Holy smokes, that sounds a title a third wave feminist would come up with. Trigger warning, what you are about to read is very likely to make you mad. I am going to propose some rather controversial ideas. Though I often say that the best things to read are the things that make you angry. Because the time at which you are forced to evaluate your feelings the most are when you’ve been angered by something you’ve seen or heard. For example, you may be mad at… say… Donald Trump for suggesting that we should have a temporary ban on refugees from the Middle East entering our country. Why does that make you mad? Because you believe it’s destructive to our foreign relations and you feel that poor foreign relations is a bad thing. Perhaps you believe that it’s the same as scratching a rash, by not allowing these refugees into our country they are driven to ISIS to become terrorists and the next time they’ll attempt to enter our country it’ll be as an oppressing ISIS terrorist instead of an oppressed Middle Eastern refugee. In essence, you believe that it is more dangerous to the United States to ban these refugees from entering the country than it is to let them in and risk the off-chance that a terrorist gets in. No matter what you believe, your anger at the suggest forced you think about why you disagree and why you believe that the suggestion is a poor one.
Let’s begin with the definition of discrimination. Is Dictionary.com good enough for you?
Let’s begin with an example that we are all familiar with: racism. In the United States there was a time in which racism was far more ubiquitous than it is today (though if you ask certain democrats they’ll tell you the basis for Trump’s support is racists which easily looks like one-sixth of the country!). There would be water fountains designated for blacks. There would be restrooms designated for blacks. There would be areas just designated for blacks. This discrimination notably went one way in some cases. That is, white individuals could access black facilities but black individuals could not access white facilities. This eventually went out of style as time progressed and today in the United States we don’t have that type of discrimination anymore… or do we.
An example I often like to bring in terms of racial discrimination is that of available scholarships. The Sons of Italy award scholarships to those of Italian descent. Awarding scholarships is great! Higher education is super expensive and one less penny you have to take a loan out is one hundred less dollars you have to pay back when everything is done and taken care of. But note how you must have Italian descent to be eligible for such a scholarship. There are plenty of people of Italian descent (like myself) that would like financial assistance to pay for higher education. There are also plenty of people that are not of Italian descent that could also feasibly want this financial assistance. So is this discrimination? I’ve already given you the answer at the beginning of this paragraph – yes, it is. Why? Because it’s making a distinction (people of Italian descent) in favor of (eligibility for a scholarship) based on a category to which that person belongs to rather than individual merit. Now the question I ask you is: is this a bad thing? If this makes you angry, I ask you, why? The Sons of Italy are a private organization. They should be free to spend their money however they like, no? Are you entitled to apply for their money, is this one of your rights as a United States citizen?
Let’s move on the sexual discrimination. There is an often quoted 20 cent wage gap (which, by the way, is COMPLETELY FICTIONAL). But if it were to exist, that would definitely be discrimination. Either men are being paid more because they are men, or women are being paid less because they are women. Neither of these criterion concern themselves with merit, so it has to be discrimination. But let’s step aside from this for a moment. Now I’m an asexual robot so I have no idea what it’s like to be attracted to another individual. The only dating I do is carbon dating, and I still mess those up all the time. But perhaps some of you are familiar with the idea of the date. Perhaps some of you have even gone on dates. Maybe you’re married, or about to be. What was your first date like? (For the purpose of this example, I will use a heterosexual couple). Did the man show up with flowers? Did the two of you go out to dinner or a movie? When the woman was about to enter a vehicle, did the man open the door for her and close it when the woman was securely inside? Did the man pay for the date? If the man did all of these things, it’s not unreasonable to believe that they are sexist. WOAH, SLOW DOWN THERE PARTNER. THE MAN LITERALLY DID NOTHING BUT NICE THINGS FOR THE WOMAN. Well, ignoring the obvious response of the man taking away all of the woman’s power by doing all of these things for her, let’s focus on the discrimination. So the man did all these things which we’ll assume the woman rather liked. Free of financial obligation, didn’t need to drive, didn’t even have to open the door to the vehicle. Why is this sexism? Remember what sexism is. Sexism is gender discrimination. The question that you have to ask yourself to not call him sexist is this: “Would the man have done this for another man?” It’s that simple. Actually, it would be more proper to ask yourself this: “Why did the man do this”. That’s the general question. And if the answer doesn’t boil down to ‘because the woman is a woman’ then the man is in the clear. Good to go. He’s not a sexist. But even if he is a sexist, is that so bad? Is being sexist a problem here?
