The campus of Harvard University. Harvard has been accused of admissions discrimination by Students for Fair Admissions, claiming that the university limits its number of Asian American students and gives preference to other races. Photo courtesy of www.dailymail.co.uk
Discriminatory content is just as the name suggests. Whether religious, racial, financial, gender-related, or based on sexual orientation, discrimination is hurtful and cruel. Anytime you exclude someone or treat someone differently just because they possess a quality you don’t like, that could be considered as discrimination based on that particular quality. Online discrimination can take a number of forms, and you need to be aware of them and what to do if you encounter them.
One of the most common types is discriminatory posts on social media. There are a lot of people in this world who discriminate against others, and social media provides an open conduit to do so on a broader scale. On all major social media sites, content of this type is not allowed as a rule, but sometimes the discriminatory messages could be subtle and possibly not get caught by those who monitor the site. For this reason, it’s important that you report any post that you feel could constitute discrimination. Depending on which social media site you’re on, there will be slightly different ways to go about reporting discriminatory posts. Have a look at the links below which you can use to report improper content on some of the bigger social media sites.
Another form of discrimination involves online employment. Most businesses these days have an equal opportunity policy meaning that every person has an equal chance to be hired regardless of religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, or other factors. Sadly, this doesn’t always translate to the online job market. There are websites such as Odesk which allow people to find freelance work which they an do from the comfort of their own home. Odesk and sites like it all frown on discrimination and offer means for people to report such activity, but with sites like that it’s not always easy to catch. If you’re declined for a job, you’ll get an email and most often the reason for being declined is “chose another freelancer”. Still, be aware of the communication you have with the prospective client and if any of those emails or conversations give you the feeling that you’ve been discriminated against, don’t hesitate to report your suspicions and let the website admins investigate.
Aside from the above mentioned forms of discrimination, there are also a large number of websites that may post discriminatory images, articles, or videos. Most search engines have incorporated methods to automatically weed out any sites that display abusive content, but it’s still possible that you might run across content of this type. In general, you can search up the domain that the website uses and find out what company leased the domain name to that group or individual, and in many cases the website can be shut down. In some cases, especially where discriminatory content gets serious enough to be considered a form of hate crime, you may need to report the content to the proper authorities so that they can investigate and catch the responsible person or persons. Have a look at our hate crime page for more information and for resources you can use to report abusive content.