Recently there has been much talk in the news and social media on discrimination. Is this the future or are we turning back the clock?
Discrimination is treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing is perceived to belong to rather than on individual merit. This includes 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 logical or irrational decision making.
Discriminatory traditions, policies, ideas, practices, and laws exist in many countries and institutions in every part of the world, even in ones where discrimination is generally looked down on. In some places, controversial attempts such as quotas have been used to benefit those believed to be current or past victims of discrimination- but have sometimes been called reverse discrimination. In the USA, a government policy known as affirmative action was instituted to encourage employers and universities to seek out and accept groups such as African Americans and women, who have been subject to discrimination for a long time.
The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect.
It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. It is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment.
It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.
In English the word “bigot” refers to a person whose habitual state of mind includes an obstinate, irrational, or unfair intolerance of ideas, opinions, ethnicities, or beliefs that differ from their own, and intolerance of the people who hold them.
Prejudice is prejudgment, or forming an opinion before becoming aware of the relevant facts of a case. The word is often used to refer to preconceived, usually unfavorable, judgments toward people or a person because of gender, political opinion, social class, age, disability, religion, sexuality, race/ethnicity, language, nationality, or other personal characteristics. In this case, it refers to a positive or negative evaluation of another person based on their perceived group membership. Prejudice can also refer to unfounded beliefs and may include “any unreasonable attitude that is unusually resistant to rational influence”. Gordon Allport defined prejudice as a “feeling, favorable or unfavorable, toward a person or thing, prior to, or not based on, actual experience”.
Fear an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. Fear creates terror, fright, fearfulness, horror, alarm, panic, agitation, trepidation, dread, consternation, dismay, distress.
Intolerance is the unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behavior that differ from one’s own. Intolerance is also known as bigotry, narrow-mindedness, small-mindedness, illiberality, parochialism, or provincialism. The word intolerance comes from a combination of the Latin “in” meaning “not” and “tolerantem” meaning “to bear, endure.” Intolerance is not being able to bear or endure beliefs that are different from your own. You may commonly hear of it used with respect to religious intolerance, which is an unwillingness to accept different religious beliefs.
Intolerance, or an unwillingness to accept the beliefs or behavior of someone different from you, is not a quality you want to have. Intolerance is what leads to hate crimes and discrimination.
So I must admit, I discriminate. I don’t want to but I do. I do it everyday.
I don’t like beets.
I walk pass them everyday and often don’t acknowledge their position in the produce section. I don’t ever consider them for any meal. Why this is the first time I’ve talked about them in many, many years.
Sure I’ve had a beet. One of the many dishes my family tried to feed me to increase my knowledge of all food groups, but I never liked it.
Don’t get me wrong. I like root vegetables. Potatoes, onions, even carrots are often on my dining room table but not beets. My discriminating palate just doesn’t choose the flavor as acceptable, so I don’t buy or eat beets.
Beets don’t scare me and I’m not intolerant those who enjoy beets. I appreciate the diversity of all the color fruits and vegetables available to everyone who walks into the door and praise the hardworking farmers who dig the dirt to brings us beets.
So if you like beets, I won’t discriminate against you. I will point out that stain is hard to come out when you dribble. Maybe if fast food shops could create a MacBeet Burger or KFC could fry it, then the beet could get some respect.
I also discriminate against radishes.