by Ananya Nigam.
This year the theme of my school performance was discrimination. I found it a very interesting topic but it also brought a few questions to my mind. Firstly, what exactly is discrimination? At first I thought that it had quite a straight forward meaning, discrimination is treating someone unfairly or unequally because of one or more personal characteristics. However, could it be discriminating if a teacher thinks that one student is smarter than the other and is slightly lenient on the other student? Is that still discrimination or does that not come under that category? Is it discrimination only if you discriminate because of the common characteristics like race, caste or gender, or can discrimination be for anything?
In my school play, we mostly stressed on the standard ideas of discrimination such as caste or race, but that got me thinking. Doesn’t discrimination happen almost everyday in our lives, customs or traditions? I agree that that through the ages, the extent of discrimination had decreased quite a lot. Sati has been banned, a lot of woman have come quite far and have a lot more freedom than before, however I still think that there is still so much discrimination in our lives. Though quite a few schools teach the kids that girls and boys are equal, it must be quite hard to remove the ideology that most children have had in their minds for so long. That blue is a boy’s colour and if they are seen wearing pink, they will be teased, that girls can cry and be weak but boys can’t. Even things like fairy tales give the idea that the girls who are princesses are ‘damsels in distress’ and the princes are supposed to save them. Even simple things like that give the wrong idea from the time kids are young and read them. I think that, though the extent of gender discrimination has reduced, it still hasn’t completely decreased and might never be eliminated. I myself have experienced and seen a lot of instances where boys are treated differently from girls, sometimes where the person is unaware of it. There are also small instances of discrimination in our lives which most people overlook. An example of this is the discrimination between kids and adults. I have noticed lots of instances where the things adults say are taken more seriously than the things kids say.
Another, perhaps the most interesting question which came to my mind, was whether discrimination could ever be good. When you hear the word discrimination, you always think of it as an entirely bad thing, and I agree with that. Discrimination is horrible and can be extremely bad and hurtful, but the question is is it always and constantly a bad thing? Could it ever be helpful? If you take the earlier example I gave, where a teacher is slightly lenient on a student that might be less capable than another student. This might help the less capable student and encourage him/her more. If the teacher treated both these students the same, the less capable student might have felt discouraged which might have made her/him think that she/he is bad or worse than the other students. Another thing to think about is whether discrimination is ever needed. For example, if a group of people are standing in a queue, is it fair to let the senior citizens go to the front of the queue as it might be hard for them to stand in line for so long, or is it unfair for the others? Is this discrimination, or is it ok to discriminate in some instances?