Table of Contents:
1. Background info on topic 2. First imagery argument 3. Poetic argument 4. Poetic argument pt. 2 5. Primary solution 6. Video support 7. Children's story 8. Author note
1. My social injustice is Discrimination. Discrimination is the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of age, race, and sex. Everyone discriminates. It’s human instinct. We automatically group things and people based on superficial characteristics, until we know them better. Some think discrimination is always a bad assumption about someone, but that’s wrong. If you assumed a guy was smart because he wears glasses, that’s discrimination. But it’s not necessarily bad, is it? Of course there are bad ways to discriminate people as well. Some infamous ones are the assumption that black people are criminals, sensitive men are gay, etc.
2. I chose this topic because discrimination is a very broad topic. I, obviously, have been discriminated against, like everybody else. But i don’t think that’s why i am doing this. I can handle people judging me, because i can take it. I’m fat? Screw off. I’m a nerd? Whatever. Some people aren’t like that. It means a lot to me, because it sucks to see people discriminated against for no reason other than ignorance. If you look at the patterns of history, it proves that these discriminations have no basis. It also means a lot to me because I discriminate too, automatically, like everyone else. I want to make sure i don’t get carried away, and i catch myself before i go too far with my discriminations. Others should care because anyone and everyone can be discriminated against for something. The definition of discrimination in simple terms is the unjustified assumption about the characteristics of a person, just because of a specific difference. So, no matter who you are, where you are, whether you black, white, or magenta, you can, and probably will, be discriminated against. Also, others should care, so THEY can watch their discriminations.
I chose this picture because I believe it serves as a very important reminder about discrimination. That reminder is that all discrimination is, is materialistic stuff. Superficial characteristics that only go skin deep. You can’t determine how smart someone is by the color of their skin, or any other physical features. You have to dig deep, find who they really are. Now, you will always have the urge to do this. To assume someone is stupid because they are cross-eyed, or automatically distrust someone because of their ethnicity. You have to ignore that. Accept it, and accept it will always be there, but learn how not to act on it until you get to know them better, and you might be surprised.
My two poems that i’m comparing are If We Must Die by Claude Mckay, and Discrimination by Kenneth Rexroth. Both of these poems are concerning discrimination. But one is for, and one is against. Now before I get into more detail, let’s hear the poems in question. First, let’s start with Claude Mckay’s If We Must Die:
If we must die, let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs
Making their mock at our accursed lot
If we must die, oh let us nobly die
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
O kinsmen! We must meet the common foe!
Though far outnumbered let us show us brave
And for their thousand blows deal one death-blow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!
Kenneth Rexroth’s Discrimination:
I don’t mind the human race
I’ve got pretty used to them, in these past twenty five years
I don’t mind if they sit next to me on streetcars
Or eat at the same restaurant, if it’s not at the same table
However, I don’t approve of a women i respect dancing with one of them
I’ve tried asking them to my home, without success
I shouldn’t care to see my own sister marry one
Even if she loved him, think of the children
Their art is interesting, but certainly barbarous
I’m sure if given a chance, they’d kill us all in our beds
And you must admit, they smell
These poems are very deep. They question many of our most ingrained beliefs. The thing is, discrimination is the most ingrained characteristic we have. Now, these poems are actually pretty similar. Of course, they have different titles. Ya, so what if they have different words. Shit, they even have different people writing them. But when it comes down to it, they are interconnected in the closest of ways. It’s almost like I put them in chronological order. I’ll explain how that is soon. So let’s start with #1. You’re up, Claude Mckay! So, this poem is the deeper, and older, and much more well-known of the two. It get’s into different kinds of discrimination. Not like racial and sexual discrimination. Life would be much better if that’s all there was to worry about. No, i’m talking about outright discrimination, and sneaky discrimination. I’m talking about what happens after people start to stand up for themselves and others and start to make changes. You see, when the slaves were emancipated, they thought that was it. They thought it was all over. Well it wasn’t. Then came the Jim Crowe laws. Then came the word “colored”, which in Claude Mckay’s opinion, is