A complete overview of the social evil of discrimination
The Holy Bible says that there is no distinction between Jews or Greek, between slaves and those free, and between males and females. It says that all human beings are one in Jesus Christ. But discrimination between human beings is as traditional as human existence and it has always been a social evil common to all nations. Even the most empowered nations of the world like the US or UK are not free of social or economic discrimination. The grim reality is that in every human civilization the virtues of superiority and inferiority exist hence giving rise to discriminatory behaviors. Besides, even if equality is one of the most trending social ideas of the 21st century, the road to eradicate all forms of discrimination seems very long. This essay puts forth a detailed analysis of the social evil of discrimination across the various aspects of human life. Further, it also highlights some significant stats, types, causes, and remedies related to various types of discrimination prevalent globally.
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What is discrimination?
In uncomplicated terms, discrimination is the unjust act of making distinctions between human beings. These differences may be on the basis of gender, ethnicity, caste, age, creed, financial stature, personal choices, or professions. Further, discrimination may also exist in people on the basis of sexual orientation. To substantiate, discrimination occurs when one person or group is made to feel inferior in contrast to other social or economic groups. It is an unholy notion for the simple reason that it deprives individuals or groups of people of their basic right to be treated with equality. Although to be treated with identical dignity is the basic human right of every individual, various forms of differential treatments threaten this virtue.
To continue, usually, such discriminatory behaviors that identify a section of humans as being worse to others originate from prejudice or stereotypes. For instance, the reason why Black Americans witness differential treatment in the US is the prejudiced mindsets of the whites. The whites take utter pride in the color of their skin and believe that they are the actual natives of the US. Such discrimination is inspired by the racial prejudice that the US has not been able to completely eradicate to date despite all other forms of modernization. To add, discrimination against women is still an ongoing phenomenon despite a wide spectrum of social revolutions aimed at winning the right place for women in society. Even the strongest currents of the feminist movement have not been able to entirely dethrone the orthodox gender discrimination that has existed for centuries. This shows that there has always been a deficit in the human efforts and awareness that was needed to sweep out all disciplines of inequality. Multidimensional bigotry in humans is a deep-rooted problem and has only disadvantages to offer. The next section underlines some trivial stats on discrimination to support the argument.
Facts and figures on differential treatment among humans
There are abundant statistics to highlight the widespread prevalence of multiple forms of discrimination. Talking about gender bias, women account for around two-thirds of the global illiterate population as per UN Women. Besides, even less than 40% of girls in rural areas around the globe attend school. Also, around 60 percent of the world’s population that is chronically exposed to hunger is constituted by women. In fact, in Tanzania, females work for 14 additional hours per week in contrast to men. These are only a few stats that show only a small part of the problem. Discrimination against women in education, employment, and representation is a dreadful global challenge underlining the misery of women. ("Facts & Figures", 2020)
Moving forward, according to Amnesty International, more than 70 nations criminalize sexual acts involving adults of the same sex. Besides, as many as 10 nations have laws against homosexuality that cite the death sentence as the maximum punishment for it. This shows that a large part of the world still holds discriminatory views against lesbians, gays, and transgenders. Furthermore, talking about racial abuse in the US, black Americans are far more likely to be arrested than white Americans. Not only this but they are more vulnerable to being convicted and being rewarded longer prison sentences. To support this, as per a survey in 2018, more than 88 percent of police stops in New York involved Black and Latinx people. This percentage was only 10 percent for white Americans. ("11 Facts About Racial Discrimination", 2020) Another study hints that resumes of people with traditional white American names are twice as likely to receive reverts for jobs than those of Black Americans. So, it is evident that the criminal justice system as well as employment scenarios in the US are pretty consistent with racial discrimination. ("What drives discrimination and how do we stop it?", 2020)
More Statistics on Discrimination
- Women account for more than two-thirds of the global illiterate population that stands at 796 million. This speaks for the discrimination that women face in terms of educational opportunities.
