Sunday, 12 February 2012

Inverse discrimination

Inverse discrimination.
Is it a sin to be white? Is it wrong to have blue eyes? Is it against human value to train and be fit? A few days ago I was put again under a situation that left me thinking. As one of the editors for a journal in a particular science, it was time to select the pieces of writing that were going to be part of this year’s edition. When we realized, there were many proposals in regard different topics. However, one or two were topics not covered at all with the exception of one essay. This particular essay was not good either in terms of contents or formal aspects (e.g. grammar, quotes). To my surprise, the head of the journal proposed to include this writing in this year’s edition and omit other proposals –firstly selected due to their highest standards- because of the fact there were no other papers presented in that specific field. I understood this decision as inverse discrimination and didn’t accept the idea. In the end, the article isn’t going to be present in the next edition of the journal.
The above story is only one of the many examples I had to go through in the recent years. Because of regulations in UK, every time you apply for any position you have to complete and equal opportunities’ form stating your gender, age group, ethnic origin, religion and even sexual preference! Is it a plus then if I were a black lesbian girl with any disability?
Without sounding racist –that isn’t the intention at all- it feels that many people are left without chances just because nowadays they don’t belong to any minority. What before was racism, today is inverse discrimination.
If you’ve worked hard all your life and saved money to have a good car or a big house or expensive holidays, it seems you should share your standards of living with those who didn’t make it. And people in higher spheres support this way of thinking with theories of distributive justice –people that have millions of pounds, american dollars or euros or all of them- and are not willing to distribute their fortunes. To be clear: one thing is to help those in need that don’t have the opportunity to improve their relative position due to their personal circumstances (e.g. disability) or the place where they live (e.g. dictatorships) and another thing is not to push yourself further and intend others to do it for you! To this latter group, no distributive justice should be even considered. If you don’t work hard, why those who do it should make the effort for them?
In brief, if someone is better at something that someone should be in a better position when applying for a job, competing in any sport, applying for a scholarship or intending to publish an article. If they aren’t good enough, c’est la vi. However, to use any other excuse to jump the queue or to use other people’s effort is simply cheating. We’re all different and that’s how we grow, from these differences. Why should we all be the same? We’re free beings with the ability to think, to dream, to do. Don’t let anyone take you an opportunity because you’re white or black, straight or gay, part of a majority or a minority. If you’re better at something, you’re. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. There’s nothing to compensate. Because to be different is fine. However, it isn’t fine to use that difference in order to improve your relative position if that has nothing to do with the situation (i.e. I receive the scholarship even though my average is low in comparison to others only because I’m LatinAmerican).
To distribute justly one must be fair. In order to be fair, differences must be acknowledged and respected. Thus, these differences ought not to be considered in circumstances in which they don’t make any difference.

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