Thursday, June 12, 2008

Discrimination

The events of the past few days have really gotten me thinking a lot about discrimination.

I think discrimination in this country has become a practice in subtly. We have laws that protect against blatant discrimination, yet discrimination continues. In most cases, it is very subtle. (Not that there aren't obvious cases!)

Discrimination can occur based on race, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, health status, socioeconomic status... In my life, I have only been on the receiving end of discrimination a few times, an only recently have I felt discrimination as an adult.

As a child, when I would experience discrimination, I would never know how to react; I would be hurt, frustrated, angry, and question what I was doing wrong. As an adult, with a much more firm sense of myself, my heritage, my abilities, I still feel torn when I experience discrimination. I am never sure how to react. I feel that I might be unprepared to face discrimination that is directed at my child.

I will be honest: often, when I see or experience discrimination, I kind of feel like "What's the point? Speaking up is not going to change anything. Why bother?" But as I wrote before, this adoption journey (which has made me much more aware of discrimination in this country) has lit a fire in me to "be a part of the solution" so to speak. To be the person I want my daughters to be- to boldly, but respectfully and logically, approach these problems head on. Not to mention, Momma Bear will not be happy if someone is picking on my Baby Bear!

Personally, in my little community I see more religious/socioeconomic status discrimination than anything else. As a matter of fact, as a community that attracts a high rate of international MDs/PhDs (and beyond), many of the most educated and well-to-do persons in our community are "non-traditional;" they are people of color and from all different nationalities. And yet, I can see how even they are recipients of religious discrimination from some of the "home grown" nurses and ancillary staff.

I feel it is so important to have a respect for all people- if for no other reason than they were created by God. This can be hard to do at times- very hard, depending on the person:) But this is what I want to teach my daughters: all people are given value by God- it's what they do with it that matters.

Anyway, all this to say:
How do you deal with discrimination when you are on the receiving end?
What do you do when you see discrimination occurring against someone else?

1 comment:

Tanya said...

All I know to do is to speak up. Say it isn't acceptable. This usually shames the offenders...

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