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We are all discriminators



The movie, 'Hidden Figures', was lauded and praised in the media earlier this year for its portrayal of the racial discrimination in the '60s in the US in the setting of three black women scientists and engineers at NASA as protagonists. This was praised because a lot of us believe that everyone ought to be treated with the same dignity and given the same opportunities irrespective of the colour of their skin, which doesn't always happen.

Stories and articles and movies that address such discrimination against people based on their sexuality, religious beliefs, gender, etc are all lauded. For the same reasons. Because the reality is still that there is differential treatment, either implicitly or explicitly.

But this kind of discrimination is still affecting only a minor fraction of the world's population.

There is another kind of discrimination that is widely prevalent today that affects more than half of the world's population. And nobody really talks about it.

This is the discrimination based on nationality.

Just like nobody has control over what colour their skin is or what their gender is, nobody has control over what country they are born into either. And yet, depending on what country someone is born into, they could either have quality free healthcare or they could struggle to find a qualified doctor to treat them (that too only when they can afford the treatment). Depending on what country someone is born into, they could have free education or they could struggle to find a school that has teachers. Depending on what country someone is born into, they could have a world of opportunities opening up to them, or they could grow up and grow old and die facing a brick wall with no door all their lives.

It is naive to think that these are the doings of the respective governments of these countries and it is in their own hands to make the changes necessary. Because it isn't the case.

The reason richer countries can afford their citizens these luxuries is because they are exploiting many of the poorer countries - for labour, for natural resources. There have been many proven instances of companies in richer countries propping up corrupt governments and leaders in resource rich and cheap labour rich countries where they operate so that they can continue to serve their own customers back home cheap goods which get bought more and the cycle repeats.

If you stand for equality and no discrimination, think about how limited the discrimination is when it is about skin colour, gender and sexuality, and how much more it is when you are buying shares of or working for or buying products from companies that barely pay minimum wage in the countries they manufacture or mine for resources.

Those who supported Brexit are discriminators of this kind. When someone else is willing to do the same work they do for cheaper, rather than wondering why someone would do that and how they can bring in equality there, they voted to shut these people out of opportunities. When people in the US voted for Trump or when they think that jobs need to be brought back to America, it is the exact same mentality in play. When people want to clamp down on immigration and make it harder for people from poorer countries to move to richer countries, this same mentality is partly at play again.

In the current setting, we are all discriminators. We all support equality only in some aspects.

We will really have equality and no discrimination only when we have one world. One world where everyone has the same minimum wage for the same kind of work. One world where everyone has the same access to healthcare and education. One world where everyone has equal access to opportunities.

Irrespective of what country they are born into.

That's my dream.

But the world I see around me doesn't encourage me in the least bit that we will one day get there.

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