., n.p.)

M any people are guilty of discrimination against LGBT youths, whether consciously or unconsciously. LGBT youths are faced with daily discrimination from society, peers, family and even school teachers and administrations. The above statistics not only show that LGBT youths lack support and guidance but also prove how much these youths are clearly affected, in more ways than one, by discrimination. Cole (2007) mentions that there is a higher rate of abuse, neglect, and discrimination against LGBT youths than straight youths. I believe that most parents would prefer their children to be straight than to be gay, and most school officials also prefer straight students over gay students. This preference could be a contributing factor in discrimination against LGBT youths. This paper will hopefully capture the attention of parents and schools and perhaps help modify their outlook on LGBT youths. Fundamentally, I will attempt to answer the following questions throughout the paper: What are the effects of discrimination against LGBT youths? What is the role of the parents? What is the role of the schools? How can parents and schools work together to help minimize discrimination against LGBT youths? What more can be done? Before answering those questions, I will start by addressing the types of discrimination that LGBT youths are faced with.

Types of Discrimination

Some of the comments that LGBT youths are faced with are as follows: “I hate gays. They should be banned from this country;” “Get away from me, you faggot. I can’t stand the sight of you;” “These queers make my stomach turn.” Those are only a few of the biased statements that LBGT youths are faced with in society. According to Cole (2007), the word “faggot” is often used by anti-gay peers to terrorize LGBT youths. Words such as “faggot” or “gay” are sometimes used in a negative sense to express something either stupid or uncool (Human Rights Watch, 2001, p.35). When that occurs, it shows an even greater sign of discrimination against LGBT youths. I noticed that these words are not only used in the real world but also in movies and TV shows which makes it harder for LGBT youths to deal with. In addition to the discrimination from society and their peers, LGBT youths also endure discrimination from home/families and particularly schools.

“Today’s Gay Youth: The Ugly, Frightening Statistics” (n.d.) reports that one half of LGBT youths are neglected by their parents because of their sexual preference and approximately a quarter of LGBT youths are mandated to leave their homes. Cole (2007) explains that rejected LGBT youths generally do not learn how to build a relationship with peers or families. As a result, it creates a state of loneliness and isolation for them. Some LGBT youths are both verbally and physically abused by parents (“Today’s Gay Youth,” n.d.). In addition, roughly about 40% of youths that are homeless are classified as LGBT youths. The same article shows 27% of male teenagers who classified themselves as gay or bisexual left home due to quarrels with family members over their sexuality. Needless to say, parents and families play a big part in discrimination against LGBT youths and the effects that it has on them.

Nevertheless, it appears that the majority of the discrimination against LGBT youths emanates from the schools that they attend. Are schools taking any actions to minimize discrimination against gay students? What are they doing to help these adolescents? The following quote is an explicit example of how schools can contribute to discrimination against LGBT youths:

I took a call from one sixteen-year-old who came out to his counselor. The only other person he’d told was his friend in California. The counselor said, “I can’t help you with that.” After he left, the counselor called his mother to make sure she knew. The youth went home that night not knowing that he’d been outed to his parents. Sitting around the dinner table, his mother said to him, “I got a call from the school counselor today. We’re not going to have any gay kids in this family.” His father took him outside and beat him. (as cited in Human Rights Watch, 2001, p.106)

Human Rights Watch (2001) also reports that the same youth was harassed by his peers once they found out about his sexuality. At this point he turned to suicide, but was fortunately taken in by a family member who lived out of state where he finished school (p. 106). In the mentioned quote, the sixteen-year-old student did not get any support from his school guidance counselor or his parents. If his own school and parents would not give him any guidance or support, who else could he turn to? What is the alternative? This example could be a common concern throughout the world, where LGBT youths are not comfortable with their gender at school at home. Consequently, they are faced with an alternative which is rarely a positive one. The alternatives that they face may include depression, substance abuse, violence, and even suicide.

Effects of Discrimination

LGBT youths endure hostile verbal and physical harassment that can be excruciating for them (Human Rights Watch, 2001, p. 35). Human Rights Watch (2001) also states that although the youths that were interviewed emphasized their fear of physical and sexual assault, being called words like “faggot,” “queer,” or “dyke,” daily is still destructive (p.35).

One young gay youth who had dropped out of an honors program angrily protested, “just because I am gay doesn’t mean I am stupid,” as he told of hearing “that’s so gay” meaning “that’s so stupid,” not just from other students but from teachers in his school. (Human Rights Watch, 2001, p. 35)

Over 25% of LGBT youths are high school drop outs because of the discrimination they are faced with in the school atmosphere (“Today’s Gay Youth,” n.d.). The article also states the LGBT youths have a greater risk of academic failure than heterosexual students. Furthermore they don’t get involved much in student activities and have very little dedication to the school’s agendas because school isn’t a safe, healthy, or productive learning environment. Therefore, LGBT youths make an attempt to live, work, and learn with continuous fear of physical assault at school (“Today’s Gay Youth,” n.d.).

