Life Happens
Author: Braylee B

Chapter 11
The Power of Words

**** This was a paper I wrote on the Power of Words**** 

 

Discrimination


Discrimination is the prejudicial or distinguishing treatment of an individual based on their actual or perceived membership in a certain group or category, such as their age, ethnicity, gender/sex, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, skin color, or other characteristics.


Etymology

It was first used around 1640-1650. It is from the Latin discriminat- 'distinguished between', from the verb discriminare, from discrimen meaning 'distinction', and from the verb discernere.


Since the American Civil War the term "discrimination" evolved in American English as an understanding of prejudicial treatment of an individual based only on their race. Later on it was generalized as the membership in a certain socially undesirable group or category (gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc.).


Definitions


1. an act or instance of discriminating, or of making a distinction.

2. treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit: racial and religious intolerance and discrimination.

3. the power of making fine distinctions; discriminating judgment: She chose the colors with great discrimination.

4. Archaic. something that serves to differentiate.


The word discrimination can be misunderstood sometimes. People may think that it only has to do with the color of a person’s skin. But in reality, a person can be discriminated against for practically anything; their skin color, their sexual orientation, their gender, the color of their hair, their stereotype, their age, their ethnicity, and even their weight. The word itself  doesn’t hurt a person, the act of the word does. When a person discriminates against someone it is wrong. The fact that not all people are treated equal should be changed. Just because someone is Muslim or Arabic, doesn’t make them a terrorist.Just as if someone is blonde, doesn’t mean they are stupid. Discrimination happens in so many forms in everyday life.


In My Community


Today, there is still a lot of discrimination going on in my community. Everyday someone is being discriminated against because of their skin color, gender, age, or sexual orientation (See Articles on Discrimination). The biggest issue today is about sexual orientation or gay rights. Everyone deserves the right to get married, but under the law, if you are not in a man-women relationship, you are not granted the ability to marry the person you love. Many men and women take their cases to court so they can get married (Same Sex Marriage ) . People are also being denied jobs due to the fact that they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or even transgendered.


The Impact on My Family


The word discrimination is a big part of my family. Since me and my sister are both Bisexual, we have to deal with the word almost on a daily basis. Not only do we, me in particular, have to face our peers, and the people older than us telling us we are going to Hell because we don’t only love men, but for a few years I got it from my mother. Hearing her tell us we are not natural, that we will grow out of it, and that I’m not allowed to tell anyone who I really am, is one of the hardest things I have ever had to face. Knowing who I have been for my whole life, than having someone you love tell you you are a disgrace to the family ruins a person. She told the same thing to my sister who only realized who she was a few years ago, was a rough blow to my sister because she had always been the one my mom looked at as the “perfect” child. My mom has come to terms with the fact of me and my sister, but we will never forget that we had to deal with being discriminated against by someone so close to us. A pain like that isn’t forgotten easily.


Literature, Art, Media  


Today, we can find anti-discrimination works all over. Artists want to convey the message that discrimination is wrong and it should be abolished. Just how we got rid of segregation, we should get rid of discrimination for people who are gay, bisexual, female, male, 15 or 50 years old.

Picture Source


Not only art brings across the message about discrimination in this country. Musicians have turned the past into music for the world to know and love. Songs like Kenji by Fort Minor talk about how the Japanese were forced into internment camps after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Others artists talk sing or rap about the need for equality, like in the song War by Bob Marley. He talks about how the color of a person’s skin should matter as much as the color of their eyes, not at all.


Art and music may help bring across the messages of discrimination in an unusual way, but nothing can be more descriptive than a book. Books, such as "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett, explain the life of a black maid in the 1960’s trying to escape the prejudices of her time and town. The way it explains the discriminations she faced because of her race, helps paint a picture about what that feels like to a person who has never dealt with it first hand.

 

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