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Isn't it pretty?

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Discrimination

During our discussion in class last night the topic of discrimination came up. One of my classmates mentioned that someone had said that he didn't believe that someone who is black can be racist, because racism is typically targeted at black people. My classmate, who is black herself, said she didn't agree with that idea, and I don't think I do either. Another classmate, who happens to be gay, said she gets upset when gay friends of hers are racist. She said that she doesn't understand how someone who is part of a group that is commonly discriminated against can legitimately discriminate against another group. Because someone understands what it is like to be discriminated against, they should have empathy for other groups who are commonly singled out, and should fight against discrimination for all groups. It made me think about being Jewish, and a target of Anti-Semitism. I am very lucky, and have rarely been confronted with discrimination because of my religion. Typically, I am simply met with innocent ignorance, and a lot of honest questions. Though there have been a couple occasions where the questions or comments came with more malice than curiosity. I know I am lucky for my lack of negative experiences; growing up Jewish in the South, and the only Jew in my school, was not always easy, but I can not complain about experiencing rampant Anti-Semitic behavior. While being a part of a minority group has given me a sensitivity about discrimination, and in a lot of ways I think it has helped me develop a distaste for stereotyping other groups, I don't know if my sensitivity is high enough. I don't know if I feel real empathy towards other minorities. And I don't know if I personally battle the discrimination that I see towards others as much as I should. I don't like it when I see it, but I don't know if I actively pursue an end to it. I guess the question is, should I feel a personal responsibility towards battling discrimination against groups other than my own? I think the answer is yes, because I believe that if you accept discrimination against any minority, it then makes it much easier to justify any discrimination. Do I need to get personally and actively involved in ensuring that discrimination does not take place anywhere? I think that would be an impossible task that I am not prepared to deal with. However, I think I need to be prepared to speak up against the discrimination that I personally see each day and I think I need to set an example of not discriminating against others. I think that is the least I can do to fight the justification that many could lobby to discriminate against me.

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