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- 1 -Extracted with permission from Readings for Diversity and Social Justice. Edited by Maurianne Adams,etc., Published 2000.Discrimination Comes in Many Forms: Individual, Institutional, andStructural by Fred L. PincusDiscrimination is a critical term in understanding problems associated with diversity.Historically, of course, discrimination has been a major cause of the lack of diversity in highereducation and the rest of society. In the 1990s, race and gender discrimination still permeate theinstitutions and structure of the United States even though most white Americans viewdiscrimination as relatively unimportant.Several years ago, I wrote that there were three different levels of discrimination-individual, institutional, and structural (Pincus 1994). Individual discrimination refers to thebehavior of individual members of one race/ethnic/gender group that is intended to have adifferential and/or harmful effect on the members of another race/ethnic/gender group.Institutional discrimination, on the other hand, is quite different because it refers to the policiesof the dominant race/ethnic/gender institutions and the behavior of individuals who control theseinstitutions and implement policies that are intended to have a differential and/or harmful effecton minority race/ethnic/gender groups. Finally, structural discrimination refers to the policies ofdominant race/ethnic/gender institutions and the behavior of the individuals who implementthese policies and control these institutions, which are race/ethnic/gender neutral in intent butwhich have a differential and/or harmful effect on minority race/ethnic/gender groups.In these definitions, the term dominant refers to groups that have most of the power insociety. In the United States, this refers to whites, especially white males. The term minorityrefers to groups that lack power; it does not refer to groups that are small. In the United States,people of color and women are minority groups as are certain non-Christian religious groups likeJews and Muslims. People of color also happen to be a numerical minority, but women are not.Individual versus Institutional DiscriminationAlthough both individual and institutional discrimination involve an intention to harm, thelevel of behavior is quite different. Individual discrimination involves the actions of an