The Power of Unintentional Discrimination Essay

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Racism and sexism are both examples of discrimination that happen daily in contemporary society. Unfortunatel many instances of discrimination go unnoticed and unchecked because the society, more specifically the United States, is supposedly past the era of discriminatory practices in work, education and day to day living. "In fact, racism and sexism can be unintentional as well as intentional and good people who mean well can inadvertently say things that are racist and sexist and homophobic" (Rothenberg 210). Intentional discrimination is what comes to mind when most people think of discrimination. In other words, intentional discrimination is a purposeful, systematic way of thinking in which one places a group of people on a…show more content…
It can be something as simple as not allowing a young boy to play with a Barbie doll because he is a boy and should not play with those toys in the parent's opinion. It can be much greater such as the rezoning of school districts leading to an imposed resegregation along class and race lines. In this sense, unintentional discrimination is based off of the societal norms that have been developed over time and engrained into a person's way of thinking. "These actions, all of which have a discriminatory impact on minorities and women, are not necessarily acts of conscious predjudice. Because such actions are so often considered part of the normal way of doing things, people have difficulty recognizing that they are discriminating..." (Rothenberg 216-17). In this sense, unintentional discrimination differs from intentional discrimination because it is seen as benign. It is the way things have always been done, thus it becomes more difficult to recognize and change. Racism, sexism, homophobia and other types of discrimination, whether intentional or unintentional, have something in common based on the fact that they inextricably intertwined. Intentional discrimination in the past, both structured and individual acts, has led to a self-perpetuating cycle which gives advantages to the majority thus creating a system of unintentional discrimination within our society today. When view the past, it is easy to pin point acts of discrimination because they are so blatant.
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