On Prejudice and Discrimination.

Hello, dear readers, I’m back from a considerably long hiatus after weathering through the initial workload barrage during the first few days of school. It has been 2 long weeks, and the National Public Speaking Competition is just around the corner on the 3rd of August. That’s only three weeks to go, and I’m starting to get scared already.

Let’s get back on topic, onto Prejudice and Discrimination. For these 2 weeks, this has been the theme for our Language Arts lessons, I too, have realised that content from Language Arts are excellent idea and blogging fodder. Ok, seriously, back on topic.

Before we delve any deeper into the issue, let’s look at what prejudice and discrimination actually are. Are they the same? Can they be used interchangeably? I don’t think so. Fundamentally, prejudice is what you think, and discrimination is what you do. Prejudice is the idea, the unverified and unjustified views of a certain group of people, even though those views you have against them might not be true. Discrimination, is the preferential or derogatory treatment towards a certain group of people.Talking about these topics make me feel like going in depth to eugenics, to creating an entire ‘superior’ breed of humans through selective breeding. Wait…creating a batch of genetically superior humans? Sounds familiar, sounds like a sci-fi movie. Evidence suggests that Hitler had a eugenics programme in the days of World War 2.

From Hitler, we all know about the Holocaust and the great plan to exterminate and wipe the Jews from the face of the earth. We all know about Auschwitz-Birkenau being the epitome of industrialised killing in the late 1930s and early 1940s. That’s discrimination at it’s most extreme. Genocide. The deliberate slaughter of a large group of people, especially those of a particular nation or ethnic group. Discrimination in action.

But how, how does discrimination come about? We do know that it starts with people having preconceived notions and ideas of a particular group. For example, that they are smelly, dirty and uncivilised. These notions can stem from previous experiences, or from the community, as people tend to be receptive towards their families and peers. After which, this will lead to stereotyping, where a person believes that a certain group of people must have similar or identical characteristics. An example would be the stereotypical chef. The chef has been portrayed by media and culture as friendly, passionate about food, and with a huge waistline.

With these preconceived notions and stereotypical images in mind, people start to develop their own opinions of these people based on what they have seen or heard. These opinions may either be positive or negative. And that is prejudice. Due to these feelings, notions and opinions, our behaviour towards such people is influenced by them. We feel the urge to treat them differently. We feel the need to give or take away. This, is when it escalates into discrimination. What an ugly word, this discrimination. It is relevant today. It is still practised all around the world, with people suffering under its iron grip. This phenomenon called discrimination should be social stigma, but it isn’t.

We should not discriminate against or for others based on superficial differences such as skin colour and race. These differences do not run deep. The only thing that stands in the way of our integration is not the colour of our skin, but the human mind itself. Sometimes, we all can’t help but feel the urge to discriminate. Then again, our human limitations should not encumber us but compel us to build a world where people are judged based on the ability of their hands. To fight for a world where people are seen for the trueness of their hearts, and not just merely by the colour of their skin. 

Until then, for the black man, there is only one destiny. And it is white.


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