worse than the infamous “n” word. That’s what this poem is about, get it? It’s about using the word colored instead of the “n” word. It’s about instituting the Jim Crowe laws to hinder the rights of black people. It’s about segregating instead of enslaving. Basically, what Claude Mckay is trying to say is if you are gonna discriminate, discriminate to the person’s face. Don’t try and be all sly about it, calling them racial slurs behind their backs and treating them differently than others. Call them that shit to their face. Tell them that the reason why they didn’t get the job isn’t because they aren’t qualified, it’s because they have slanted eyes, or kinky hair, etc. Now, i kinda like this poem, because it’s got a sarcastic ring to it. He starts out stating that he does not mind the human race, and he ends up saying that their art is barbarous, and that they smell. Who’s they? Throughout the poem, he uses pronouns, not specifying who he’s talking about. That’s because he’s not talking about anyone specific. He’s interjecting pronouns in to help you get the point, but he doesn’t need to specify. He is trying to make you think deep about what is and isn’t right. Kenneth Rexroth was a white male, born on December 22, 1905, died on June 6, 1982, born in South Bend Indiana. He was an American poet, translator, and critical essayist. So, obviously an educated person. Intelligent. But let’s take a closer look. He was born in 1905. Discrimination was still at large. This man wrote an anti-discrimination poem, and released it, before it was cool, or accepted. He probably got so much shit for that. Threats, bullying, etc. I bet you at least 1 of his friends cut ties with him. People would stare at him as he walked down the streets, whispering behind their hands. People might have even made attempts to hurt him physically. Sound familiar? He’s getting treated like people who are discriminated against. So, this man, who was part of the elite white men of the time, writes this poem about discrimination, like it’s wrong, like it’s unacceptable. Then, all his elite friends start discriminating against him What do you think that did? How did it affect him? It strengthened him. It strengthened his resolve. His need to defend what he knows is right, regardless of what the people of this time tell him time and time again. He was that one person in your class that thinks differently, and get’s made fun of for it, then grows up to found Microsoft. Or that kid that grows up to become the leader of the Peace Corps. He’s a revolutionary in a stadium full of passive people. So, as i stated earlier in this assignment, these poems are deep. They don’t mean the same thing to everyone, because they let you interpret it yourself.
Racism a nasty word that conjures thoughts of oppressive deeds made by man because of creed, It’s not noticed until focused upon, and only then it is said nothing is perfect
It is said that we’ve come so far since before, but not quite that far
But why not that far? It’s in sight, i can see it, you don’t even need a car
There’s a second side to racism, yes it’s true, but let’s not forget about the first side
The side that get’s insulted, and the comments so snide
Discrimination is the mold of today, blackening most people by focusing and helping only some
And then betraying even the ones it promised to hold above the rest, until they succumb
It wasn’t always like that, it had an alternate purpose
It helped us to group things, not just people, to help us find purchase,
But we abused this ability, misinterpreted it’s use
Now i can feel the judgement pouring in the world, a metaphorical noose
But we have legislation, to banish discrimination,
“Equal opportunity” is the current phrase, our incantation,
The rules and laws are needed where some of us would think in ways that denigrates others on this earth, our place. Racism? There is only one human race, no matter what form the face
But some just don’t understand, whether it’s due to mental health or moral compass,
They keep with the unrightful judgement, man it’s starting to make quite a ruckus,
Im tired and beaten and done with the hate
Man, learn from the dark night, for it never discriminates
Discrimination is gonna be around forever. We will never get rid of it. But to solve the issue of discrimination is a completely different endeavor. That is what i will cover with these meager three paragraphs. Now, i believe that just like all materialistic things, discrimination is only as evil, or good, as the person using it. So, to solve the problem with discrimination, we remind people of the other side to discrimination. The side that we were born with. The side that we need.
So, i’m going to simulate a fake project with this goal, to show you. This project will take place in a room with people who are racist. I’m going to divide this into three specific steps. First, the “people” we are doing this project on, would need to get familiar with as many other races as possible. Next, help disprove the stereotypes. Last, explain to them what the true purpose of discrimination. What is the true purpose of discrimination? To unite us.
