Sunday, May 15, 2005

Discriminating or Discriminated Against?

This comment was left in Patrick's Saturday Six -- Time to Mow the Lawn Edition a couple of entries ago:

Have you ever felt discriminated against?

hmm .. i wonder why we all feel like we have to say "yes" to this, versus, "of course!" ..

the first suggests that discrimination ought not to happen .. the second assumes that it is part of the human condition .. the first suggests that we have been victimized and "someone should pay" .. the second assumes a more participatory role in the whole discrimination process ..

discrimination is not something that is only done TO us .. it is something we all DO .. ha .. not so much fun to read or write though .. :(

Mrs. Linklater found the comment very thought provoking. So she decided to put her thinking cap on and try to sound intelligent.  Linear thought has never been her strong suit so you may come back to this entry and find it has changed over time.  Hopefully for the better.

When she listed the many discriminations against her, Mrs. Linklater didn't ever say "yes" or "of course" when she answered the question. Her examples made that obivous. She simply listed the discrimination she experienced.

However, she could have easily combined them, "Yes, of course!"

"Yes," because the discrmination happened and it was wrong, and "of course," because she is a member of group defined as female and discrimination against females was rampant during her childhood and much of her adulthood. And continues in a more covert way now.

However, she doesn't feel that by answering "yes" to feeling discriminated against that someone should pay.

She does feel that the discrimination was wrong and shouldn't happen to her or anyone.

But wanting retribution is an immature way to handle the anger and frustration that discrimination causes.  She does believe that change should and could take place and there are ways to make it happen. And change did happen, since much of what she experienced has been legislated out of existence.

Mrs. L also doesn't think that by answering "of course" that she is accepting the act of discrmination as part of the human condition, as something we all do.

Saying "of course" to whether she has ever felt discriminated against means that she acknowledges her membership in a group of people who have been singled out for negative treatment based on specious or spurious thinking. People who are considered unacceptable because of some unique and irrelevant trait -- one which is being used as an excuse to eliminate anyone with that trait from participation in a coveted activity.

She agrees that we all discriminate against other people.  But she also thinks that having discriminating taste isn't such a bad thing.  It's when we discrminate against other people because of their membership in a group, rather than on their individual merits, that we do a disservice to humanity.

The is the longest Mrs. Linklater has ever tried to make sense. Could some of you help her here?

What do you think?


swibirun said...

I think we're in the same ball park....kinda......maybe
See my answer to that question.

jevanslink said...

I think an affirmative answer to the question, Have you ever felt discrminated against? could be Yes or Of course.  I think they mean the same thing. The whole dicussion which has ensued is merely a question of semantics. Argument for argument's sake.  Mrs. L

suzypwr said...

I also grew up in a time when women were fighting to be treated more equally. I remember posters of Golda Meir, with the caption, "But can she type?" And it was all so true.

Of course, now we are all glad we learned to type....but we had to fight for the right to be equal, and the fight hasn't ended. Laws have been passed, women have excelled. But it will never be over, will it? There will always be a new group, or something. Someone is always on the bottom, fighting to get up.

I remember being told that I was taking up the spot in my university of a man who would have to support a family.


mombzbe said...

I think you have a point, Mrs L, but I have to say that although legislation exists to bring about change, it doesn't do anything but change things on paper.  It takes time, too, because regardless of what the law might say, changing attitudes takes longer, sometimes generations, before it's noticed.

artloner said...

I Love argument for argument's sake!