And this is the problem people have when they call people racist or sexist or anything-ist. They use racist and sexist as weapons to invalidate the individual committing the offense acts. And they might be right. Is it fair to call Donald Trump a racist for calling for a ban on refugees from the Middle East? Well, ask yourself the question. ‘Is Donald Trump calling for this ban on this specific group of people because they’re from the Middle East and Trump simply doesn’t want people from the Middle East in the United States?’ If you can honestly answer that question yes, then go ahead. Call Trump racist. You’ve justified it. But if you can think of other reasons, then I would say no, don’t call Trump a racist. Why jump to the conclusion of bigotry when other reasonable answers exist?
Let’s move on to other various forms of discrimination. This is where I expect things to get a little uncomfortable. Discrimination of the elderly. I ride the bus to University in the morning. The normal fare is three dollars a ride. The elderly need only pay one dollar? Something like that. My question to the bus company is then, “Why do the elderly have a reduced fare?” If I am to say that this is not discrimination I have to ask myself if I believe that the reason that the elderly get such a reduced fare is because they’ve managed to hit a few birthdays (my guess is yes). You may want to ask me if I get a reduced fare because I’m a student. The answer is yes, I get to ride for free. But again, I have to pay the school, and the school probably has to pay the bus company for this favor. Do the elderly have the same argument? I would guess no. You could argue that they paid taxes over many years which is used to run the public transportation, but the only requirement is that the individual be old. They could be on vacation (Alaska does get a lot of tourists here for the Northern Lights). They could be paying taxes for a completely different bus company. If the elderly were required to have an Alaska license or something then I’d be a little more willing to give this bus company credit against being discriminatory, but since they don’t, I say they discriminate. And remember, I began this little portion with a guess. I don’t know for sure.
Actually let’s stay on that bus for a little bit. Suppose the bus is getting full and you’re sitting in the front of the bus. An elderly individual comes on. Do you give up your seat for this individual? Many people would answer ‘yes’ to that question. Why? Discrimination! Giving up your seat because someone is elderly and may be more needy than you to sit down is discrimination. You discriminated based on either age or disability. Is this a bad thing? That’s for you to decide. You aren’t required to give up your seat, but you would likely make other bus riders think poorly of you for your insistence to remain seated despite recognizing that someone else probably needs to be seated more.
See, the reason I bring this up is because there are many people that will proudly say that they support equality. They say everyone should be treated equally. I agree. We should treat people based on the merits of the actions, not based on arbitrary characteristics to which they had no control over. But discrimination defies this concept of equality. Discrimination is the exact opposite of regarding people by their merits. This is why I don’t support senior specials. I don’t support Black History Month. I don’t support Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I don’t support these things because I interpret them as discrimination. To me they’re a type of ‘soft discrimination’ (Depending on how you interpret them, they could be insults). A discrimination used to apologize for discrimination. If you support these ideas, you are supporting discrimination. If you support discrimination, you cannot fully support equality. You must take a side, red pill or blue pill, black or white, zero or one.
I began this blog post with why I believe you being angry for reading this post is a good thing. Now let me tell you why I want you angry for this post. The entire post, as you can see, has been an evaluation of discrimination in our society. The question I want you to ask yourself is – do you agree with it. Are you content to live with this discrimination. I do not mean to suggest that discrimination is a bad thing if you got that feeling from this post. It’s not necessarily bad. But like all things, if you do accept discrimination, you must accept the bad things with the good things. So, again, I’ll ask you: do you agree with our society having so many layers of discrimination? If not, how many layers of discrimination would you change? What is the foundation for your beliefs?