Discrimination, Why?

Discrimination, Why?

January 12th, 2018 // 2:28 pm @

Discrimination continues to blight our society and our business’s, whether it is sexual, racist, sexuality or any other difference; we continue to discriminate against each other. It is socially unacceptable to talk about this but it lies just below the surface as Donald Trump has so clearly demonstrated in recent days.

The damage done by discrimination goes beyond the moral wrong that it is, and damages our society and our business’s. Discrimination in society drives alienation, hatred, and feeds on itself, discrimination breading more discrimination. Economically it is also damaging as it stops us getting the best person for the job, and it develops business’s that are not aligned to the society in which they operate, and that generates great commercial risk.

Prejudice is based on our fundamental tribalism. We believe in the modern world we have gone beyond tribalism but that is untrue. Much tribalism is not acknowledged in our society, but to attend a sporting match between two teams is to see tribalism in the very clearest of terms.

The basis of tribalism is fear, we feel safe in our tribe with people like ourselves, and people from different tribes are seen as potentially dangerous. In most people this response is sub conscious, and many people deny having any discriminatory views, however the truth is, we all have some inherently discriminatory feelings.

It is important to understand the historical context of discrimination. Society has been plagued by racist and sexist views for centuries. It is easy for those of us in the UK or US to brand the Nazi’s or the Imperial Japanese as racist. The truth is that open racism was common in our society prior to the war. Britain’s view of its colonies was at best paternal, and it was normal in the pre war US to believe Asia tic’s were inferior.

This view of racial differences and therefore of potential racial superiority was given a scientific cover through the science of Eugenics, first discussed as far back as Plato, but given a modern vision by Francis Galton in 1883. Sadly it was only a few steps from believing in racial superiority to the gas chambers of Auschwitz.

To overcome discrimination in all its forms, it is worthwhile understanding it is within us all, and has history within our society. It is worthy of note that much process has been made, and discrimination has reduced fairly consistently over time, yet it is very real in the modern world.

Some societies and businesses are endeavoring to reduce discrimination, through laws and positive policies. This is good but it is only through cultural change that we will truly stop discrimination.

Society can and does change, and through leadership discrimination can be reduced. Firstly we all need to accept that we have inherent sub conscious views on different social groups, and that our parents and grandparents also did.

Beyond that we need to empathies with those of different social groupings when we interact with them. If one is interviewing or appraising someone from your own social group, you are likely to feel more comfortable, but they will also. When interacting with someone from a different group, understand they are likely to be more nervous and less eloquent than they may be normally.

Social change and company change comes from leadership and example and if these people accept publically their own inherent biases and work to overcome them, this will change the culture.

When discrimination is made culturally unacceptable we will have stronger companies and societies.

Category : Blog &Leadership

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