Saturday 19 October 2013

Inequality or Discrimination - Which is the bigger evil?

My wife's working on a project to get people to acknowledge existence of inequalities. I am not even sure if acknowledgement is just the first step of this project or if that is the complete objective. While discussing certain potential ideas, we covered various inequalities that are obvious parts of our lives - gender, income, social, colour and then few that would be sub-sets of these.

Sometime around mid-90s, when I was a just teenager, dad and I were driving past a slum and dad asked me how I felt when I saw people living in slum area - kids who had no comforts compared to what I had. My instantaneous reaction was a bit arrogant, probably, and I said - "I don't care looking at people who have less, I focus on people who have more". My thoughts haven't changed much on this issue - just that I now know how privileged I have been and continue to be.

Another inequality is of gender - men & women are different. I think there is a definite natural rule in creating this difference - women can give can't! Nature has given men & women different strengths, thus at a basic level - we shouldn't begin to say that all are equal. Neither are all equal, nor are all supposed to be equal!

For me inequalities are quite natural, it is the way things are supposed to be. It exists in humans, flora & fauna, food items - inequality is a way to let this world function. The way to look at this is - if there were no carnivorous animals, there won't be any grass available.

Acknowledging inequalities is nothing more than accepting truths of our environment - something as basic as human's need for oxygen to survive. Nature / God / some power beyond human understanding (yet) - decided this is how humans will be - they will need oxygen, they will have different capabilities, different colours...they will be different...they will not be equal

The issue is not of inequalities - but of discrimination. People won't have a problem if skin colour, physical ability or gender were not considered important, when these factors aren't important. Inequality will then be nothing more than a difference in taste - I like Indian beer and my wife prefers German beer!

Discrimination on any basis is unjustifiable - but that has become our second nature. These days are about reverse discrimination - certain groups that were discriminated against - have now been provided special rights in the effect discriminating against people of other groups.

Until and unless our society, in general, doesn't accept inequalities as nature's way and reduce discriminating ways of functioning -  merely acknowledging existence of inequalities won't make people take notice of injustice in their own actions. Thus - it won't have any reaction and there won't be any corrective thought-process.

No comments: