What is discrimination?

Discrimination is not merely dividing a group of people into sub-groups, but unfairly favoring one group over the other.

I’ve been very luckily because, until recently, I had never faced overt gender discrimination. My family revolves around women. My mom is the oldest of four accomplished sisters, my grandmother is the eldest, almost all my cousins are girls, and I’m the oldest of three. It wasn’t until I was discussing this class and the genderless children we read about with my boyfriend of 2 years, that I ran smack into a deeply troubling instance of gender bias. He stopped me mid-conversation and announced, not only that he would absolutely prefer a son as his first born, but also that he would be disappointed if his son was anything but a “man”. I was dumbfounded. This is the otherwise very “westernized” man that I love and see a future with.

Interestingly enough, his reaction reflects not only a gender bias, but also a culture clash; my boyfriend is not an American citizen, he’s South Korean. Korea, as we saw, maintains the largest pay gap between men and women in the world. Further exploration in this topic led me to Insook, Lim’s book Korean Immigrant Women’s Challenge to Gender Inequality at Home. She describes how “the high level of patriarchal tradition… constrain[s] women from challenging gender inequality at home” (33).  Despite his having been in America longer than Korea, my boyfriend unconsciously holds these values. That is how deep discrimination can run; it can seem hereditary. He might even simply be witnessing inequality around him, subconsciously wanting the best for his offspring, and translating that into wishing for a son. This seemingly benign tendency to want the best for one’s children explains how discrimination can persist through generations.


About nbsc128

I am a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania.
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One Response to What is discrimination?

  1. ashleyware19 says:

    The definition of discrimination is to treat someone differently because of race, religion, gender, age, disability, nationality, or sexual orientation. Discrimination is wrong. However, most people discriminate and are not even aware that they are doing so.

    My friend and I have had several heated debates involving gender issues, especially since my being in this class. The other night we were on the phone and we fell upon the topic of homosexuality. She was at her friend house and her little sister was there with her girlfriend. First, she said the reason for her going outside of the house was for a little privacy so that she could speak with me. However, in the same breath she makes a comment about her friend little sister being gay. With that, she states she has nothing against gay people. In my opinion, if it were not a problem it would have never been stated. She goes on to say that she would not let her daughter “act” like that. This started a massive discussion about the LGBT community. My friend who claims to feel no animosity towards gay people believe there should not be same sex marriage, transgender should identify themselves by their first sex, and they should not be any public displays of affection.

    Truth is, there are people who feel uncomfortable around homosexuals. However one cannot say they have “nothing ” against gay people, but their actions are screaming something completely different. Most times when people make negative comments surrounding the LGBT community, it only glorifies their ignorance. For example, Paris Hilton said “Ewww! Gay guys are the horniest people in the world. They’re disgusting. Dude, most of them probably have AIDS.” Hilton’s remark was benighted and potentially cost her the loss of some of her fans. I respect everyone’s sexual preferences. It is silly to be so concerned with the way someone wants to live HIS OR HER life. It is not anyone’s business, but the people involved. A person sexual orientation should not matter.

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