- According to the World Food Program Gender Policy and Strategy, around 60 percent of the chronically hungry people all over the world are women and young girls.
- Across the world, more than 12 million girls are married before the age of 18. To break it down, one girl becomes a child bride every two seconds. In many parts of the world, the stereotype that a woman’s responsibility is only to get married and start a family still holds true.
- According to the Women, Business and the Law Report of the World Bank, only 6 nations out of 187 have equal legal work rights to their male counterparts. This means that around 181 nations still do not safeguard equal work opportunities for women. ("7 surprising and outrageous stats about gender inequality", 2020)
- Talking about discrimination faced by LGBTQ people, there are more than 8 million LGBT workers above the age of 16 who live in the US. Out of these, 3.9 million LGBT workers live in states that do not have legal provisions that forbid discrimination against them at the workplace. (thisisloyal.com, 2020)
Moving ahead, in the following section, there is a classification of discrimination based on various social, political, and economic factors. This categorization aims to put forth a wider understanding of discrimination and its multiple facades. Besides, this classification can enable others to identify more forms of discrimination in addition to the common ones that are usually known to everyone.
Types of discrimination in society
1. Gender Discrimination
The above-mentioned stats create a clear picture of how badly the human civilizations around the world are affected by discrimination on the basis of gender. Usually, people only understand this discrimination as being against women but in its true sense, it also covers discrimination against transgenders. Also, in some cases, it may also include differential treatment done against men. In most countries, there is a large disparity in the social, economic, and political fronts between men and women. To add, women are majorly at the receiving end of violence, abuse, exploitation, and sexual harassment. Discrimination against them is based on the stereotype that they are weaker or inferior to men. Women are often underrepresented in parliaments, local political bodies, workplaces, and per capita income. Furthermore, there is widespread bias and prejudice against transgenders in most nations and they have to struggle hard to attain equal dignity and opportunities. Even amid drastically changing gender roles in the contemporary world, gender discrimination is actively prevalent. To cite an example of discrimination against women, the percentages of women parliamentarians in the United Kingdom and the US are only 34 percent and 23 percent respectively. This percentage stumbles further below In Japan which has only 10 percent of women representatives in parliament. ("Proportion of seats held by women in national parliaments (%) | Data", 2020)
2. Racial Discrimination
The very recent ‘Black Lives Matter’ social movement calls out extensive ethnic discrimination in western countries like the US and Canada. Black people face disrespect, lack of equal opportunities, racial abuse, and other types of inequalities. In the US, this inequality against Black Americans reflects extensively in the criminal justice system, workforces, wages, and other social structures. A significant section of this ethnicity reports racism and discrimination in schools, colleges, or offices. Not only are Black people treated with inequality but are also far more likely to face violence than white Americans. To illustrate, the Apartheid System In South Africa was a state policy that segregated people on the basis of their race. It was a legislative provision that extensively discriminated against non-whites in South Africa.
3. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation
Bias against the LGBTQI community is also another omnipresent facade of discrimination. Gays and Lesbians in almost all nations witness extensive abuse, harassment, and social boycott. As mentioned earlier, there are barbaric laws in many nations that prohibit sexual acts between people of the same sex. Western countries still show acceptance for the members of this community but Asian and Islamic countries portray complete intolerance towards them. These nations have highly negative and biased views on gay marriages and homosexuality. This discrimination stalls the social progress of the world and inflicts molestation on people of this community. Discrimination against the LGBT community poses a threat to their social integration and economic prosperity. In fact, discrimination against the members of this community at the workplace is a common phenomenon. A basic example of such discrimination can be witnessed in growth opportunities in the workplace. People with straight sexual orientation are more likely to be preferred to gays or lesbians for promotions purely on the basis of sexual orientation. So, even if a gay employee is highly talented, engaged, and deserves a promotion, he may miss out on it if his bosses discriminate against the LGBTQI community.
