Discrimination

01/28/2016

Personal prejudices make us lump people into categories. Sex, race, age, gender, class, nationality, weight, political choice, religion—the list of prejudices we can feel is endless. Most of these things  have little or nothing to do with choice. Even one’s politics and religion, or lack thereof, may effectively be chosen for us by community pressure. 

When people actively prevent the object of their prejudice from participation in anything, prejudice becomes discrimination. Our country’s political and entertainment worlds—if we can tease them apart—are rife with discrimination. Politicians play on our prejudices, hoping to appeal to enough of us to gain victory. Hollywood’s prejudice against actors and directors of color is being exposed again, and it wasn’t so long ago that there were no NFL quarterbacks of color.

Discrimination affects us all, even the discriminators, as generalizations spread. Rich people are heartless and spoiled. Poor people are dangerous and stupid. Moslems are fanatical, Jews are scheming, Christians are hypocritical, Mexicans are lazy, the Irish are drunks, Asians are clever, African-Americans are athletic, women are unpredictable, men are violent, our enemies are subhuman, and so on.

May I suggest that discrimination (as in discernment) of the finer details  of a person’s character trump discrimination by category?