Author: Sarah-Jane Baur
Are You Part of the Game?
The noun “discrimination” does not necessarily have to be negatively connotated. At least not when looking at the denotations of the word. Sometimes it can simply describe the ability to judge what is of high quality. It is, however, nowadays mostly associated with the rather negative sociological concept of discrimination. This concept is described by the Oxford dictionary as “the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.” As this definition already indicates, discrimination is a very broad problem and applies to almost everyone at some point in their lives.
There are many different types of discrimination and to list them would be tedious and lengthy. This article will therefore only include the most important categories discrimination can be grouped into. One of the most commonly debated types of discrimination is gender and gender identity discrimination. As the name already suggests, this kind of discrimination refers to a person’s genetic or chosen gender. Gender discrimination can be present at the workplace, but also in all other areas of social life and has been heavily debated in the past. But not only people’s sex leads to discrimination, also their sexual orientation can cause them to be discriminated against. Even though same-sex partnerships are legal in many countries nowadays, there is still a lot of discrimination towards them present in society. Part of this is also the so-called marriage discrimination, which still prevents same-sex couples in many countries from getting legally married.
A video on marriage discrimination
Video Source: Get Up! Action for Australia
Another rather commonly debated type of discrimination is discrimination based on race and color. This is often closely interlinked with discrimination because of religion. Especially in times of rapidly advancing globalization, these kinds of discrimination experience a wide spread. A further aspect of globalization is that citizenship discrimination becomes more apparent, as well. Changing visa regulations and the increasing spread of economical and political unions such as the European Union constantly continue to ease trade and traveling between certain countries, which, as a side effect, also sheds further light upon the discrimination of citizens of the countries which do not benefit from these new policies.
Also often addressed in a legal context is workplace discrimination. This includes illegal hiring and firing of employees, harassment and unfair or unequal wages. It furthermore often involves age discrimination, because many employers are not willing to employ competent applicants above a certain age. Besides these types, workplace discrimination also includes many other common types of discrimination, such as gender discrimination and discrimination based on race and color.
Other types of discrimination include discrimination of the disabled and discrimination based on stereotypes and tastes. In this context it is important to mention that discrimination of the disabled is not limited to social exclusion, but also stretches as far as infrastructural exclusion. Many, often also official, buildings and means of transportation are not easily accessible for disabled people, which is often forgotten when debating the topic of discrimination against the disabled. Discrimination based on stereotypes and tastes, on the other hand, is very much limited to a social context, where it occurs in all kinds of different environments, such as the workplace.
A Public Service Announcement on the discrimination of the disabled
Video Source: Pro Infirmis
The above named types of discrimination are only a selection and short levaquin online uk listing of the most commonly debated issues in society and are, by no means, a complete illustration of all different shapes discrimination can take. When looking at this rather lengthy listing, the question of what society has done and is currently doing to solve this problem. The answer to this question would, again, be rather lengthy and will soon be treated in greater detail in another article on this blog, but some examples of measures already taken shall still be named at this point. Anti-discrimination actions are highly individual for each country, and giving a short overview is therefore not possible. Most anti-discrimination acts are, however, inspired by correlating United Nations actions. An example for such is the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance held in 2001 in South Africa. Many anti-discrimination measures also refer to the fact that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, states in article seven that “all are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.“
A detailed list of anti-discrimination acts sorted by country can be viewed here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_anti-discrimination_acts
Another question that might come to one’s mind when looking at today’s issues with discrimination is what can be done and what still has to be done, in order to minimize the amount of discrimination in our society. The answer to this question, and thereby the solution to the problem, is rather complicated. Due to the fact that there are so many different types of discrimination, many solution sets are highly individual and can only really be understood when looking at the specific issue in question. There are, however, two things that definitely can and need to be done with all discrimination topics- raising awareness and educating the people about the problems. Aware people will be more likely to demand changes in legislation, and also to support such. This enables activists and politicians to pass laws that have the potential to decrease and punish discrimination in society. Education, of which raising awareness is often a part of, can also be an aid in making people aware of the areas where they discriminate and thereby appeal to their conscience. Both measures also increase people’s understanding of their surrounding and the fellow beings that surround them.
In conclusion, it can therefore be seen that, even though some kinds of discrimination, such as religious discrimination, are more common than others, but it should also be apparent that there are many different issues that affect almost everyone. Everyone should therefore be aware of discrimination in his or her surroundings and try to counteract them wherever possible. As written in the above paragraph, solutions to the problem are highly individual, and this fact further emphasizes on the need of even just small and simple actions being taken, seeing as it is impossible to implement one great solution towards all discriminative issues. Discrimination is still a big issue in our global society, and with progressing globalization we also need to make progress in the fight against discrimination.
1. The Oxford Dictionary, Discrimination: http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/discrimination
2. The United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights: http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/
Image Source: http://iso25.deviantart.com/#/d1iv3ib
An example of religious discrimination
An example of racial discrimination
Image Source: http://www.dosomething.org/files/pictures/antilatino.jpg