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D for Discrimination, D for Disease

Courtesy of Micheile Henderson

Discrimination is the act of unfair treatment towards people from certain groups and perceived divides, on the basis of race, caste, sex, religion, or status. This bias stems from the foundation on which the human civilizations were built on years ago. Yet, even today, no society is free from it.

The recent ‘George Floyd’ case in the USA, wherein an African-American man was seen being pinned to death by a white police officer, in what seemed to be an act of racism, sparked wide outrage across the world.

Citizens organized protests, signed petitions and people from different nations came together to show their solidarity. #BlackLivesMatter trended in India as well, with numerous people, including various celebrities condemning this unjust incident.

I also voiced my support to this movement, and felt privileged about this liberty to learn about racism without having to experience it at any point in my life. And while this is something to be thankful for, it is not to say that discrimination of other or similar kinds does not exist in India.

A familiar example of such prejudice is our obsession with fair skin. Ironically, a lot of the celebrities who expressed their anger for discrimination against people of color, are themselves the endorsers of fairness creams, which associate whiter skin tones with superiority.

Another example is the discrimination faced by people from the North-East, who are very much a part of India, and are yet made to feel alienated. They are often called by racial slurs, and names such as ‘chinki’, apparently because of their eyes and face structure. This has especially gotten worse since the COVID-19 outbreak, with people calling them ‘Corona’ and ‘Chinese’, due to their similarity in appearance with people from China, where the virus originated.

Normalizing such ignorance is one of the many ways by which prejudice has subconsciously been fed into the minds of people. What’s even worse is that we have grown accustomed to this bias existing in our society.

Discrimination of any form is a much greater threat to the world than what it seems to be. It doesn’t only affect those being discriminated against, but also others around, in indirect ways. Incidents such as the ‘George Floyd’s Case’ have the potential to take away peoples’ faith in the government, a particular community, and even the nation as a whole.

Discrimination is a disease and should have no place in the world, let alone in India, a land of such diversity and home to people from different cultures and religions.

No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite. — Nelson Mandela.

The process of eradicating such deep-rooted notions is not a one-day task. It might not be easy, but it is definitely necessary.

It can only happen with time, education and empathy.

And with each one of us.


D for Discrimination, D for Disease was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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