Ignorance Is the Root of Discrimination

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Discrimination is the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories ranging from race, religion, sexual orientation and gender seemingly smaller issues such as weight or height. Despite efforts at eliminating overt forms of discrimination through the years, it remains persuasive in society largely because of ignorance. Willful and/or unintentional ignorance is more often than not, the fundamental reason for discrimination and is the river from which all other reasons- such as tradition –flow.

Religion has been a hot topic in the last decade since the events of September 11, and Islam has quickly become a target for collective hatred and discrimination. There have been uproars in the West over religious attire, as well as stories of Muslims who have had to endure indignities when crossing customs. While these may be seen as forms of security, they are in fact blatant acts of discrimination and tar the image of all Muslims with the same brush. Despite the fact that not all Muslims are extremists, they are treated as such because of the West’s ignorance of Islam. When the general population and even the leaders has little or no knowledge about Islam, they become susceptible to fear-mongering and end up taking extreme, discriminatory actions. This allows individuals such as Fred Phelps (of the Westboro Baptist Church) to take advantage of their ignorance to create further divisions within society, so that it becomes a self-perpetuating problem. This also explains why Muslims are still facing constant discrimination a decade on from September 11.

Gender discrimination in particular, discrimination against women is also still rampant in our society despite increasing talks of gender equality. While discrimination against women is largely attributed to tradition, it is necessary to go beyond that to realize that many traditions are actually based on a lack of education and knowledge. One such example would be the blatant favoritism of males over females...
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