Friday, April 07, 2006

Why People Discriminate

People have been discriminative since the beginning of known history, but why do they continue to do such an atrocious act? Sometimes the public discovers something that they cannot really put a finger to, so they discriminate against the newcomer to keep the novelty away. People are often times jealous of their neighbour and single them out because of that. People are bound to discriminate against others that they do not like.

First, if there is something strange and unknown about a person, the surrounding populace will be willing to single them out. Margot, from “All Summer in a Day,” is a very different person, according to what information the author provides: “She was a very frail girl who looked as if she had been lost in the rain for years and the rain had washed out the blue from her eyes and the red from her mouth and the yellow from her hair. She was an old photograph dusted from an album, whitened away, and if she spoke at all her voice would be a ghost,” (P. 1). This shows that Margot is indeed unlike the other children at the underground house. The mixed emotions of the odd Margot makes the children feel insecure about letting her join the public, so they have to single her out to create a more comfortable environment for themselves. Thus, the ones who are most disliked are the ones who are the most discriminated against.

Second, when jealousy between two or more people arises, discrimination occurs.

As the sun is about to come out on the planet Venus, Margot tries to describe the looks of it to the surrounding children. “And they, they had been on Venus all their lives, and they had been only two years old when last the sun came out and had long since forgotten the color and heat of it and the way it really was.

But Margot remembered.

“It’s like a penny,” she said once, eyes closed.

“No it’s not!” the children cried.

“It’s like a fire,” she said, “in a stove.”

“You’re lying, you don’t remember!” (P. 2)

Obviously, the children are discriminating against Margot because they are jealous that she had seen the sun and they had not. Because of their jealousy, they want to create a barrier between themselves and Margot since they cannot retrieve the gift that Margot has – sight of the sun. When people dislike someone, they tend to single them out just like in this example.

In conclusion, a person who does not “fit in” is one who a public does not want. People who look or act differently are all subject to this stereotype. Jealousy is another reason why a group of people would act this way. In from this theory, an hypothesis can be derived: if there were to be absolutely no discrimination in the world, there would also have to be no differences in people, and everyone would have to have exactly similar possessions to remove jealousy. Unless these two goals are achieved, the path to a stereotype-free world is blocked.

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