Physical abuse against LGBT youths usually occurs due to disregarded harassment (Human Rights Watch, 2001, p. 42). Human Rights Watch (2001) says that the number of physical assaults that were reported by interviewed LGBT youths had an enormous psychological impact on them, mainly because the physical abuse followed constant verbal and non-physical harassment that was overlooked by school officials (p. 42). For example, a lesbian student reported that several months of harassment and verbal threats grew to physical abuse. “‘I got hit in the back of the head with an ice scraper.’ By that point, she said she was so used to being harassed. ‘I didn’t even turn around to see who it was’” (Human Rights Watch, 2001, p. 42). Another incident mentioned by Human Rights Watch (2001) involved a tenth grade gay youth who was hit in the back of the neck with a beer bottle. He literally had to crawl to the nearest friend’s house for immediate assistance. The same youth was beaten up in the seventh grade by a couple of anti-gay kids (p. 42). One last example entails another gay youth who first suffered from verbal assault and students throwing items at him. Subsequently, a group of anti-gay students strangled him with a drafting line so bad that it cut him. Later that school year the youth was dragged down a flight of stairs and cut with knives by his classmates (Human Rights Watch, 2001, p. 42). Fortunately, he lived to talk about it.

Human Rights Watch (2001) implies that verbal and physical violence is a tension that LGBT youths have gotten accustomed to; however, it is damaging to their psychological wellbeing (p. 68). Many of the LGBT youths interviewed by Human Rights Watch (2001) reported signs of depression such as: “sleeplessness, excessive sleep, loss of appetite, and feeling of hopelessness”(p. 69). One reported incident involved a gay youth who could not take it anymore. He started to skip school so that he would not have to put up with the harassment anymore. He stayed at home all day and ended up missing fifty-six days of school. The youth explained, “‘It was mentally and physically stressful for me to go to that school. I remember going home and waking up in the morning just dreading it; dreading the fact that I would have to go back to that school’” (as cited in Human Rights Watch, 2001, p. 69). Other youths reported that even when the harassment was not addressed directly toward them, they were affected by it. One youth implied that discrimination and harassment makes him feel like he is backed up into a corner and so sad that he wants to cry (Human Rights Watch, 2001, p. 69). It is no wonder LGBT youth turn to drugs, alcohol, and suicide.

Cole (2007) claims that discrimination against LGBT youths can create repression along with a deficiency in their natural growth. Discrimination also has a social and emotional impact on them. Instead of being social individuals, LGBT youths remain in the closet and hide. The loneliness that they bear can turn into depression which often leads to substance abuse or even suicide. LGBT youths have greater chances of alcohol and substance abuse than heterosexual youths (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1989, as cited in “Today’s Gay Youth,” n.d.). Also, roughly about one third of LGBT youths have a drinking or drug problem. Human Rights Watch (2001) interviewed some LGBT youths who say that they drink to the point of passing out or to feel good and normal (p. 69). The lack of support from parents or schools can possibly make them feel like there is no hope of ever living a happy life and being productive (Human Rights Watch, 2001, p. 68).

Roles of Parents

50% of all gay and lesbian youths report that their parents reject them due to their sexual orientation. In a study of male teenagers self-described as gay or bisexual, 27% moved away from home because of conflict with family members over sexual orientation. (Remafedi, 1987, as cited in “Today’s Gay Youth,” n.d., n.p.)
26% of gay and lesbian youth are forced to leave home because of conflicts over their sexual orientation. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1989, as cited in “Today’s Gay Youth,” n.d., n.p.)
In a study of 194 gay and lesbian youth, 25% were verbally abused by parents, and nearly 10% dealt with threatened or actual violence. (D’Augelli, 1997, as cited in “Today’s Gay Youth,” n.d., n.p.)
Approximately 40% of homeless youths are identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual. (Eversole, n.d., as cited in “Today’s Gay Youth,” n.d., n.p.)
Service providers estimate that gay, lesbian and bisexual youths make up 20-40% of homeless youth in urban areas. (National Network of Runaway and Youth Services, 1991, as cited in “Today’s Gay Youth,” n.d., n.p.)

It appears that the lack of support, protection, and guidance from family also has a major effect on LGBT youths. Perhaps, if their families were more supportive, the suicide and depression rates of LGBT youths would be moderately less. I believe that parents should embrace their children no matter what their sexual preference is. For an adolescent, I think that family should be the primary source for seeking support and guidance. When parents reject their gay or lesbian adolescent, I feel that it can possibly set him or her up for failure. This era is the time when adolescents would need their parents’ love and support the most. I also sense that when LGBT youths don’t get the love and support that they are looking for from parents, it contributes to their state of depression and suicidal phase. Therefore, parents of LGBT youths should take time to reflect on the circumstances before they make the wrong decisions.

