Which puts more women in parliament. A good thing, right?
Ah, I really hate positive discrimination. It does so many things, all of them bad.
1. It's still discrimination. If you're the wrong gender you're screwed. Whatever slant you try to put on it, this is pretty messed up.
2. If one person benefits from it (whether getting a job, parliamentary candidacy or whatever, where they otherwise would have failed), then it means another person has lost out. Plus, if the other person would have got the position (to use the employment example) it’s probably because they were better for the position. So the employers and others connected with the business lose out too.
Note the key balance – 1 *person* benefits, 1 *person* plus a bunch of others loses out.
If we’re genuinely supporting *equality* this should be a problem for us.
3. Anyone benefiting from positive discrimination will be aware they may not have won their achievement through merit, but by default.
It can’t be a nice position to be in.
4. It hides problems of the discrimination it tries to correct.
‘Positive discrimination’ can’t stop people having discriminatory attitudes, and if we’re going to correct problems of discrimination, this is what *needs* to be addressed.
It can, however, ensure racism, sexism and other bigoted behaviour will more often go undetected by people able to do anything about it.
5. It fuels resentment and competition between people, dividing them along lines of gender, ethnicity, religion or whatever. Why are the BNP winning increasing political power? Because society is creating more racists, by dividing people along these lines. I’ll bet ‘positive discrimination’ makes a significant contribution.
In the case of the above story, it also erodes democracy (Blair undemocratic? Surely not!). People cannot choose a male labour candidate, thus people cannot possibly elect a male labour MP.
‘All of them bad’? Maybe a bit harsh. I do see one important potential positive benefit:
If you’re in some group who is discriminated against on a serious scale, you may, for example, be in a position where you feel you have no real chance of getting a good job.
If employers are forced to take a percentage of their workforce from your group, then you do have a chance. Meanwhile all the other groups also have a chance to make up the rest of the 100%.
But I believe this is limited. Maybe it’d be true for one particular company, but I’m sure there are plenty of other companies that will give everyone an equal shot. Meanwhile if your employers would keep you out of the company given the chance, I can’t see you’d have a very pleasant working life. Then back to prevention – it’s difficult to win a legal action for bullying in the workplace, even if victims come forward. But a prejudiced recruitment system should become apparent in time.
So why is positive discrimination used?
Political image. Not prevention of discrimination, because for the most part it perpetuates discrimination in every possible way.
But it allows politicians to pretend that they care, pretend they’re taking positive action to improve things.
When really they’re just selling us all down the river to look after their own backs.
Just like always.
> White people banned from using the
> word 'nígger' when black people use it freely
> amongst themselves?
I'm not so sure on this one.
If a white person uses the word, then there's a good chance they're using it offensively.
If a black person does, you know they're not.
Of course, a white person using the word isn't necessarily using it offensively, and I think people seem to assume they are too quickly, but you can't exactly blame people, who may have faced ('negative' ;^) )racial discrimination their whole lives, for being a little toutchy about the use of the word.
A paternalistic society is nothing new in itself. However, it is a very visible example of our increasing acceptance of "Positive Discrimination" into society. This is a strange beast as it seems to be telling us that two wrongs make a right. Whilst it is wrong to discriminate against someone from an ethnic minority so that they do not get a job for which they are eminently qualified, it is apparently quite correct to discriminate in their favour. I'm sure you're familiar with the "Ethnicity" forms that come with every job application these days. You know; the ones that ask you for your cultural and racial background so that they can fill a certain quota of jobs according to race, gender, or sexual orientation. Don't these things strike anyone as...well, rather offensive? I'd like to know that I got a job on my merits or, if I didn't I would rather it was because there was someone better qualified for the job. I'd be less than impressed knowing that I'd got a job solely because I was a crippled black homosexual and that fills out 3 different quota's in one.
I'm being facetious of course, but I do find it a little sad that we have to enshrine this sort of thing in law. If we have to write our ethics laws down and enforce them then we don't really have any ethics as a society. A Company can have the most small-minded bigot in the world selecting their staff and not have his attitudes addressed because as long as he fills a quota of minorities or women, then he will be considered an equal opportunities employer. Call me idealistic, but I would have thought that the whole point of laws designed to stop Racial discrimination would have concentrated on educating people about why being racist or sexist immediately marks one out as a knuckle dragging Neanderthal with little or no place in the 21st century. I wouldn't have expected it to claim that racism and sexism are on the decline purely because the figures say so. (Incidentally, I think I can claim to be completely free of sexism or racism; I care not for your racial makeup, sexual orientation, gender, or functionality of your limbs. Whoever you are, rest assured that I hold you all in equal contempt.)
As things stand we are making no effort whatsoever to reduce the causes of discrimination. What we are doing is masking most of the visible effects, and we are doing it in a way that is itself discriminatory. True equality cannot be forced on people( and more is the pity because I for one would love to see the discomfort of an average neighbourhood Nazi being forced to live with and work with, for example, an Asian Les-Bi-Gay association. Now *that* would make good reality TV...), it needs to be nurtured. What we have smacks of a quick fix so that the government of the day can claim to be doing more to reduce discrimination than ever before. If there was a long term plan to educate people from school age about the evil of discrimination, and also to ensure that employers are fair and equal without having to rely on an ethnicity form, perhaps even to reform the law and it's practitioners in order to help them see women as humans rather than objects to be protected, then perhaps discrimination of any kind will be consigned to history.
If you're thinking "...and pigs might fly" in postscript to that, I would hardly blame you.
Then I'd sue them for racialismexismathihngywhatsit!
That'll learn 'em.
The people who deserve to be top don;t get there because the acquiesce to others, and the people who gain the top place at the expense of those that deserve it must surely (as Timmargh rightly states) feel no sense of satisfaction whatsoever, achieving what it is they have simply through a sympathy vote.
> Heh, i can't believe people would rig the draw just because you have
> a disability, thats mad.
I know, and it made me feel like a complete ****.
to me this demonstrates a paradox which we have today. On the one hand, it IS true that women have been discriminated agaisnt, and are still in some places. So in a way it is justified to help them to a position of equality. However, this is a good example of the problems with a quick fix, as the reasons given show so well. As a question though, do others find it sexist for example that all women's institutions like St Hilda's College in Oxford have last month voted to continue to bar males? If not, is it sexist if all men's institutions like Eton are kept all male? Is it possible to justify a double standard?
A bar on male candidates?
White people banned from using the word 'nígger' when black people use it freely amongst themselves?
It's all discrimination. And discrimination is never a positive thing.