Why is it wrong to discriminate?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by superstring01, Nov 2, 2007.

  1. Klippymitch Thinker Registered Senior Member

    Everyone is a human being with feelings and they can't help the way they are born. Don't hurt another for something they have no control over.
    Also people instinctively fear discrimination. The human way of getting rid of fear is to destroy what is causing it.
    Discrimination leads to problems such as fights and wars.
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  3. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    There is an excellent book on Ostracism by Kip Williams.

    He has written on the power of ostracism and how it undermines the sense of self. He gives the example of a woman he interviewed who was ignored by her husband for forty years. He did not look at her or speak to her or eat with her at the same table. Over time, she came to believe that it was all her fault, that she was lucky he was giving her a roof over her head.

    Sending someone away is apparently less damaging than keeping them with you and ignoring them, a constant reminder to them of their worthlessness. Ostracism affects four fundamental human needs: belonging, control, self esteem and meaningful existence. According to Williams when people are hurt (ie their feelings) they immediately try to recoup this sense of loss; they search for a different group that provides meaning to their existence. It is their way of feeling in control of the situation. Repeated ostracism on the other hand, simply makes the person internalise the feelings of inferiority, the sense of loss becomes a part of the identity, and they become alienated, despondent and helpless.

    There are interesting differences between the genders too. Men are more likely to respond to ostracism with violence and ostracism, while women are more likely to keep the connection intact and maintain it in the hope of overcoming the ostracism.

    Discrimination, to me, is a form of a prolonged chronic ostracism, and its effects are probably more pronounced because the person discriminated against usually has no control over the quality for which he/she is discriminated against.

    The book
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  5. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    Animals cooperate only when too weak to fend for themselves?

    All higher animals and animals with complex social systems cooperate. The weak are the ones who are usually left to die, this is considered cost effective for them as they are limited in both capacity and ability to provide.

    As creatures one step higher along the evolutionary ladder, it is a sad statement on our collective lack of intelligence that, inspite of having both the capacity and ability to provide, we are more focused on feeding our greed than everybody's need.
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  7. greenberg until the end of the world Registered Senior Member

    You seem to think of discrimination as a very active behavior, directed against others, possibly including use of force and even violence.

    I see discrimination as more basic - in terms of one prefers to be with, and whom one prefers to avoid. Such as whom I choose to be friends with, and whom I reject. There is little or no use of force involved in that.
    So this way, I see no problem with discrimination.
  8. redarmy11 Registered Senior Member

    So that covers the social aspect, then. Choosing our friends.

    Do you think employers should be allowed to deny people employment for arbitrary reasons, rather than selecting the best people for the job?

    Clearly they will and do anyway. I just want to know whether you think the practice should have legal support.

    This is one of the problems with arbitrary discrimination, especially in the economic arena. It's inefficient.
  9. greenberg until the end of the world Registered Senior Member

    But they aren't really arbitrary.

    Being the best person for the job doesn't mean only that the person has the right skills, experience and education for the job. It includes also the consideration whether and how well a person will fit in with the already existing employees and company policy. Fitting in, the workers being compatible with each other, importantly impacts how well they work, how well the company will do.

    For example, it is an economically unwise decision to employ a declared atheist in a company where the majority are devout Christians, regardless how otherwise best for the job that atheist might be. It is predictable that there will be tensions between them, attempts to convert, mobbing - and all this will negatively affect the company's success.

    Whether this should have legal support? In my opinion, the situation should be clear enough to all involved to not have to be regulated by law.
    Of course it might sound outrageous to some if a company declared We only employ men or We only employ Christians. But declaring such is in the interest of the company and those already employed. And these interests necessarily take precedence over the interests of those seeking to be employed.

    If you want a job, you need to qualify, in every sense of the word.
  10. redarmy11 Registered Senior Member

    I can't speak for elsewhere but British law generally makes provision for such understandable exceptions (I'd guess it's the same across Europe and in the US, Canada, Australia, etc.). You don't really want men working in a shelter for battered wives. An all-female team is to be preferred.

    But the context is important. If a company's work is with the Church or otherwise directly concerned with the Christian faith, or they work with an exclusively Christian clientele, then a restriction on the religious affiliation of employees is understandable. But if the company sells washing machines to the general public they'll probably find no support in the law for religious discrimination. Quite the opposite - they may well find themselves in the dock.

    And disgruntled employees are no longer considered sufficient reason for discrimination on the basis of sexual, racial or religious grounds. The army fought for decades to keep gays out of it's ranks, always with the same old reason: "it'll upset the troops". Eventually it became clear that such objections would no longer be tolerated and they were forced to back down. No noticeable decline in their efficiency as a fighting force has been observed.
  11. Donnal Registered Member

    im not sure bout this but do u think discrimination is a way for a false feeling ....to hide themselves from pain and taking it out on others is a relief to them.....false feeling
  12. greenberg until the end of the world Registered Senior Member

    People do get fired on the grounds of not getting along with the rest of the employees, regardless how well their job performance might otherwise be.
    It's understandable that employers wish to avoid this in advance, as employee-turnovers are expensive.

    So the focus is not so much on religion, race, etc. as such, but on the not getting along (whatever the current p.c. term for that is). By law, this can be enough for at least some disciplinary sanctions against the employee.

    You ironizer!

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  13. maxg Registered Senior Member

    There is a difference between racism (what SAM is describing) and discrimination (what you are describing)--the problem with this thread (and in the real world at times as well) is that many people seem to assume that they mean the same thing.

    I wouldn't say discrimination is always OK but usually the consequences are not harmful. To go back to another thread, if a prostitute only wants to sleep with white guys or black guys she/he is discriminating based on a personal preference, but if a person or group finds a another person or group inherently inferior based on some arbitrary racial characteristics and decide they should be denied rights (including the right to work) as a result then you have racism.
  14. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    Which explains why cooperation has advanced civilisation.
    And you seek isolation in your intellectualism? I see a man who proposes intellectualism and individualism, and still needs other people just to be able to get food on his table.

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