Okay, there’s discrimination, then there’s discrimination.
Merriam-Webster.com has these 3 definitions.
- the practice of unfairly treating a person or group of people differently from other people or groups of people
- the ability to recognize the difference between things that are of good quality and those that are not
- the ability to understand that one thing is different from another thing
The first definition is widely used. Title VII of the CRA of 1964, and similar laws outlaw this kind of discrimination. We can’t treat people “less than” because of their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age (over 40), pregnant condition, or genetic information.
However, we can discriminate! And we SHOULD! That is, using the last two definitions!
When we hire new employees, we discriminate on the bases of credentials, experience, and potential. We discriminate on the basis of quality. Employers filter out bad applicants and consider good ones. This is a form of discrimination, but it is not unlawful. In fact, this particular form of discrimination makes sense.
When we are able acknowledge John’s height, Tya’s talent, and Malina’s sense of humor, we have discrimination. This is not a bad thing.
John may not want to be treated differently because he is 6’9”, but come on, you kinda notice it, don’t you? Not a justifiable reason to ask whether he plays basketball, tho.
Tya can more than sing better than most! You’ve heard her. She doesn’t mind if you compliment her.
Malina is hilarious most of the time. She knows it. You know it. Consider using her when punching up (comedy writing term for making something funnier) the boss’s speech.
- Let people be themselves.
- Recognize the things that make us different.
- Don’t allow people to be affected badly based on things protected under the law.