Discrimination Discrimination The topic of discrimination can be a very sensitive one to discuss. The world has always, and probably will always be faced with this problem. In all countries there is most likely at least one type of blatant discrimination that affects different groups of people. There are several different definitions for discrimination. The definition given in class is: the denial of opportunity, and/or equal rights towards a certain group of people.
I believe that this definition is 100% correct. I think that discrimination is the denial of opportunity or equal rights toward a specific group of people. I also believe that discrimination is not just towards blacks, or any other minority groups specifically. I will also expand later in the paper that I believe discrimination can be toward any group of people: black/white, majority/minority, or man/woman. There are many causes for discrimination. Among those discussed in class is the size of the group. This simply states that discrimination may be a direst result of the fear of one group being so large that it “takes over the rest of the groups.” According to this theory, people discriminate in order to keep their group of people in command. Another theory is that discrimination is a result of competition.
It means that all groups are in continuous competition with each other, and that one group’s success directly causes another group’s failure. A power threat is another theoretical reason of unfair treatment. This states that discriminatory actions may be taken on a minority group due to its perception of power. The fourth idea discussed is that of status consciousness. For example, you are walking down the street. In your path you spot a group of Hispanic teenagers dressed in baggy clothes and bandanas.
Your first thought might be to move across the street because of this group of people. This is a perfect example of the status conscious theory. I believe that this type of discrimination is based mainly on the stereotypes that we place on certain groups of people; in this example, we might think that this group of teens are in a gang. Defined, status conscious is the consciousness and awareness of a minority group with which one comes into contact. The final theory is the social distance discrimination theory. Stated, it says that discrimination may be the result of the location or distance put between two groups of people.
An example of this would be a family living on the “wrong side of the tracks.” This family may get treated differently than another family due to their geographic location. America has always had its share of problems when it comes to discrimination. It seems like almost every time that you turn around, another lawsuit is being filed against some corporation for discrimination. The U.S. government has made attempts to help with this discrimination. Things like “affirmative action” have been put into practice in order to cut down on this discrimination.
However, in my opinion, affirmative action has done nothing but make this problem worse. It does, in fact, help out some minority groups, but on the other hand, I believe that in some cases it ends up discriminating against the majority. It seems that most affirmative actions we read about occur in universities, making it appear that only in school settings is discrimination a problem. It may be a problem in universities, but it is not confined to learning institutions. An example of university-related discrimination that called the affirmative action into an accounting happened not long ago at the University of Texas at Austin, when a white American applicant brought a law suit against the school for refusing her admission.
Her undergraduate grades and entrance exam scores were above average in comparison to the other applicants. On the other hand, the University did grant admission to an African-American applicant whose scores were significantly under the average. As a result of this lawsuit, the University has done away with the affirmative action policy. This is not the only example of discrimination of this sort, however. Admission policies for almost all American universities have changed in order to reach a very diverse group of students. Examples of these are: At the University of California at Berkeley, black and Hispanic students are up to twenty times more likely to be accepted for admission than Asian American applicants who have the same academic qualifications.
At Ivy League colleges, incoming freshmen have average grade scores close to 4.0 and average SATs of 1,250 to 1,300. According to admissions officials, however, several of these schools admit black, Hispanic, and American Indian students with grade averages as low as 2.5 and SAT aggregates “in the 700 to 800 range.”(D’Souza, p. 232) This is not all. Pennsylvania State University, offers financial incentives for black students who choose to attend. The University offers any black student who maintains a grade average of C to C+ throughout the year a check for $580. If the student maintains an average of anything above that, he will receive $1,160.
This financial aid is offered to any black student, no matter his or her economical status. Neither whites nor any other minority students are eligible for this assistance. (D’Souza, p. 232) Stephen Carter, a graduate of Stanford came forward outraged when he applied to Harvard Law School and was rejected. This, however, was not what angered him. What he was insulted by was the fact that a few days after he was denied acceptance, he received a telephone call from the officials at Harvard telling him that there had been a mix up.
“An official explained, “We assumed from your record that you were white.” Another noted that the school had recently obtained “additional information that should have been counted in your favor,” namely, the fact that Carter was Black.” (D’Souza, p. 233) Most Universities seek to promote “pluralism” and “diversity” on campus by setting up and funding separate institutions for minority groups; thus one finds black student unions, black dormitories, and “theme houses,” black fraternities and sororities, black cultural centers, black dining sections, even a black yearbook. (D’Souza, p. 235) I can’t help but feel that these actions are taken to an extreme. I feel that women and minorities should absolutely have equal rights in comparison to the “white male.” However, I feel that these examples that I have listed destroy that equality. By changing their acceptance policies, I feel that these universities have given unfair and preferential treatment to certain groups of people, while denying equal rights to others. Those opposed to affirmative action think that it is a form of reverse discrimination in which members of a minority are favored over whites who may often be more qualified than the minority applicant.
Research shows that some reverse discrimination does occur but mostly when the “bias carries few personal consequences for the individual favoring minority groups.” (Davidio, A60) In situations where there are personal consequences, discrimination is still more likely to occur. In the last thirty years, surveys indicate white Americans have become less openly racist against blacks. Some would suggest that overt racism has evolved into more subtle “aversive racism.” In trying not to act in an openly negative way, indirectly some may favor whites over blacks (or other minority groups). ..an employer influences by feelings of aversive racism might subtly re-evaluate the most important qualifications for a job, depending on the race of different applicant. If, say, a white applicant had broader experience and a black applicant had more up-to-date training, the employer would decide that experience was more important; if the white applicant had more recent training and the black more experience, the employer would decide that experience was less important. Thus, the aversive racist would find a way to hire the white applicant without admitting to himself or herself that racial bias played a role in the choice. (Dovidio, A60) I believe that it is the responsibility of everyone, black and whites, men and women, majorities and minorities to do away with this problem of discrimination.
I do not believe that the government can pass any bill that will abolish this problem. I do not think that any university can make certain rules for admissions that can do away with this problem. I do think that the only way to stop this problem is for everyone to have an open mind. People need to realize that there are no victims in society. The only way you can become a victim is if you make yourself one.
Everybody has to come to the conclusion that every person is equal, and that every person, no matter what color, race, sex, or religion, should be treated that way. Bibliography References Davidio, John. (1997). ‘Aversive” racism and the need for affirmative action. The Chronicle of Higher Education.
A60. D’Souza, Dinesh. (1995).The victim’s revolution on campus. In J. G. Haworth and C.
F. Conrad (Eds.), Revisioning Curriculum in Higher Education (pp. 231 – 244). Needham Heights: Simon & Schuster. Psychology Essays.