Shapes and Sizes of Discrimination

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In the world today, we still face many societal challenges. One of the most prominent of those is social discrimination. People of all races and backgrounds continue to discriminate one another. This has caused much outrage and violence among different groups. Typically, a person isn’t going to admit to being prejudice against another, but with the constant conflict portrayed in the media, it is evident this problem still exists. As stated in the literature, discrimination is unequal treatment because of gender, race, ethnicity, disability, religion, sexual orientation, or other diverse human traits. (Farley pp.199) While it is a social norm to have differences among classes, religions, demographics, etc., discrimination is widely intolerable. Society has come a long way in what is acceptable today, as opposed to what was. as little as ten years ago and prior. A person who doesn’t understand another or is simply fearful of what they will likely resort to some sort of discrimination as a defense.

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Almost as if to say, if they aren’t like me they must be wrong. We say knowledge is power, and that couldn’t be more appropriate. Speaking from personal experience, when people are educated about other cultures, beliefs, and practices, they are less likely to discriminate. Once the individual has a better understanding, they typically aren’t on the defense. Whether they agree with the choices or not, they have the respect to agree to disagree so to speak. Being prejudice does not necessarily constitute discrimination and vice versa. (Farley pp.201-202) There are many current legal cases involving various types of discrimination, I will touch base on a couple throughout this piece. When we think of discrimination, most of us gravitate toward racial issues. This may be the most common type of discrimination. Recently, Harvard University was accused of racially discriminating against Asian-American students during admissions. The group, Students for Fair Admissions, brought the claim against Harvard stating that they were sending recruitment letters to students based on PSAT scores earned. According to school policy, Asian-American males living in rural stated need to score 1370 on the PSAT to get a letter. White males, however, only need 1310. (Jung, 2018) The attorney representing the group argues this is race discrimination at its finest. While the Dean of Harvard remains firm that this is a tactic the college uses to attract people in rural areas who historically may not have considered the school and that those standards are not used once students enter the applicant pool. (Jung, 2018) This comment would lead one to believe that each student is given a fair opportunity during the admission process and all race-related info would be irrelevant.

Multiple students testified during the trial and all of them praised Harvard for the diversity it offers. Many students were upset that race-blind admissions was a possible proposal. One witness stated, To not see my race is to not see me. It is common knowledge that people from different races and cultures live among one another, and it helps define who they are. If we were to remove that factor in admissions and other application processes it would make each persons’ uniqueness obsolete. People enjoy being identified for their accomplishments, but also for their backgrounds and where they came from. This is especially true with impoverished societies that have worked their way to success. If students do not meet a school’s academic requirements, they should not be admitted just because of their race. Schools are for educating students, not for deciding which race is worthy of admission. It is nice to have a diverse population, but it should be done fairly and only those who are academically adept should be granted acceptance. Currently, in the news, there is controversy with the LGBT community and President Trump. The current laws in place do not provide enough protection for the LGBT community from workplace discrimination. It is their stance that there needs to be action taken to resolve this. Either the supreme court or Congress has the ability to rectify this issue. As society changes, laws and standards should change too, but unfortunately, it does not happen this way.

Whether or not we agree with a person being gay, transgender, lesbian, or bisexual, they are still a human and should be treated with the same dignity and respect as someone who is straight. It is no one’s place to determine what kind of treatment another human should receive based on their sexual orientation. As mentioned previously, I don’t think there is enough energy around educating people about other people’s lifestyles. I have a friend, who I also work with, and her name is Alicia. She and her partner used a sperm donor to get pregnant and her partner carried the baby. The plan was for Alicia to work while her partner spent 12 weeks on maternity leave with the baby. Then it would be Alicia’s turn to take the same amount of time off. Because this was the first time their employer dealt with this scenario, Alicia had to jump through hoops and endure a lengthy and complicated process. Alicia worked at this company for over 15 years and they required her to go back and show proof of this. She was also required to obtain health history documentation. The rationale as to why they needed this documentation was as clear as mud. In addition, she had to complete extensive amounts of paperwork for the company. Meanwhile, she was also going through the process to adopt her child, which is also very laborious. Had Alicia and her partner been a man and woman in a heterogenous relationship, I am certain these issued would not have materialized. There was no intentional discrimination, and typically institution discrimination isn’t, but the difference in treatment from one person to the next speaks volumes. Alicia did get to spend the time off with her daughter and all was well in the end.

My point here is that there never should have been a need to prove her work history and complete unnecessary documentation. Having a child should be a happy experience for both gay and straight parents, not a dreadful one. As unfortunate as it is, we see discrimination happening too frequently. For decades societies have been battling discrimination and it isn’t getting any better. A person could potentially land themselves in jail for discriminating against another. In the United States, most discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion or disability is illegal. (Farley pp.199) Educating people may not change what they believe but it will certainly put things into a different perspective allowing open minds to accept our ever-evolving society. Just when I think we are on the upswing with discrimination, the media reminds me of how crippling it continues to be for our society.

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Shapes and Sizes of Discrimination. (2019, Mar 29). Retrieved December 2, 2022 , from

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