What is discrimination?

According to the Oxford dictionary, discrimination is defined as “The unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex” (1). While the authorities and a portion of the population seem to fight against it, the discriminatory actions in our daily and professional lives are extremely prevalent. As Simone de Beauvoir puts it “…it is doubtlessly impossible to approach any human problem with a mind free from bias” (2). That being said, discrimination is something that has its roots in interpersonal interactions and everyone, even though unintentionally, discriminates others who are different, both positively and negatively. So we cannot help but being biased in everything due to our different mindsets and experiences. Also, discrimination happens in many different levels, age, race, sex, origin, religion, social class and many more.

Discrimination does not necessarily happen when in confrontation, and yet while people are on the same side, discrimination can innately be going on. The situation in the feminist activist group in Bell Hooks’ article can be seen as an example (3). While women were united for a cause, to empower women and eliminate discrimination, they were also discriminating each other, creating this hierarchy of white women over black women and marginalizing some groups of women. The mentioned situation is very ironic, thus it reflects the reality of discrimination being prevalent everywhere.

Finally, the concept of gender and sex stimulates discrimination by the hierarchy and dichotomy that they create. So, we as the feminists should not let any other way of discrimination to come into our way and unite under the identity of being women, which includes lesbians, trans women etc.

(1) http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/discrimination

(2)McCann, Carole R., and Seung-Kyung Kim. “The Second Sex.” Feminist Theory Reader: Local and Global Perspectives. New York: Routledge, 2003. N. pag. Print.

(3) Hooks, Bell. “Sisterhood: Political Solidarity Between Women.” JSTOR. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Dec. 2010.


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