So, why will this work. Why is this the solution to an age-old problem. Let me walk you through it. The first step is meant to familiarize these people with the other races, because i doubt they spent Friday night playing poker together. The next step is to help disprove the stereotypes. Have these people talk to each other, like really TALK. Give them questions to ask each other, such as “have you been in prison at all in your lifetime”, or “what’s your annual income”, or even “do you enjoy poetry?” This will help them to realize that all these ridiculous stories about other races are just that, ridiculous. Now, the last step is pretty simple. You gather them up again, and have them listen. Ask them what they think and get some responses to see where you are. Then you say this: think about it. Look at this math problem: N x 6=54. We’re gonna pretend we don’t know how to find N. So instead, we go to the other side, and we divide 54 by 6. Now think about discrimination as an equation. There are two sides. The negative side, created and fed by us, and the positive side we were born with. So, since obviously we are not all united, we don’t know THAT side of the equation, so we jump over to the other side.
For My Argument:
1. Michelle said that although it’s not as easy to notice, interpersonal discrimination is just as bad, if not worse than, formal discrimination
2. Michelle agrees with me that there should be action taken against interpersonal discrimination.
3. Last but not least, she agrees that discrimination is still at large today, just in a different form.
Against My Argument:
1: Michelle also believes that discrimination is not natural, it is learned, contrary to my opinion.
2: Michelle says in the video that there is no permanent solution to negative discrimination.
3: Finally, she clearly states that no one can change your discriminatory tendencies but yourself. I believe that sometimes it takes other people pushing you too.
Have you ever heard the word discrimination? It’s a big, tough word, but it’s still important to learn about. Discrimination means the unjust treatment of different people, especially because of race, age, or sex. Wow, that’s a pretty tough definition to understand. Luckily for you, i’m going to explain it in a simpler way.
Okay, say there’s a man walking into a store, and asks for a job. The boss immediately smiled and nodded. He leaves and comes back with papers to get a job there. Five minutes after he leaves, a woman walks in asking for a job. The boss stands there frowning, then tells her there are no more jobs, even though there is. He discriminated against the women.
It doesn’t have to be gender. It could be that one has light skin and one has dark. It could even be that someone is a different age as the other. No matter what, they are forms of discrimination, and that’s wrong. You should always give people the chance to prove themselves before you judge them.
Oh, you thought we were done? No, there is lots more to learn about discrimination. Now we will learn about how discrimination has changed over the years. A long time ago, discrimination was very different. People would make other people work for no money, just because of the color of their skin. They were slaves, and they were treated badly in many different ways for the color of their skin at that time. Now, it’s not that bad at all. But it’s not good yet either. After we put a stop to all that, some people decided to try and find a sneaky way to discriminate against them. They did, too. They made tons of laws that wouldn’t let African Americans do certain stuff, like sit on the front of the bus, or eat in the same area or even restaurants as white people. Now that that was stopped, people try and discriminate by not giving people a job for unfair reasons, or just being plain mean. They don’t realize that discrimination isn’t meant to help us hate each other, but to love each other. See, discrimination is now helping us see what splits us apart. It’s meant to help us see what brings us together. So how do we do this? How do we open all those people’s eyes to the truth, before they cause too much damage to the bonds we share as humans? That’s up to all the little boys and girls reading this book. Just to read and understand this, you guys have to be bright, so im counting on you. You are the future generation. You are what is gonna make up our best and brightest of yet another generation, and we need you to spread the love and positive discrimination. If you can do that, we might have a chance of turning back the tide of negative discrimination. Thanks for reading guys!
This assignment has caused me to think in ways i never would have before. Before i started this assignment, i hardly thought about social injustices in general, let alone a specific one. I always thought racial discrimination was extinct by now, when really it just evolved. I never knew gender discrimination was still a problem either. I mean sure, i knew that it happened every once in awhile, but i never understood the weight of the matter. Now i do.