Xenophobia is defined as the feeling of hatred for non-nationals or foreigners. This is a common phenomenon that instigates people to discriminate against refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants from other nations. This is based on the notion of superiority and ethnic dominance. For instance, an immigrant from Bangladesh is likely to face unequal treatment when he moves to Australia to settle down. Native citizens of Australia may see him as non-national and a threat to their culture. In fact, the incidents of hate crimes provoked by xenophobia are quite common even in this globalized world. For instance, incidents of discrimination against Mexican immigrants are very common in the United States.
5. Discrimination against the disabled
Some People are unfortunate to have certain physical, intellectual, or psychological disabilities. But contrary to the idea of showing empathy to them, people often treat them with discrimination. Disabled people often become victims of sexual abuse, bullying, inequality, and hatred. Besides, people with disabilities are more vulnerable to forced marriages, rapes, or other acts of violence. For example, a teacher being less considerate about the academic progress of a student with learning disabilities is an act of discrimination against disability.
Other common forms of discrimination include
- Discrimination on the basis of religion
- Discrimination on the basis of cultures
- Discrimination on the basis of profession
- Discrimination on the basis of the financial class
- Discrimination on the basis of caste
- Discrimination on the basis of personal choices
- Discrimination against victims of abuse
- Discrimination on the grounds of age
- Discrimination against mental illness
- Discrimination against convicted criminals
So, it is quite observable now that there are numerous kinds of discrimination that exist in the world. Despite the positive effects of globalization and emancipated lifestyles, these dimensions of bias are still thriving. Now before moving to the remedies to eradicate discrimination, it is imperative to decipher the various causes behind prejudice driven behaviors in people.
Causes of discrimination
The implications and causes of discrimination can be subjective and vary from person to person. There are different kinds of causes that provoke different forms of discriminatory behaviors. Talking about bias against women, patriarchy, and misogyny are the major reasons for it. Traditionally, civilizations have put men at a higher pedestal than women and have tried to establish that women are inferior or not as capable as men. This orthodox thought process about gender roles makes room for discrimination. Secondly, racial abuse emerges out of stereotypes or beliefs based on the color of skin. Whites have always associated superiority with their skin color and have linked disgust to African-Americans. Such mindsets and growing up in families that discriminate against people on the basis of skin color is a major cause of this bias.
To add, discrimination can also sometimes be inspired by various laws and policies of the government. For instance, in countries that prohibit homosexuality, the social stigma against homosexuals arises from the legal structure itself. When the law criminalizes such acts, it puts members of the LGBTQI community in a bad light presenting them as criminals. Therefore, at times prejudices originate from the policy structure of a nation. Other reasons for discrimination include negative attitudes, the influence of the media or politicians, conservative thinking, illiteracy, and a feeling of financial well-being. Usually, people who are financially prosperous look down upon others who lack the basic amenities and good purchasing capacity. The upcoming segment illustrates the various solutions that can be undertaken by humans collectively to mitigate the umpteen kinds of discrimination.
Impact of discrimination
No one on this planet is ever going to appreciate any act of discrimination against them. Discrimination is an unholy practice that segregates people for no real reason. Henceforth, discrimination, and its prevalence in society only have demerits to offer. It is often seen that victims of prolonged bias face devastating impacts on their mental health and at times even physical health. To substantiate, there are various psychological impacts that victims of discrimination face. Further, these psychological impacts can even shape into chronic stress and depression if the issue is not addressed on time. In fact, depressive disorder is the most common mental health problem faced by people in the contemporary world. Besides, a considerable proportion of depressing disorders can be linked to prolonged discrimination or multiple instances of depression faced by an individual. It is noteworthy that as per the World Health Organization, globally more than 260 million people across all age groups suffer from depression. The WHO further suggests that people subjected to traumatic occurrences in life are more prone to mental disorders or depression. ("Depression", 2020). Therefore, there is some correlation between discrimination and depression as instances of bias can be traumatic and agonizing for victims. When discrimination turns into a psychological stressor and is not resolved, depression can be a direct outcome.