One way of showing support would be for the youths’ parents or family to intervene with the school or at least make an attempt like the mother in the following quote:

“The more I talked to teachers, the superintendent, and the principal, the more they just kept throwing up brick walls and trying to convince me I would have to let my son go through this,” Ms. Cooper said. “But no child should have to go through this, whether he’s gay or not. When [bullying] gets to the point where a kid wants to quit school and give up his future, something has to be done.” (Browman, 2001, p. 3)

In the above case, the parent was being supportive to her gay son while the school officials were not. Like many other schools, they choose to ignore the fact that the gay student is being bullied and discriminated against. As mentioned earlier in the paper, that kind of response from schools also contributes to the effects of depression on LGBT youths.

Roles of Schools

“Educators cannot ignore the risks faced by homosexual students, but deciding how to deal with the issue should be a matter of local concern” (Archer, 2002, n.p.). In his article, Archer is stressing that educators must address discrimination against gay students and must put aside their personal views to create a safe environment for these students. In her article, Browman (2001) also talks about the lack of attention from school teachers and administrators toward gay discrimination and harassment. Browman (2001) acknowledges the educational effect on LGBT youths due to constant harassment in school. A very interesting point that was made in this article is, if a student makes a racial comment in school, he or she gets punished. So why should remarks like “dyke,” “fag,” or “queer” be acceptable? Are those words equal to the same level of discrimination as making a racial comment? The article advises that the problem of discrimination or harassment can be addressed at the verbal stage before it gets to the physical point or causes the youth’s academic learning to be harmed (Browman, 2001). The article continues to imply that teachers and administrators often fail to cease discrimination or harassment against LGBT youth. They are either afraid of facing prejudice from others or perhaps even because of their own prejudice (Browman, 2001). The article also suggests a way to express to all students that harassment or discrimination against LGBT students will not be tolerated. Consequences such as school conduct codes and discipline policies should be established as well as anti-harassment rules (Browman, 2001).

Browman (2001) reports that Human Rights Watch completed a two-year study on the topic where an immediate response was obtained from educational groups such as: The National Education Association, The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Educational Alliance, and The American Federation of Teachers. The three groups adhered in influencing the Education Department to defend and protect gay and lesbian students from discrimination. They add that schools are making an effort to create a safe environment for all students where they can all be treated with equal respect and dignity. Accordingly, the department fights to provide the schools with information and guidance to help solve the problem of discrimination against LGBT youths (Browman, 2001).

Furthermore, New York City has made an attempt to come up with a solution that they thought would possibly reduce discrimination against LGBT youths by opening an all-gay school. I see this movement as a possible increase in discrimination against LGBT youths. If they are all put together in one school, how is that helping them deal with discrimination from society, peers and others outside of the school? And how is that teaching anti-gay students not to discriminate against LGBT youths? I don’t think isolation from the rest of the world is the best solution for LGBT youths. They are human beings just like the rest of us and they should be treated accordingly. I agree with what is stated in Browman’s (2001) article about the schools accomplishing all they can to stop discrimination against LGBT youths.

The two primary sources that have the power and ability to diminish discrimination against LGBT youths are schools and parents. In my opinion, they are the ones who have the greatest influence on LGBT youths and in turn have the ability to reduce substance abuse, educational failure, and suicides. Parents and schools need to realize how much they can help diminish the effects of discrimination against LGBT youths if they work together and productively. Clearly, if they remain on the same page they can ease the agony for LGBT youths and help them live a normal and happy life. One method that can be exercised in schools is a homosexual sensitivity training for anti-gay students and school officials. The training would benefit both students and school officials. I think that it would help the school officials manage whatever prejudices they may have against LGBT youths. Since anti-gay bullying students are perhaps ignorant to the subject, schools should modify a system where all students can be educated on the subject. It would probably help the students get a better understanding if homosexuality was compared to other subject matters such as culture and religion. Students should be provided with a full view of the subject just like any other. If this method helps only two out of ten anti-gay students cease discrimination against LGBT students, I am sure that it will make a difference. An additional scheme that should be established is monthly meetings between school officials and parents to review the progress of measures that are already in place.

Before writing this research paper, I never imagined how immensely affected LGBT youths were by discrimination. It is awful what they go through and how most people are clueless or even careless about what these youths endure. LGBT youths are faced with discrimination, torture, and sometimes even execution because of who they love, how they look, or who they are. I believe that sexual orientation and gender identity are integral aspects of ourselves and should never lead to discrimination or abuse. Doing this research not only made me realize the intense discrimination suffered by LGBT youths but also had an impact on me. This research has made me want to advocate for more laws and policies to help protect LGBT youths. I have gained a ton of information and knowledge during this process. However, if my readers obtain half of the valuable information that I have obtained, I know that I have accomplished my task.

Archer, J. (2002, February). Local schools must address safety for gays. Education Week, 21 (23), 3. Retrieved October 12, 2007, from EBSCO Host database.

Browman, D. H. (2001, June). Report says schools often ignore harassment of gay students. Education Week, 20 (39), 5. Retrieved October 12, 2007, from EBSCO Host database.

Cole, S. (2007, April). Protecting our youth. Edge . Retrieved October 31, 2007, from

Human Rights Watch (2001). Hatred in the hallways. NY: Human Rights Watch.

Today’s gay youth: The ugly, frightening statistics (n.d.). Retrieved October 31, 2007, from

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