Reporter Column: Attitudes Towards Discrimination
Reporter Column: Attitudes Towards Discrimination
  • Reporter Kim Yu-jin
  • 승인 2023.09.27 06:59
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Reporter Kim Yu-jin
Reporter Kim Yu-jin

  There is a TV series named The Good Place that I enjoyed a few years back. In the show, the characters claim that the world became too complicated to judge whether a person is good or bad. You might buy a cup of coffee, but it might turn out to be a product of child labor, or by sending e-mails, you might be contributing to the acceleration of global warming without being aware of it. This idea left a strong impression on me, and I think it is not limited to only the good or bad of a person.
  Discrimination. This is a concept that has been a hot potato in our society for some time. We learn that discrimination is a bad thing and that it is something that you must not do. But for many people, we have come to realize that it is not that simple. Discrimination is not so black-and-white as we originally may have thought. Growing up is realizing that there are far more moral grey areas in the world. It is not clear if something is good or bad, or even grey, because the world is a complicated place. Consequently, many people are committing acts of discrimination every day in our lives without even realizing that it is discrimination. 
  I think this increase in discrimination is due to the communication and networking of people from various environments, caused by the development of transportation and the Internet. These communications have helped us understand that there are people different from us in many aspects coexisting with us in this world. But ironically at the same time, it has made us commit to even more discrimination. Humans are social beings by nature and being social includes the need to belong somewhere with someone like oneself. That is why concepts like ‘family,’ ‘country,’ or ‘culture’ are important to us. That is to say, the act of discriminating against someone is part of human nature. The more diverse people you meet, the more discrimination you may commit without realizing it.
  Gender, race, economic status, and numerous more types of discrimination are committed worldwide, and it has not been very long since people realized the extent of the problem and have started to find ways to decrease discrimination in the world. An important aspect of educating people towards this goal started by teaching people to find similarities between the other person and themselves, and feeling the bond that comes with understanding. This evolved to learning and trying to understand our differences, and in other words, gave us the change to be in another person’s shoes. Many people believe this procedure and this way of thinking will terminate the source of discriminating thoughts and eventually end discrimination. 
  I do not agree with this view on discrimination. I think that no one can completely understand anyone, and that there is no such thing as a non-discriminating person. No one can be conscious of every act of discrimination because no one can be in everyone’s shoes. My personal approach to anti-discrimination starts with accepting this; I cannot understand anyone, and I cannot ‘not discriminate’ against everyone. Knowing if something is discriminative and preventing it beforehand is important, but the most important part is the attitude of accepting that you can make a mistake, realizing that you have discriminated against someone, and try to ensure that it does not happen again.
  However, this only works when the person who is being discriminated maintains the same attitude. We need to accept that sometimes we are discriminated against and that not every discriminator is a horrible person, just a little naïve and lacking knowledge of what exactly is discrimination. Gently reminding the person that it might come across as discrimination for some people just might be the best solution, instead of criticism and attack. Remember, at times we are all discriminated against in some shape and form, and at the same time, discriminating towards others.