Probing ahead, discrimination can also have negative economic and social effects on the life of an individual vulnerable to it. It is common to see that vulnerable sections of society including women and the disabled are restricted jobs of their choice because of the bias against them. Furthermore, they are excluded from leadership roles, do not receive parity with their peers with respect to remuneration, or do not get enough opportunities for growth. Moreover, in developing and underdeveloped nations, these marginalized groups are only restricted to a handful of economic activities. In such a scenario, these people are exposed to poor economic conditions which further puts their physical health and sense of wellbeing at risk. Next, people who face discrimination are also subjected to social isolation as they receive disrespect and abuse from others. Such social isolation can further put them at an increased risk of depression, developing aggressive behaviors, or picking up suicidal tendencies. Also, it can trigger in human beings a sense of self-hatred, self-curse, and can devastate their confidence to face society.
One important thing to note here is that it is not a good idea to generalize the impacts of discrimination. Different marginalized groups in society or in the demographics of a given nation have their own challenges and hence the effects of discrimination are going to vary accordingly. For instance, the kind of social and economic exclusion faced by women will not be the same as that witnessed by a gay or lesbian. Henceforth, the actual impacts are going to wary from group to group or person to person. Broadly these impacts can be classified into psychological, economic, and social consequences however the further classification is going to be different for everyone on the basis of unique experiences. Now, let us look at the ways in which the world can collectively put an end to the sinful acts of discrimination.
Powerful solutions to end discrimination
Modern problems require modern solutions and though discrimination is an age-old social evil, the key to mitigating it lies in changing the outlook. The world has come a long way to defeat some of the most devastating social prejudices that have existed for a long time. The magnitude of discrimination today is far less than what it used to be at the onset of the 21st century. With more awareness, literacy, and now the power of social media, people have been able to identify and call out the various discriminatory practices. But the work is only half done and there is still a long way to go in the pursuit of leaving behind a world of inequalities to create a place inclusive for all. The effort needs to be made at all levels as this issue calls for a firm collective response. Humans are meant to coexist with each other and not to stand against each other divided by prejudices. So, the following are some strong measures that can be taken to overcome this peculiar problem.
1. Identification and eradication of discriminatory parameters
The first step towards effectively mitigating instances of discrimination is to recognize the various barriers which exist in civil societies and promote bias. Ideally, the absence of discrimination should mean that every individual should have equal access to employment, economic prosperity, housing, dignity, healthcare, and education services. So to put a systematic end to discriminatory practices, barriers that stop individuals from this identical access to a good and respectful life should be called out. Furthermore, these parameters that trigger discrimination should be addressed with legal policies, awareness, and collective response.
2. Collection of data
Once the barriers are identified, there needs to be a systematic collection of data to relate patterns of discrimination. This data gathered through surveys, interviews, and so on is going to present a clear picture of the magnitude of problems at hand and hence help in determining a solid response. This data can be of great help to the government and organizations to understand, analyze, review, and act on the barriers that exclude certain sections of society from fair treatment.
3. Scrutinization of workplace policies
Workplace discrimination is a very common form of discrimination that has become a harsh reality in the booming corporate culture. Employers should have stringent policies to end all forms of differences in the workplace and give all employees a sense of security. This sense of security should be irrespective of gender, ethnicity, skin color, sexual orientation, or any other difference. Workplace policies should be such that workers should be identified on the basis of their talent and potential rather than anything else that is irrelevant to their work efficiency.
4. Education and tutoring
There is no such global challenge that cannot be addressed with education, awareness, and training. It is the need of the hour to inculcate mental health awareness and human rights in the curriculum of schools and colleges. It is vital that students learn about the positive effects of globalization, human rights, and the peripherals of mental health so that they grow up as responsible citizens, employers, colleagues, and leaders. So, not only children but people, in general, should be tutored and trained to believe in the principles of equality, fairness, and support for others. Moreover, business organizations can include such virtues in the workplace through training and leadership examples.
