Discrimination & Context

There are things that sometimes strike me as odd. One of these things is the negative meaning that is often given to words like discrimination. In the context of human nature, it can be learned or inherited behaviour. Discrimination simply assists the daily decision-making process.

I mention human nature here, just look at older civilisations and civilisations of today. There were and are hunters and gatherers. In ancient times hunters travelled for prey and gatherers settled to cultivate their natural environment. In the 21st century hunters are people who are often career oriented people who create and wait for the next best opportunity, emphasis on growth and success. 21st century gatherers often settle somewhere to rely on their environment with the emphasis on building relations for a stable existence. There were also semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers who combined hunting and gathering.

As people face a situation in which they have to choose between A and B they have to distinguish between the advantages and disadvantages of the options in their own interest, be it short-term or long-term. This process is discrimination in a nutshell and this particular process can be applied to many situations with people, objects, ideas, nature and so forth. Options A and B can extend to C and more, situations vary.

In making decisions people can hunt for the best opportunities or can settle in a situation in which certain options are gathered. Then they filter through the options, summarise the best options and choose one option. Replace the words “filter through” with “discriminate” or “distinguish” and the meaning does not change.

Often I read about discrimination this and discrimination that. Thing is, there are usually good reasons for being precise in what you want unless it makes no sense at all. When something usually does not make sense it goes against common sense in a given society or culture. In case of corruption, racism, nepotism and sexism connected to discrimination, discrimination is generally unacceptable in Western culture. When you want the best person for the job, discrimination is desired.

The issue of discrimination is a sensitive one. It depends on the context and the people involved. Situations vary and people have reasons and interests. When the issue of discrimination is raised it helps to look at the essential decisions and the particular decision-making process involved. It is all a matter of perspective despite the dilemmas and paradoxes…