How discrimination works in the new age
The waves of social progress — with the #MeToo movement and exposés of racism and homophobia — are inadvertently acting as covers for a new type of discrimination. From “diversity targets” to trial by media, as well as the general suppression of the former oppressors’ voices, discrimination is actually on the rise, and it’s here to stay.
I recognise fully that the majority of discrimination is still against the more traditionally oppressed groups — women, BME, LGBT, etcetera — but there is no doubt that there is rising oppression, of a different type, against those who are told that their ‘privilege’ is so great that it is not possible for them to endure hardship.
Take ‘diversity targets’, for example. These have a noble goal: ensuring that minorities and oppressed groups aren’t under-represented due to discrimination from employers. This discrimination is a big problem, but one that is decreasing. Discrimination is, in spite of the supposed waves of racist and misogynistic politics, falling.
There are, then, better ways to tackle this issue. One is to keep up the pressure on those who are still socially conservative, and provide information to them that is indisputable. Another is, if they aren’t a CEO, to sack them for discriminating in the employment process, if an internal investigation finds them guilty.
In this way, one can build a system in which jobs are distributed on merit, and in a way that is not racist, sexist, homophobic — etcetera.
Worse than diversity targets are the all-(insert oppressed group here) shortlists. These actively prevent heterosexuals, white people, or men from getting a particular job. This is worst in politics, but there are many companies too who decide to only fill some roles with oppressed groups. That, everyone, is discrimination.
Call me not a perpetrator of discrimination, for I am not. Call me not a denier of discrimination, for I am not. Instead, understand that this is a genuine problem. Not as large as the issues facing the more traditionally oppressed groups, sure, but important nonetheless. And, due to the rate of social progress, it is an issue that will only grow, and grow, and grow.
Perhaps in politics, it is understandable. A fully representative legislature has to be something that we aspire to. However, there are a limited number of jobs in politics, and many would understand that as a major reason to keep elections completely open to all candidates.
Trial by media is particularly relevant in this case due to the recent #MeToo movement, which has been hijacked by big Hollywood names — such as Asia Argento, who has now been accused of sexual assault herself. I’m not going to do as she would for a man accused and assume her guilt. Whatever happened though, this experience should teach her a hell of a lot about assuming guilt.
The fundamental principle of almost every single western democracy is the rule of law; the right to a fair trial; a free and fair judiciary. The first two are completely destroyed when social media accounts can destroy someone’s life with accusations, which has vast power over the accused’s life. Due process is no longer observed, and, while this applies to everyone, straight white men have been grossly affected (in the western world, at least).
Of course, for many, many countries, the problem is still that governments and judges alike discriminate against women, BME, LGBT communities. And there should be no relent in diplomatic pressure to put an end to this. In fact, these efforts should be stepped up.
We must, though, be careful not to slip into a new form of discrimination: racism and misandry particularly. Discrimination is discrimination, whatever form it takes, and we would be foolish not to recognise it, and fight it, in all its forms, wherever it appears.