State of Racism and Gender Discrimination
What is discrimination? Discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of a different person or groups of people based on certain characteristics. In the United States there are seven protected characteristics or classes that are defined by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination Employment Act, and the American Disabilities Act that can not be discriminated against: race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, and disability. This paper focuses on two of the protected classes: race and gender discrimination. What is racism? Racism (also known as discrimination against a race or races) is a belief that all members of one racial group have superior characteristics or abilities specific to that group; it allows the ranking of races based on superiority and implies the importance of one race over the others (“Racism” 2008). Supremacy ideology is core to racism. In the 20th century, the face of racism was largely black and white; however, in recent times there have been examples of racism against Native Americans, Asian Americans, African Americans, Latin Americans, and some other immigrant groups (“Racism in the United States” 2008). Today, racism has become multi-colored and multicultural. Racism and racial discrimination are very powerful forces which unfortunately harm the whole economy. Racism can take place in many areas such as the job market, housing market, educational system, and health care services. Even today, racial discrimination against minorities (especially African Americans) can be found in the housing market (i.e. making renting apartments, taking out mortgages, and buying houses extremely difficult or even impossible in some areas). This is not to say, that there has not been significant attempts and progress made, in order to eliminate racial discrimination. Racial discrimination and segregation used to be legal across the southern states of the United States (“Martin Luther King and the fight against racism in the US” 2008). Many people have tried to stop racial discrimination throughout the history of the United States. One extremely influential and pivotal leader that many people are familiar with is Martin Luther King. While this paper is not a historic telling of Martin Luther King, his ideals are as influential today as they were then. He did not want people to be judged by the color of their skin but by the capability of their character. He tried to revive the Civil Rights movement in the mid 1950s. However, he was tragically assassinated on the balcony of his hotel in Memphis, Tennessee (“Martin Luther King and the fight against racism in the US” 2008). After his passing and after many fundamental changes in the constitution, African American communities are no longer limited in their rights from society (“Martin Luther King Jr.” 2008). Today, the eyes of ethics and the highest laws of the land bids society to stop racial discrimination in all its forms, along with other types of discriminations defined under title VII, ADA, and ADEA. Gender or Sex Discrimination is the belief that one gender is more valuable than the other, and can also create doubts in the abilities of a certain sex and exacerbate stereotypes (“Sexism" 2008). In most countries around the world, gender discrimination is illegal in most circumstances (Manohar 2008). In the United States, Title VII protects against gender and sexual discrimination. There are two types of gender discrimination: disparate treatment and disparate impact (“Gender or Sex Discrimination” 2008). Disparate treatment is treating people differently because of his or her sex (“Gender or Sex Discrimination” 2008). The other is disparate impact, when the company policy does not include certain individuals or does not include everyone equally (“Gender or Sex Discrimination” 2008). The fire department is a good example of disparate impact. The qualifications of the fire...
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