5. Nullification of barbaric laws
It is high time that some conservative nations put an end to discriminatory laws that threaten the liberty of life. It is crucial for the upliftment of women, gays, lesbians, transgenders, and other marginalized sections that governments are more open-minded in their policies. Thus, prohibitory laws that take away opportunities for growth and happiness from people should be abolished. The legal acceptance and protection of vulnerable groups are important for their social recognition and integration. To cite an example, very recently Argentina became the fourth country in Latin America to pass a law that legitimates adoption. It comes as landmark legislation in the context of empowering women so that they have better access to fair treatment and healthcare. Women in Argentina had been demanding this legal provision for decades and the new law had inspired new hope and elation among women in Argentina.
6. Social media campaigns
In the contemporary world, social media has become a powerful tool to run revolutions. Thus, governments or social rights activists can run various awareness campaigns on social media to exploit the advantages of social media in a fruitful manner. To cite an example, the ‘#MeToo’ campaign has been able to bring positive changes in society and has supported women to report harassment against them. Social media can also be a strong instrument of change in breaking stigmas around mental health or menstrual health on the basis of which people face harassment.
Sample Essay on Discrimination
This section contains a sample essay on discrimination against women hence exhibiting the social, economic, and psychological impacts of the same on their life. This essay can serve as a helpful write-up for you to get a fair idea of an ideal essay on discrimination or equality. Also, for your essays and other academic writings, you can reach out to our Assignment Help portal. Besides, to learn more about the effective way to write essays for your assignments, you can go through our Sample Essays that cover a myriad of significant topics.
Sample Essay - Impacts women face because of gender discrimination
Women account for a little over 49 percent of the global population as per the projections of the World Bank for the year 2019. It would not be wrong to say that women represent an almost identical proportion of the world population to men. Hence, ideally, there should be parity between men and women in all spheres of life and women should be treated with equality in the absence of any bias. However, it is unfortunate that the ground reality is far from this idealism, and women across the world face discrimination, abuse, and violence on a daily basis. Women are subjected to gender discrimination in multifarious forms and mannerisms hence exposing them to the heinous impacts of discrimination. Be it at home, at the workplace, or in the social structure of demography, women face widespread bias, and these stereotypes aim to exclude them from the entitlement to equality. In fact, around 42 percent of employed women in the United States have reported discrimination at the workplace on the basis of gender. ("42% of US working women have faced gender discrimination on the job", 2020) So, there exists a massive gender gap in the world even when there is a strong feminist current taking over the world. The world may have gained a little on gender neutrality but the World Economic Forum suggests that even with the present trends, it is going to take about 108 years to achieve gender parity. This indicates that women are going to be victims of discrimination and its impacts for a few more decades at least. This essay sheds light on the various psychological, economic, and social impacts of discrimination faced by women.
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To begin with, there are various psychological effects that women are exposed to because of gender bias. The construct of gender inequality can sometimes have a direct coherence with mental disorders such as depression, phobias, and anxiety disorders. To substantiate, women suffering from depression outnumber men suffering from mental health disorders. In fact, women affected by depression are twofold more than men impacted by the same mental disorder. This assertion is based on The Lancet’s Journal on the impact of gender discrimination on the mental health of women. Moreover, the acts of discrimination against women many times also turn violent. It is perceived by civil societies that women are not as powerful as men and can hence be outpowered easily. Such perception of gender inequality leads to instances of harassment, domestic violence, sexual abuse, and rapes. Needless to say, such experiences born out of gender discrimination are traumatic and can push the victim into the trap of chronic mental disorders. As per estimates of the World Health Organization, one in three women across the globe has faced physical or sexual abuse. This includes violence perpetrated by an intimate partner as well as non-partner violence. ("Violence against women", 2020) Trauma is a direct consequence of violence and in this way, gender inequality puts women at increased risk of depression which can lead to suicidal tendencies in the worst-case scenario. Furthermore, when women face inequality consistently, it can also scar their self-esteem and confidence. In such cases, they become apprehensive about little things, are influenced by a lot of negativity in their minds which further leads to more forms of psychological disorders.
