Please, Stop Saying "Discrimination!" as if It Decides Anything

If you want to get married in a Catholic Church, the first question you and your marriage partner will be asked is, "Is at least one of you Catholic?"

If not, you will be shown the door.

That is blatant discrimination against non-Catholics. I also happen to think it is perfectly OK discrimination against non-Catholics, as have most people in the U.S. for most of U.S. history.

If someone establishes a scholarship fund for Filipino-Americans who want to study nursing, and the conditions for the award require that one must have at least one Filipino parent, that is blatant discrimination against non-Filipinos. I also happen to think it is perfectly OK discrimination against non-Filipinos, as have most people in the U.S. for most of U.S. history.

If you want to marry your sister, you will be denied a marriage license, I believe everywhere in the U.S. That is blatant discrimination against people who want to marry their siblings. I also happen to think it is perfectly OK discrimination against people who want to marry their siblings, as have most people in the U.S. for most of U.S. history.

Saying "That's discriminatory!" does not settle either the morality or legality of some action. The relevant question is always, "Is that just discrimination or unjust discrimination?"


3 comments:

  1. Pretty much all human interaction is discrimination.

    Having a friend is form of discrimination. It implies one person means more to you than a stranger.

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    1. Exactly, Prateek! There are *certain* forms of discrimination that are invidious: e..g, a person's skin color makes no difference as to how they can do a job, unless that job involves tanning, so one shouldn't discriminate on that basis. But discrimination per se is simply part of life. To make a choice is to discriminate between what one chooses and what one rejects.

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    2. On that note, I think "ageism" is one of those things where people lost a sense of proportion about this issue.

      As you say, it is about whether a person has a capacity to do a job. Which is why it is normal that some jobs will only go to younger people and some to older people.

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