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Passions in Poetry

What aspect of discrimination in society most concerns you?

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JBaker515
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0 posted 01-23-2002 05:07 PM       View Profile for JBaker515   Email JBaker515   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JBaker515

What aspect of discrimination in society most concerns you?
   I am really really interested in this one.....
let me hear your thoughts....!!
Brad
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1 posted 01-30-2002 08:02 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

This is an interesting question but far more difficult to answer than you might think. If my 'aspect' you mean type -- sexism, ageism, racism etc. -- it depends entirely on the situation. This may sound glib but the discrimination that bothers me the most is the discrimination closest to me.

If you're talking about what people do when they discriminate, I suppose the aspect that bothers me the most is any attempt to rationally back it up -- empirically, medically, logically -- that makes my skin crawl. We all discriminate, we have to, but don't pretend you can prove that whites and blacks are less intelligent than Asians etc.

I think it's important to realize as well that we are all a little racist, sexist, ageist, nationalist etc. That's no excuse for making stupid decisions though.

Brad
Ron
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2 posted 01-30-2002 09:45 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

I'd be interested in hearing your definition of discrimination, Brad?
Jamie
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3 posted 01-30-2002 11:17 PM       View Profile for Jamie   Email Jamie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Jamie's Home Page   View IP for Jamie

I'm with Ron on this one-- First define discrimination. For instance, if I was putting my daughter into a private school would I not want to make discrimintions to determine which one to choose. I may choose not to send her to a certain school because it is near a freeway, or maybe it's simply because the principle is a Duke graduate, and as a loyal Tarheel I steadfastly refuse to support a dookie by contributing to his/her employment--- ,, big differences there but discrimination in each case.

There is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar.
byron

JBaker515
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4 posted 01-30-2002 11:39 PM       View Profile for JBaker515   Email JBaker515   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JBaker515

Well, that is a good question, For i dont think I have the answer.  But..I mean in the sense like what aspect of discrimination concerns you most, like racism againt jews, or know againt arabs...and so on...

More thoughts later..
Phaedrus
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5 posted 01-31-2002 06:08 PM       View Profile for Phaedrus   Email Phaedrus   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Phaedrus


I think Brad has made a valid point, discrimination is human nature to a lesser or greater degree. I believe the point at which it becomes offensive is when the sole reason for selecting one person above another is by reference to a condition, which has no relevance to the original selection criteria.

Discrimination that I abhor?

That accolade would have to go to modern societies attempt to “fix” the situation, my choice is Counter Discrimination. The theory goes that you can redress any bias by meddling in the discriminatory process itself by actively choosing a candidate from a minority group regardless of qualification.

This process was recently touted in the UK where it was suggested that selection of female candidates for election to Parliament by a major party was strictly enforced in certain constituencies. In an attempt to ensure that the number of female MP’s was increased.

I’ve got nothing against female MP’s, it just seems to me that qualification and selection for such a position should go to the best candidate, male or female.


Thanks for the chance to reply.
JBaker515
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6 posted 01-31-2002 08:13 PM       View Profile for JBaker515   Email JBaker515   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JBaker515

Good point.  But yes I would have to agree with ron, i would like to see brad's defenition of discrimination as well?
Janet Marie
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7 posted 01-31-2002 11:48 PM       View Profile for Janet Marie   Email Janet Marie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Janet Marie

Of all the "practiced hate" in the world...of all the different forms of ugliness that true discrimination takes on ... I would hope that "Counter Discrimination" would be the least of our worries. And doesn't it (counter discrimination) only exists because of the refusal by far too many in power to set aside their own personal practice of selective segregation? Someone somewhere has to step in and try and break the cycle.
And honestly--for me, it's hard to focus on that more "tame" kind of discrimination while there are people dying daily due to hate crimes...be it acts of war, oppression of a whole nation of people, or an individual incident of a racial or homophobic act of violence on the corner down the street.

So as to answer Jeff's question, it all concerns and disturbs me. In my mind true, practiced discrimination is bred from fear, ignorance, and intolerance. It is taught and practiced hate and often, is the only reason these small, close, minded people need to justify doing harm to others. Any time hate is springboard for any thing Mankind does to once another and anytime these things are passed on to the innocent minds of children by adults with poor judgment is a concern for us all. I worry for my own children, and wonder what the future holds for them as these acts are sharply on the rise.
JBaker515
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8 posted 02-01-2002 12:22 AM       View Profile for JBaker515   Email JBaker515   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JBaker515

I think Racial Formation needs to be looked at...

