Thursday, August 07, 2014

Discrimation.. Gender, Racial or otherwise

Very heavy and loaded topic.. One slip and I will be boycotted from this world.. But then again, these are my personal opinions - You can argue, discuss, comment. You have no right to Force me to change them. If I agree with you, I will rethink on my opinions. Still, it is my choice.

First thing is to define.. So here is the definition from Google. I dont care for the third one.. and I am not sure why the first one comes first and why not the second one. I think that is the problem. Instead of recognizing and understanding the difference, the prejudicial treatment of categories is being given more importance these days. Dont we see it everywhere ?

I will talk about Gender discrimination separately- that is much more pronounced and global phenomena. 

Take Racial Discrimination - Its the top news these days.. Two countries fighting over a piece of land to prove their race has more right over the land and the other is unjustly creating terror. Lot of sensationalised news is plastered on Social Media when any altercation happens between two different race/religion based people. If they were of the same race/religion, it wouldnt have been a news item (sounds like a item number, doesnt it ) Killings in various countries due to racial discrimination or hatred is a monthly news item. But then does it really exist ? I have seen it in subtle ways in Foreign countries, where the Cafe counter person smilingly takes the order from a previous and next person and stops smiling and becomes very professional when I stand in front of them. I have seen Property Agents who try to go by book when it is me and lax the policies for others who are of his own country/race/religion.  Thats why I say it subtle..Its not outright - its simply 'You are an outsider, you get completely professional treatment, I dont want to be friendly or helpful with you'. But is it only foreign countries ? It could happen in your neighbourhood. No offense meant: but walk in a Hindu area in a burkha- some people cross the road to be away from you. Vice versa, walk in a Muslim area with a large bindi - same thing happens. Or you get stared at -"Why is this person in this area"  You see it trains- I have seen it in Mumbai Locals.. either fought out or whispered or just through facial expressions of dislike towards each other.

Workplaces are supposed to be professional places. But If your Lead /Manager of your own religion/caste/area - you tend to get the vibes from other team members "Ahh Favoritism" even if you are a superior at your work any praising act done to you or scolding act done to your team members is looked through the same jaundiced, prejudiced eyes. Or it could go other way too.. The Lead/Manager my treat you poorly in spite of the quality of work, just to ensure nobody is tagging him for favoritism. I am not even getting into the Gender Discrimination area yet. The point is we are already prejudiced.. We have already decided that the race/religion/caste/creed are a Discriminating factor - Not in the sense of the Definition 2 but in the sense of Definition 1 .. and since we are prejudiced, we have also somewhere decided in our mind that My Race/Religion/Caste/Creed is superior than yours. This is where the root of the problem is..

The whole post started based on another type of discrimination. I read a post on Facebook about a well-educated Sr. Citizen trying to get a person sitting next to him to stand up only because he did not look sophisticated. That I believe is Class-based discrimination . Sort of the ones which when get out of the hand become something like the French Revolution. I am taking it to extremes.. But isnt it just similar ?

The one I want to mention is Skin colour. And this again is not country specific. In our own country, the lighter shades of brown feel superior than the darker shades.. the cosmetic companies make money happily based on this one by selling products that promise lightening your shade of brown for guys and girls alike. Dont believe in discrimination based on colour ? Try creating identical profile for Matrimonial for two guys ( forget girls) of the two shades and see the response. The discrimination is subtle but its there.. and the darker shades also possess an unnecessary and unhealthy inferiority complex over their shade.

Cant we just simply revert back to Definition 2. Recognize and Understand the difference ? Race, Religion, Caste, Creed, Class, Colour are a part of what we are. But then do we NEED to apply prejudicial treatment ? Cant we just take a person on face and behavioural value ? Do we need to typecast them? or do we need to make others feel inferior to feel superior ? That sounds more like Chatur from '3 Idiots' - Agar exam me top karna hai to khud acche marks lao ya dusron ke kam karo.. 
Cant we Simply treat the next person as another human being ? When I think back, I feel even I am not so clean.. there might have been occasions when I have discriminated amongst people .. I need to change my mindset as well.
Actually it is conditioning of mind that will take time to change.. but can we start one step at a time. One person at  time.. One barrier at a time.. It will be difficult, tedious but not so impossible.

Pls Note: My contexts are India based. So anything outside India is Foreign.(Putting it lightly duniya me ek hi des hai , baki sab to Pardes hai :) )

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