By analogy with abuses based on race and gender, abuse based on rank is given the name "rankism." Rankism is harder to pin down than other more apparent forms of discrimination -- gender, race or disability.
Once you have a name for it, you see rankism at the heart of every infringement of human rights, far away or close to home. Rankism is the root cause of indignity, injustice, and unfairness. Choosing the term "rankism," places the goal of universal human dignity in the context of contemporary movements for civil rights. Reexamining racism, sexism, and ageism as examples of rankism breathes new life into the movements opposing them. Identifying rankism in all its guises and overcoming it is democracy's next step.