I think the one aspect of discrimination in society that isn’t the most obvious, but most important; racial formation. Racial formation in society is the sociohistorical process in which racial categories are created, inhabited, transformed, and destroyed. Believe it or not, racial formation is an everyday experience, and a form of racism. It doesn’t mean we are racist in the sense of hatred toward another human being, but it clearly shows that, in some instances, if another human being is not your color or race you feel uncomfortable.  In today’s society, one of the first things we notice about people when we meet them (along with sex) is their race. We utilize race to provide clues about who are a person is.  That bothers me, but truth is, we all do it. This fact is made painfully obvious when we encounter someone whom we cannot conveniently racially categorize-someone who is, for example, racially "“mixed” or of an ethnic/racial group we are not familiar with.  Such and encounter becomes a source of discomfort and momentarily a crisis of racial meaning.

Our ability to interpret racial meanings depends on preconceived notions of a racialized social structure.  Comments such as “Funny, you don’t look black,” betray an underlying image of what black should be. We expect people to act out their apparent racial identities, indeed we become disoriented when they do not. The black banker harassed by police while walking in casual clothes though his well-off neighborhood, the unending faux pas committed by whites who assume that the non-white colleagues are less qualified persons hired to fulfill affirmative action guidelines, indeed the whole gamut of racial stereotypes- that “white men can’t jump,” that Asians can’t dance, etc.- all testify to the way a racialized social structure shapes racial experience and conditions meaning.

We, as a society, constantly analyze these stereotypes. They reveal the always present, already active link between our view of the social structure-its demography, its laws, its customs, its threats-and our conception of what race means.  
We expect differences in skin color, or other racial coded characteristics, to explain social differences. Sexuality, intelligence, aesthetic preferences, and so on are presumed to be fixed and discernable from the palpable mark of race. Such diverse questions such as our tastes in music, our confidence and trust in others, and our very ways of walking and talking become racially coded simply because we live a society where racial formation is so pervasive. Basically, we live in a society that is too comprehensive to even monitor consciously, and despite periodic calls-neoconservative and otherwise-for us to ignore race and adopt “color-blind” racial attitudes, skin color “differences” continue to rationalize distinct treatment of racially identified individuals and groups.
To conclude my ideas, the theory of racial formation suggests that society is suffused with racial projects, large and small, to which are all subjected. This racial “subjection” is quintessentially ideological. Racial formation, therefore, is a kind of synthesis, an outcome, of the interaction of racial projects on a society.  As a society, we need to be more accepting of all races, religions, sexual preferences, ages, etc. What concerns me most about society is, as a whole, we are too selfish, are unwilling to open up to new views, and we don’t want change our opinions that we have. The contemporary racial order remains transient. By knowing of how it evolved, we can perhaps, as a society, better discern where it is heading.

[This message has been edited by JBaker515 (02-01-2002 12:23 AM).]

jenni
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9 posted 02-01-2002 03:35 AM       View Profile for jenni   Email jenni   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jenni

looks like somebody had a paper to write for school....

i'm assuming, jeff, you turned in the version with quotation marks and citation of source materials (such as the article by omi and winant, among other sources)?  unless, of course, your professor is stephen ambrose, lol.

thanks for an interesting read here....

jenni
JBaker515
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10 posted 02-01-2002 08:20 AM       View Profile for JBaker515   Email JBaker515   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JBaker515

Jenni what do u mean?

I did not write that, if thats what you mean.
I threw in like 2 ideas...but i just wanted to post it because i thought it was intersting to think about..

Thats all...and no its not for school..but it definetly is an interesting read.

[This message has been edited by JBaker515 (02-01-2002 08:24 AM).]

Brad
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11 posted 02-01-2002 09:51 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Jeff,

I'm happy that it's not yours. Nevertheless, give credit, give credit now.

Credit is not a game.

Where did you get it?

Next time, you're in trouble.

Brad
jenni
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12 posted 02-01-2002 10:52 AM       View Profile for jenni   Email jenni   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jenni

"I did not write that, if thats what you mean."

well...how was anyone supposed to know?  you start a thread posing a question, telling us "I am really interested in this one"; contribute to the discussion and promise us "more thoughts later," then -- later -- give us a long post beginning with "I think Racial Formation needs to be looked at."  the post ends with the phrase "to conclude my ideas...."  you never mention anyone else.  

i don't see anything wrong with posting stuff written by someone else out here to start a discussion, i like that actually; brad and others do it all the time.  but next time give us a link, or tell us you're quoting, ok?  

anyway...sorry if i misunderstood what you were doing here.

jenni
JBaker515
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13 posted 02-01-2002 11:21 AM       View Profile for JBaker515   Email JBaker515   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JBaker515

It is an essay written by Michael Omi and Howard Winant...
i just didnt know how to quote it, i'm sorry.

