THE REPEATING NATURE OF DISCRIMINATION
By Edward Hu
Throughout the history of humanity, there has been discrimination. Despite the nature of prejudice it is seemingly borderless and is seen in all cultures regardless of geography.
In Egyptian times, Jews were famously slaves, African Americans have been robbed from their homes in masses and just a century ago women couldn’t even vote. Of course, the Jews to escaped, slavery was abolished in 1864 and women finally received suffrage in 1918 but has this solved the underlying problem?
Racism continues to occur, people are still judged based on their sexual orientation and beliefs provide disadvantages in the work environment. Why is it that women are paid less, and minorities receive more police abuse despite all that we’ve done in history to correct and demand change?
There seems to be a flood of new cases and variants of discrimination the second we flatten out one outbreak. Now that it is illegal to treat an individual differently based on their race, we have to combat the same issue but for identity, beliefs and sexual orientation. Discrimination could be likened to be the fabled hydra, each severed head results in three more.
Isn’t it time to focus on the roots of the problem rather than playing ‘smack-a-mole’ with each seemingly new issue that pops up?
Just as Hercules discovered that burning the stumps stopped the hydra, we must find a way to end discrimination once and for all. Education, news and social media have all had huge impacts on reducing discrimination. So what is it that these have in common? All three focus on gaining a larger perspective and understanding: the opposite of what prejudice is founded on.
The one major issue is: what if discrimination is part of what makes us human? Categorising people protected early man from danger. Distinguishing between threats and alliances increased chances of survival and hence if it was hard-wired it would have stayed as part of natural selection.
Others argue that human nature is only to identify differences and that the way we react is a learned choice. Our fear of the unknown leads us to make conclusions with incomplete information but why do we need to make these conclusions instead of actually learning and understanding what this unknown is?
Perhaps it is best not to be too pessimistic when it comes to fighting discrimination.
After all, 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage and has already seen the highlighted case of BBC closing the gender wage gap: six male presenters have agreed to take pay cuts. Additionally, if you’ve forgotten, same-sex marriage legislation has already been passed for 5 years now, a huge step in ending discrimination.