In human social affairs, discrimination is treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person based on the group, class, or category to which the person is perceived to belong. These include age, colour, convictions for which a pardon has been granted or a record suspended, disability, ethnicity, family status, gender identity, genetic characteristics, marital status, nationality, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation. Discrimination consists of treatment of an individual or group, based on their actual or perceived membership in a certain group or social category, "in a way that is worse than the way people are usually treated". It involves the group's initial reaction or interaction going on to influence the individual's actual behavior towards the group leader or the group, restricting members of one group from opportunities or privileges that are available to another group, leading to the exclusion of the individual or entities based on illogical or irrational decision making.

Discriminatory traditions, policies, ideas, practices and laws exist in many countries and institutions in every part of the world, including in territories where discrimination is generally looked down upon. In some places, controversial attempts such as quotas have been used to benefit those who are believed to be current or past victims of discrimination--but they have sometimes been called reverse discrimination.

Selected article

Black codes were laws enacted by states and towns of the United States in the 1800s to restrict the rights of free blacks. While these laws became popular in Southern States in the interim between the end of the Civil War and the start of Reconstruction, many such laws also existed in Northern ("free") states decades earlier.

Black codes should not be confused with Jim Crow laws which less blatantly prescribed discrimination by requiring separate public facilities for blacks and whites. Black codes specifically set forth onerous burdens on blacks in the states in which they had been enacted, nominally with the intent to deter "free" blacks from entering the state (in the Northern cases), or to prevent them from being able to abandon their previous slave-labor roles (in the Southern cases).

State laws banning the marriage of whites and blacks, so-called anti-miscegenation laws, existed in all the slave states and in several new free states as well. Many of these remained in effect until they were declared unconstitutional in 1967. Black codes incorporated into the state constitutions of Indiana and Illinois in the 1840s completely prohibited black immigration into those states.

After the Civil War, many Confederate states passed codes that singled out free blacks for sharp penalties for skipping work or for being unemployed, and stiff fines for otherwise acceptable public acts were enacted specifically towards or involving blacks.

These Black codes by Southern states after the Civil War garnered hostility in the North, who accused the South of trying to perpetuate the illegalized practice of slavery through onerous regulations. The dominance of Northern carpetbaggers in Southern politics brought many Southern black codes to an end in 1866.


Selected image


This still from the 1915 movie The Birth of a Nation portrays the Ku Klux Klan capturing a savage free black named Gus (played by Walter Long in blackface) who is wanted for terrorizing a local white woman. The movie is notorious for its exceedingly stereotypical and demonic portrayal of blacks, particularly recently-freed blacks in a post-Reconstruction world; and for its sympathetic portrayal of the KKK as a populist militia restoring order to an upended South.

Did you know?



The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:

Study Guides





Learning resources

Travel guides



Purge server cache

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Connect with defaultLogic
What We've Done
Led Digital Marketing Efforts of Top 500 e-Retailers.
Worked with Top Brands at Leading Agencies.
Successfully Managed Over $50 million in Digital Ad Spend.
Developed Strategies and Processes that Enabled Brands to Grow During an Economic Downturn.
Taught Advanced Internet Marketing Strategies at the graduate level.

Manage research, learning and skills at NCR Works. Create an account using LinkedIn to manage and organize your omni-channel knowledge. NCR Works is like a shopping cart for information -- helping you to save, discuss and share.

  Contact Us