Brad, what do you mean, I'm in trouble?
Brad
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14 posted 02-01-2002 12:57 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

You're not in trouble. Next time, next time.

Just give credit when credit is necessary. Is that difficult?
JBaker515
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15 posted 02-01-2002 02:09 PM       View Profile for JBaker515   Email JBaker515   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JBaker515

Nope. Its not.
fractal007
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16 posted 02-02-2002 01:21 AM       View Profile for fractal007   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for fractal007

I think that sexism bothers me the most.  I have always been a big fighter for egalitarianism in any situation I've been in.  Sexism, of course, bothers me mainly because of contemporary society claiming to be egalitarian while at the same time promoting a lustful image of women[think of pop music and the various interesting coriographies involved in that] on the screens of our televisions gyrating and making suggestive poses.  

"If history is to change, let it change. If the world is to be destroyed, so be it. If my fate is to die, I must simply laugh"

-- Magus

Brad
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17 posted 02-03-2002 03:05 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

My definition of descrimination:

"dis¡¤crim¡¤i¡¤na¡¤tion (d-skrm-nshn)
n.
The ability or power to see or make fine distinctions; discernment."

That's not very helpful, is it?

Okay, how about extra-logical decision making?

Choosing an MD over myself to perform an operation is not descriminatory. It makes a lot of sense. Choosing a blonde woman over a brunette for no other reason than 'feel' or 'intuition' is.  

I think we all descriminate at some level because we aren't rational animals. I don't think there's time to be rational all the time but decisions have to be made all the time. By this, however, I don't mean that we can't reflect on that and attempt to make better decisions than whereever initial prejudices, even unconscious ones, may lead us.

Uh, does that make it clearer?

Brad
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18 posted 02-03-2002 05:08 AM       View Profile for Irish Rose   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Irish Rose

what bothers me most in society is discrimination against those who suffer from mental disorders and are treated as if it is their fault.

Kathleen--(Kay)
"When red-haired girls scamper like roses over the rain-green grass, and the sun drips honey."
Laurie Lee


Brad
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19 posted 02-03-2002 08:54 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I'm confused. I get confused a lot of course. Discrimination is rarely about fault, it's about power.


Phaedrus
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20 posted 02-03-2002 11:54 AM       View Profile for Phaedrus   Email Phaedrus   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Phaedrus


Brad,

I think it’s about both, or maybe that’s just my perception.

If you take Kathleen’s example of mental disorder you have the perceived power of the discriminator gained upon judging a perceived fault in the make-up of the discriminated.

Janet Marie

Sorry I took so long to get back, I’ve been writing and re-writing my reply trying to get it into some form that would make sense, I’m not sure I’ve succeeded but here goes nothing.

To judge the “tameness” of counter discrimination you first have to look at how discrimination works and the forms that it takes. Discrimination can be neatly sliced, using ochams razor, into three basic types:

Individual prejudice
Group or Societal prejudice
State sanctioned prejudice

An example of individual prejudice would be the refusal by an employer to employ a person solely on the grounds of a condition that bore no relationship to the position i.e. the applicant was from an ethnic minority, female or physically handicapped.

Group or societal prejudice is the extension of individual prejudice into mainstream categorisation of stereotypical labelling. Examples would be assertions such as:

Females are inferior drivers; blacks are inferior to whites etc.

The final type, state sanctioned prejudice is the most insidious. In the other examples the state is usually the primary force trying to eradicate discrimination, passing laws to discourage individual prejudice and instigating education processes to curb societal prejudice. When the state actively sanctions prejudice the outcome can be far from “tame”. A typical example would be Germany in the 1930’s.

Counter Discrimination would fall into the third category, and although the objective of breaking the circle is attractive, the possible consequences may be too high a price to pay.

The argument of using prejudice to fight discrimination just seems to me to be a little too close to fighting fire with gasoline.

Thanks for the chance to read and reply


Janet Marie
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21 posted 02-03-2002 04:05 PM       View Profile for Janet Marie   Email Janet Marie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Janet Marie

Hi Phaedrus ... and welcome to Poetry Land

thanks for further clarifing...and I hope my words weren't taken wrong...I didnt mean for it to seem as I was dismissing your thoughts...I was only saying that the more violent aspects of this issue are what concern me. It just so happened that the day I saw this post, there were two disturbing incidents of such examples in our morning news...one violent act claiming the life of a 14 year old honor student and another of a 26 year old man and father of 3.  Both of which fell victim to someones stereo-type of racial and sexual preferences and that was all that was needed for hatred to rear its vile consequences.
The report went on to say that Hate Crimes are again on the rise and a marked increase since 9/11.