To continue, women also bear the economic impacts of gender bias in various forms. In many countries, women are not free to choose their own path to economic prosperity. Besides, even if women are able to choose their desired careers, they face widespread discrimination in the workplace. This discrimination in the office can span into various forms of inequality wherein women do not get the same opportunities or pay as their male counterparts. There is a gender pay gap that exists in the economies of most nations such that women are paid fewer wages than men for the same work. Talking about the gender pay gap in the United States, for every dollar that men earn, their women colleagues at the same positions only make 0.80 USD. ("US Gender Pay Gap: Where Do We Stand in 2020? | Business.org", 2020) This is a clear indication of how women receive lesser remunerations and chances to grow in the organization owing to gender discrimination. In some countries, this inequality in wages is even greater and women have to survive under deplorable economic conditions. To cite an example, Korea has one of the largest gender pay gaps in the world. In Korea, women only earn around 65.4 % of what Korean men earn. ("12 countries where men earn significantly more than women", 2020) Therefore, multiple forms of gender bias restrict the economic growth of women and sometimes push them into poverty. To add, with little economic prosperity, women cannot afford good healthcare facilities and other means of sustaining a comfortable life.
Consequently, women have to face the social effects of gender inequality as well. One very common example of this is that women do not receive equal dignity or respect in society as men do. In developing and underdeveloped nations, it is still perceived that women should only look after the family and give birth to children. This causes a wide gap in the social reputation, liberty, and empowerment of men and women. Furthermore, because of such social stigmas, women in some nations are still denied the opportunity to attain education. They are constantly made to believe that they are not equal to men and their ambitions are often discouraged on this pretext. Besides, patriarchal society restricts women from making important decisions related to their lives. In fact, men or society often narrate terms to women as they are not considered to be capable of making choices. In many cases, women are also deprived of justice because of the discriminatory practices inculcated in societies. To continue, women are expected to follow a set of predefined gender norms for coexisting with men and they may face abuse if they venture out of these set rules. Moreover, the other social impacts of gender discrimination can be wide-ranging and they are mostly going to depend on a given situation and vary accordingly.
To conclude, despite the drastic overhaul of modernization that the world is witnessing, tangible gender discrimination still persists in even the most advanced nations. Besides, as trends suggest, it is still going to take a few decades at least for the gender gap to become negligible. Because of this gender inequality that the world needs to address with a more proactive approach, women have to face many consequences. They are denied comprehensive economic and social inclusion on the lines of gender. Moreover, owing to the harassment and exclusion faced by them, they are highly vulnerable to mental health disorders and even other health issues like HIV AIDS. All these impacts in most cases are interlinked to each other. It is time that the world shows a sense of urgency to close the unfortunate gender gap.
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To encapsulate, discrimination leads to unequal and unfair treatment against individuals or groups. People who hold biases and prejudices believe that others are worse or inferior to them. Besides, discrimination can prevail on grounds of religion, gender, caste, class, disabilities, mental health, and sexual preferences. All such differences give rise to anti-social activities and sometimes even hate crimes. Most acts of discrimination arise either out of patriarchy, negative thoughts, the influence of the media or surroundings, and violent tendencies. However, with education, awareness, and tweaking the legal system, the evil of discrimination can be busted. The world is going to seem a far better place sans discrimination on various lines. To add, the idea of humanity is best expressed in terms of peace, coexistence, and equality. This planet may seem no less than a paradise if discriminations cease to exist.
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