The making of a discriminatory ism

Ognjen Arandjelović*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



The millennia long struggles of various oppressed groups have over time illuminated widespread social injustices, organically leading to the recognition of yet further injustices captured by the umbrella of discriminatory isms, such as racism, sexism, classism, ableism, anti-Semitism, ageism, heterosexism and many others. In recent years, the debate has become increasingly fierce, polarized and even physically violent. 


One of the premises of the present work is that in part, the aforementioned unconstructive behaviors are a result of the different understandings of what constitutes an ism and the lack of a thoughtful consideration of this issue in the mainstream social debate as much as in the academic literature. 


The author presents evidence for this and critiques the dominant lines of thought in this realm, showing all the dominant lines of thought to fall short of both the fundamental philosophical as well practical desiderata in how isms ought to be understood. 


The author proposes an alternative which does not suffer from the weakness of the existing one: one based on the denial of equivalence of sentience. The author shows how the adoption of this understanding leads to constructive ways of addressing isms effected injustice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1038-1050
JournalEquality, Diversity and Inclusion
Issue number8
Early online date9 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2023


  • Individual perception
  • Psychology
  • Racial discrimination
  • Sex and gender issues
  • Sexual discrimination
  • Social groups


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