I understand what your saying about state regulated control. My simple mind would like to believe that power, money and greed wont always win out, (which is one of the reasons Offirmative Action failed here in the U.S.) and that people would look at ALL the equally qualified candidates and not judge them by race, sex or whatever their status might be. That was my point...if we treated one another this way, there would be no need to such programs.
A far too simple dream for a complex and imperfect world I know. I dont pretend to have the answers to an issue so vast, nor do I have the knowledge or comprehension to converse on this subject, but I do know we can start by teaching our children and setting an example for them.
I have a sticker that hangs on the side of my computer, it came from my daughter's school, a program they taught at the elementary level, shes now a senior, but I've held on to it all these years ...
it reads:

Humanity

Believing and teaching through example, that people of different cultures, races, sexes, religions, abilities, and practices are all equally valuble members of our society, and are worthy of respect and the opportunity to share and grow as an individual.


simple poet, simple dreams???
thanks for listening.
respectfully,
jm


Ron
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22 posted 02-03-2002 05:03 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

You're trying to confuse me, right, Brad?

The definition you give of discrimination forces me to agree, of course, that we all do it. But if we accept that definition, your following statements make little sense. "Choosing an MD over myself to perform an operation is not discriminatory." Of course, it is, at least in accordance with your definition. You are making a distinction, a discernment, and a very logical one at that.

The problem with this thread is that no one is talking about the same thing. Discrimination covers a whole lot of territory, not all of it based solely on ignorance or prejudice, and obviously not all based on logical reasoning either. The tone of the original question suggests we want to discuss prejudicial discrimination, the kind most talked about in society.

But can we even define it?

Scenario: I'm running down the street with a two thugs in hot pursuit, and as I near the street corner, I see potential help in both directions. To my left is a man, to my right is a woman, neither particularly extraordinary in any way. Which way do I turn? And have I just discriminated based on gender?

Scenario: The Martians have landed and the whole town is panicked, looking for a place to hide. One of the street thugs above says he knows a place. A nerdy but well-to-do bank manager says he knows a place. No time to ask questions. Whom do I follow? Did I just discriminate based on economic status?

Scenario: Those same Martians have caught us and are forcing us to procreate. Failure to produce offspring is sure death. My only choices are a 20-year-old child and a 60-year-old matron. Whom do I choose? Did I just discriminate based on age?

My point, of course, is simple. At what point does logical reasoning and discernment become the kind of "discrimination in society that most concerns you?"


Phaedrus
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23 posted 02-03-2002 06:15 PM       View Profile for Phaedrus   Email Phaedrus   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Phaedrus


Janet Marie

Thanks for the welcome but it’s only my name that’s new I’ve been here a while.


There really is no need to apologise, there are no wrong or right answers only different opinions, it doesn’t matter how much they differ, all that matters is that we recognise there’s a problem that needs addressing. The way we do that is by airing our views.

With respect to your eligibility to converse on this subject I beg to differ, the rest of us may sound like we know what we’re talking about but in reality we’re just throwing ideas at a wall and hoping a couple may make sense and stick. If more people start throwing it just increases our chances of finding the sticky ones.

Ron,

I think your examples fall short of discrimination at least as far as prejudice goes, doesn’t discrimination of this kind have to entail some sort of loss on the part of the descriminated?

The only possible loss I can find in the examples given would be on the part of the 60-year-old matron if you had chosen the 20-year-old (and even that’s tenuous )
Bec
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24 posted 02-04-2002 09:29 AM       View Profile for Bec   Email Bec   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bec

I contend with a problem called scoliosis, curvature of the spine. I wouldn't say suffer, because I've fought it all the way! Anyway, some years ago, I wore a corrective brace for 23 hours a day until my specialist was satisfied that I had stopped growing, and that I was in no danger of the scoliosis worsening.

Even though I was exactly the same person as I was before I was diagnosed with scoliosis, people seemed to think I was helpless and couldn't do anything for myself. I was given a list of things I couldn't do any more, because I had very limited mobility, and I gave a copy to my school so they were aware of my situation, but it seemed no one took any notice. I hardly lifted a finger for myself at school for the 18 months I wore the brace, my books were carried, I never participated in physical education and I was asked every ten minutes if there was something someone could do for me. As soon as I was out of the brace, I was left to my own devices again.

I know this isn't exactly descrimination, but I think I could almost understand how some not-so-able bodied people can get frustrated when people do things for them that they were perfectly capable of doing themselves.

Bec

"Poetry and Hums aren't things which you get, they're things which get you. And all you can do is to go where they can find you."
-Winnie-the-Pooh

 
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