Time is riddled with incidences of discrimination. The definition of discrimination is the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things. One of the biggest platforms of this in the past has been race. Gender is also plays a part in today’s discrimination. Although not as prominent, age can be a factor in discrimination. Despite ongoing and past negativity brought by racial, gender, and age discrimination there are positives to be taken away.
Race is without a doubt one of the chief areas of discrimination.
The reason begins with history. In America this has been that of discrimination against minorities, the most memorable being African Americans. Both Marie Mercat-Bruns and Richard Ford agree that the history plays a huge part, specifically in “sending a message of contempt” (150). As a result, racial innuendos have perpetuated themselves into society throughout multiple generations. At one point Mercat-Bruns gives another viewpoint of a positive, unimposed outsider status. She describes this as a positive side to being forced out of another group.
One example she uses is people identifying with and embracing their black culture in the 60s. Minorities used the fact of people pushing them away to “tear down” the social barriers. This not only shows the negative side to the racial discrimination but also how it can be turned around to display positivity. Thereupon, race has been used as a way to impose inequality such as many instances of segregation in Jim Crow America. Mercat-Bruns says “race has no importance in biology” (147).
Which means racial hierarchies and other such structures are constructed by people and not naturally put into place.
Gender is another area where there has been heavy discrimination. A common place for this has been in the workplace. All throughout history there have been jobs largely specific to either men or men. In other words, “occupational sex segregation is . . . gender inequity in women’s opportunities” (Roos and Stevens 128). This has only recently begun to change significantly. Roos and Steven also point out that this occupation separation only declined substantially declined beginning in the 1970s (128).
This being said, job segregation is not the only negative point. Wage gap is a prominent issue as well. Pew Research Center states “In 2017, women earned 82% of what men earned” based on one of their analyses. There is also gender discrimination in another facet of the workplace: the government. Although the ratio of women to men is less in the government, there is a positive to this particular situation. For the upcoming election, women have a great chance of gaining more representation. As reported by Susan Milligan on a study by Pew Research Center, 68 percent of women and 54 percent of men think more women elected would be a good development. As shown, gender discrimination is still a problem though it has improvement.
One of the least known sections, but still far-reaching, is age discrimination. Age discrimination mainly protects older people from unemployment at the hands of their younger counterparts. David Neumark and Wendy Stock state the Age Discrimination Employment Act (ADEA) of 1968 “was intended to ban age discrimination” (1081). Even though this was enacted by Congress, there were a multitude of people still discriminated against since then. One article from AARP reports “two out of three workers between ages 45 and 74 say they have seen or experienced age discrimination at work”. Despite this fact, those people whose job treats them fairly have a significant benefit from ADEA. As a result of ADEA, these “workers earn more than their marginal product and . . . reservation wage. . .” (Neumark and Stock 1082).
In all three of these aspects, progress is being made on discrimination little by little. With racial, people gained and embraced a sense of identity. In respect to gender, women are becoming more prominent in not only the average workplace but also in authority roles. Lastly, even though a large swathe of older people are affected, those shielded are on equal playing field. Though still a relevant problem, discrimination has come a long way from what it used to be.