Monday, October 27, 2008

Discrimination

Zoe, I was reading your racism post and I found it to be rather interesting, actually. I will respond to it in a bit but I began doing a little research (nothing big, just looking up some definitions) and I found this quote: "It especially annoys me when racists are accused of 'discrimination.' The ability to discriminate is a precious facility; by judging all members of one 'race' to be the same, the racist precisely shows himself incapable of discrimination." - Christopher Hitchens. I found this to be rather interesting as Mr. Hitchens is right in a sense; those who discriminate actually end up doing the complete opposite, by grouping entire races together, saying these people are all exactly the same, when personalities differ from person to person. What do you guys think? Is Mr. Hitchins correct in saying this? How do you justify your responses? What do you think about discrimination in general? Why do people discriminate?

6 comments:

Eric Yin-Yang said...

Hah, that's the quote you showed me in chem. I really like the play on words here, with discrimination meaning both directing prejudice against people unlike you and picking out how each individual is different. The first definition is just used more, so we automatically think that when we hear the word. Discrimination, in the good sense the Hitchens suggests, is a good thing because it helps us to perceive and be more aware of who we are surrounded by and who we would get along with best. On the other hand, the bad discrimination is obviously not something you want to try to do. People discriminate in the bad way because it is in human nature to form stereotypes as a form of self-defense. Much of the discrimination in our world is the projection of the inner turmoil of the discriminators upon the discriminated. I don't want to be a Freud, but I really do believe that the way we discriminate defines our fears more than our hate.

Ian Schmid said...

Im gonna go off of what Eric said about the plays on words, and I think its really interesting that he seperates racism and discrimination. Most of the time, we tend to group these words together, but he distinguishes between the two, saying that racism is blind discrimination, because the racist will group all members of an ethnic/relogious/nationalistic group, while the descriminator will pick certain poeple to discriminate against. I think that the real question that lies under Mr. Hitchens quote is, which is worse, a discriminatory person, or a rasist?

B. Wurz said...

I think Eric and Shellie definitely have a point with grouping racism and discrimination separately. But, I think we're missing the fact that discrimination is so broad that it can apply to anything. Such as peanuts and cashews. Or jalapeƱos and habaneros. And, Ian, please spellcheck your posts.

Alysia Dong said...

Can discrimination really be applied to all things? I don't think you can discriminate against everything. you can't discriminate against peanust and cashews because you can either dislike them or like them. Discrimination really applies to people socially. For example you discriminate people because of their religion or race.
I agree with eric in that discrimination defines our fears more than our hate and so does racisim. People are afraid of things that they can't or won't understand. They base their hate on the fear of the unknown because they are more comfortable with hate then fear, because fear is the unknown. However, back to the quote. In the quote Hitchens says that a racist judges all members of one 'race' the same, so he can not be capable of discrimination. I find this interesting in that basiclly he is stating that because discrimination is based on only one individual, than a racist who groups individuals together can not discriminate. However, in the definiations of discrimination, it states discrimination toward a person or a group. So if Hitchens says that people who are accused of discrimination base it on individuals not the overall all group of whatever they are discriminating the person. Basically, Hitchens is incorrect in his assumption that racist are not discriminiating others just because they group all individuals of a race into one group. Racists are basing their beliefs on an individual, so doesn't that mean they are discriminating against that individual?

griffin said...

This brings up a very interesting perspective. The act of racism "in a vacuum" would undoubtedly lead to what Mr. Hitchens claims: there is no discrimination because the race has been stereotyped in the first place. However, his reasoning falls apart when racism is acted on in the real world. You could not say that racists in the 1950's were not discriminatory towards blacks in the south. Segregation was a huge problem and undoubtedly caused by a communities racist stereotyping, and thus discrimination. In response to Ian's question, I would say a discriminatory person is worse than a racist. A person being racist does not necessarily mean that that persons racist beliefs will manifest themselves outside their own head. A discriminatory person is not only generally racist, but is also foisting their misguided beliefs onto others. This makes a racist belief into a racist action , which in the end has far more negative impact on society.

Ben White Chocolate Olsen said...

I really liked how Griffin described the difference between a racist and discriminatory person. I agree that a racist could possibly keep his recist thoughts inside his head and it's possible that his beliefs wouldn't be affecting anyone but himself but almost always a racist person is a discriminatory person but, as Griffin stated, a discriminatory person is worse or at least makes other people worse because they are letting their racism and discrimination show and may be acting upon their beliefs.