Today is “Holocaust Memorial Day”. This got me thinking about how people can get into serious legal trouble in certain countries if they announce themselves to be a “Holocaust Denier” – yet nobody seems to get into trouble if they deny the existence of one of the first stages of it.
Discrimination is all around us – you can be discriminated against on all sorts of grounds. Some of the grounds for Discrimination are actually illegal but since when did that stop anyone?
Just out of interest – I can legally be discriminated against merely because I need to wear a certain item in my daily life. Even though the reason I need to wear it is covered by the Disability Discrimination Act. Glasses are not covered by the Disability Discrimination Act but I am covered by it due to being Registered as Partially Sighted.
I could get on my soapbox about how Discrimination should not exist and the damage it does to people who are subjected to it – but I am going to do something a bit different.
According to me Discrimination is most damaging to the person actually doing the Discrimination. Let’s face it – people who are being discriminated against get used to it very quickly – we might not like it but we know it happens to other people as well as us.
Unintentional Discrimination shows up a lack of education and thought on the part of the person doing it. Intentional Discrimination – on the other hand – just makes the person doing it look cruel and heartless.
There is another “unspoken” kind of Discrimination though. The one which makes me feel ashamed of some of the people I know. This kind is the one where someone makes a nasty remark about a certain group of people – realises the person they are talking to fits into that group – and says “but you are different”. “Different? To you or them?”.
There should be a way of recognising that we are all different – acknowledging that fact – and still treating everyone with the respect we all deserve.
I really hate the term “make allowances for someone” but there are times when we have to do exactly that. At least it is better than either Discrimination or pretending the difference doesn’t exist in order to make people like me more palatable.
If we don’t have a grown up debate about Discrimination and how to get rid of it once and for all – I fear we could walk into another Holocaust of our own making.