My donation is going to I India GC: I India GC. I would like to humbly thank all of you for giving me an opportunity to express my thoughts.
As Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft said “Discrimination has a lot of layers that make it tough for minorities to get a leg up.” This meaningful quote is an accurate example of how being discriminated against affects lives. Many people in this world are left behind based on the inequitable treatment that the privileged have meted out to them.
To my mind, understanding the evils and causes of discrimination are essential to eliminating it. My interpretation of discrimination is “treating somebody the way you wouldn’t want to be treated, due to who they are or what they believe in.” The root of discrimination is believing in bigotry based on beliefs, identity, or values of the “so-called privileged”. My view is that this level of prejudice could generally be caused by societal, peer, and family influences. According to the CDC, discrimination comes in many forms, but here are some of the more unheard ones:
1. Status as a parent: eg: Discriminating someone because they are a foster parent
2. Pregnancy: eg: Demoting an employee, because they are pregnant.
3. Sexual Harassment: eg: Treating somebody differently because they are a victim of sexual harassment.
4. Reprisal/Retention: eg: Bullying a student because they took action when another kid was getting bullied.
In most cases, we can bucket discrimination into these three categories.
Direct Discrimination: Explicit discrimination of a person or a group by not letting them exercise the same rights as others. An example is a person of color needing to go through extra security checks.
Indirect Discrimination: When there is a law, belief, or policy that is on neutral grounds, but ends up fostering discrimination. Eg: Preventing a meritorious 12-year-old from competing in a 14 – 16 age group competition.
Intersectional discrimination: When many varieties of discrimination combine to further hinder a group by making their lives even harder. Eg. Minority women face dual discrimination.
Any form of discrimination plays a devastating role in people’s lives, pushing them towards poverty, crime, mental breakdown, or even death. As per an NPR research report, 60% of people of color in the USA have stated that either they or a family member have been unjustly mistreated by police just because they are black. In Europe, as per a Eurobarometer survey, more than 80% of people have said that there is discrimination practiced based on ethnicity, religion, physical disability, mental disability, age, and sexual orientation.
All this empirical evidence makes a substantial case to believe that discrimination exists in various shapes and forms and, it exists worldwide. It is essential to understand that the person who practices discrimination generally believes that he/she/other is more powerful in some form than the one who is a victim of discrimination. Discrimination is a classic example of the misuse of power or social status or both. As mentioned before, this behavior could be a result of parental, societal, and/or peer influence from a very young age, and the fact that it was not nipped in the bud.
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing themselves” ~ Leo Tolstoy.
More than the government, NGOs, and the judiciary, every person in this world must take immediate and decisive individual action at a local level to start this tsunami of change against discrimination. Here are some of the steps I will take at my local level to be a tiny contributor to this immense transformation.
The solution to most complex problems ends up being the simplest one.
I’d like to stand up for those who get discriminated against, without feeling embarrassed or passively supporting the wrongdoers just to remain aligned. Why should you feel embarrassed if you are doing the right thing? We all must remember to educate the offenders on the negative effects of discrimination and strongly encourage them to stop doing so.
Secondly, raising awareness is paramount. Using social media, you could educate people on the ill effects of discrimination and how it destroys the social fabric of a nation. Also, proactively talk to your parents, friends, and family about this massive issue.
Next, I would take this rather unusual approach. That is to think about your “insignificance” in the universe, it is an easier way to realize that everyone is equal. Start by thinking that you are one of the 7 billion people that live on this planet, there are 8 planets in our solar system, there are over 5,000 solar systems in the Milkyway. There are 2 trillion galaxies in the universe, and the universe is constantly expanding. This puts everything into perspective and makes you think if the color of your skin makes a difference? Does your gender become more important than your talent?. Do your faiths and religion matter? No! Absolutely not! Next time you should think twice about commenting and discriminating against someone. Go back and reflect that you are just a fraction of this universe, why do you have to spot the so-called “differences” between 2 “super-miniature dots” in this ever-lasting universe.
I decided to keep the most significant solution for last. If you are in a position of power you must reprimand those who discriminate against a person or a group. All people in power (at whatever level) have a responsibility to do so, just like how parents are supposed to teach their children the right behavior and if required, even reprimand them. If a sports team member shows discriminatory behavior, it is the captain’s responsibility to strictly reprimand the person, to set an example. This would make anyone think twice before repeating the same.
Discrimination is just not a word in the dictionary, it is centuries old, deep rooted, and all-pervasive evil that exists in this world. This cannot be corrected in a jiffy. In my opinion, it will take 2 -3 generations of conscious and sustained effort to eliminate all forms of this evil. Can we be the change we want to see in the world? I put my hand up.
“Racial Discrimination.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, 19 Jan. 2003, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racial_discrimination. Accessed 16 Apr. 2021.
“Views on Race in America 2019.” Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends Project, 15 Oct. 2020, www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2019/04/09/race-in-america-2019.
European Commission | Choose Your Language | Choisir Une Langue | Wählen Sie Eine Sprache, ec.europa.eu/commfrontoffice/publicopinion/archives/ebs/ebs_168_exec.sum_en.pdf.
“Poll: Most Americans Think Their Own Group Faces Discrimination.” NPR.org, 24 Oct. 2017, www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/10/24/559116373/poll-most-americans-think-their-own-group-faces-discrimination.
“Types of Discrimination.” 17 June 2020, www.cdc.gov/eeo/faqs/discrimination.htm.
“What Drives Discrimination and How Do We Stop It?” Amnesty International, www.amnesty.org/en/what-we-do/discrimination.