It’s 2013: Why Do We Still Discriminate?

Source: personal.psu.edu

Source: personal.psu.edu

Source: gcmin.org

Source: gcmin.org

Whether we are white, black, Hispanic, male, female, gay, straight, German, Korean, atheist, or Catholic, we all know of one of the most powerful and influential speeches in history: Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. For me, this is important because there are endless forms of discrimination, and 50 years after this beautiful speech, all forms of discrimination still exist. We have progressed since 1963, but discrimination still exists in our world. It always will. But in America especially: Why the hate?

We can disciminate based on almost anything: race, culture, gender, sexuality, religion. We are taught (hopefully) that discrimination is wrong, yet we STILL do it. Adults do it, children as young as five do it. Why do we continue to pay attention to how we are different and think negatively about those differences? 

To me, King’s speech was hopeful that these types of discrimination and hatred would be long over. Yet on a daily basis, even in America, hate and violence still happen today. Even smaller, less noticeable examples of discrimination against someone deemed “different” happen on a daily basis.

Readers, what do you think? Do we discriminate because there is something in our natural human nature? Is it simply natural for us to see differences? Or is it our environment? Maybe people in some places discriminate less than others. Are we taught to discriminate, or is it a part of being human to do so?

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6 thoughts on “It’s 2013: Why Do We Still Discriminate?

  1. In Australia, we have a lot of discrimination, which is interesting because we’re so multicultural. I’ve lived in the city, and not noticed it so much, but in the country, I find that discrimination, and especial racism is still very prevalent. There was a great example of it the other day, a girl born in Asia who has lived in Australia since she was 8 won the X Factor and people online were saying how she shouldn’t have won because she’s Asian.

    Stuff like that blows my mind.

    • That’s so sad for her! I’ve seen in the place I live, which is not a big city but is a bit more urban that nearby smaller towns, there is still so much discrimination. My town is growing in diversity, yet I’ve heard kids and adults alike say or act with prejudice. And people with differences in religion or politics seem to take those differences personally.

  2. I think distinguishing oneself from others is part of a human survival trait– the fittest survive. We are taught discrimination (based on useless but convenient things like race, skin etc) through our childhood and that marries into this trait. That’s when ugly things begin to happen. We need to start teaching our kids that all humans are special in their own ways and celebrate diversity instead of discrimination!

    • Well said! And I agree that we need to teach kids that diversity is a positive and wonderful thing, not something we need to look down on. I wonder too if it’s something that we think is part of survival. Some people see themselves as “superior” to someone “different.” We need to start celebrating diversity! 🙂

  3. Discrimination is more about ourselves than about the other. The easiest way to feel better about who we are is finding a way to put down another: “at least we’re not …” We discriminate for the same reason that we watch shows like American Idol or The Biggest Loser–it’s not about the good ones, at least not entirely; it’s about the bad ones who give us something to make fun of, to look down upon, to laugh at. Keeps us from having to examine ourselves too closely. Then there’s the “hate as love” bit, which is one of the reasons I don’t hold too high an opinion of Christianity lately: it teaches us that, as long as we’re doing it for a person’s “good,” it’s okay to push them out, marhginalize them, set them aside. To discriminate.

    • Those are good points. I agree that people may discriminate to make themselves feel better. We like to feel good about ourselves, and sometimes we think that putting others down will help our own self esteem.

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