Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Discrimination is a Smart Thing to Do

Discrimination is a SMART thing to do...when it is APPLIED CORRECTLY.

First, let me recap where discrimination is STUPID.

The difference between intelligent and stupid discrimination has to do with the FACTS (and lack thereof).

Sometimes, a conversation from the past I had with a friend will haunt me.  I remember telling someone a few years ago that I do not tolerate ANY form of discrimination.  For whatever reason, I replayed that conversation in my head recently, and I realized that my statement really was not quite right.

From the time I was a kid, I have never been a fan of racial prejudice of sexual discrimination, even long before I knew what the word "discrimination" was.  (Later in life, I learned that I detested discrimination based on religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, also.)

Forget whether discrimination is a morally right or wrong thing to do.  That discussion needs to be led by someone who is more qualified to discuss that in general and definitely should come from someone more important to in your life than me.

See Also: My Socks Made Me Think about Discrimination


For instance, if I own a business, I am trying to make as much profit as possible without breaking the law.  I might even add in a requirement that I cannot count profit when it hurts someone else.

If I meet a homosexual Middle Eastern woman who has amazing skills to offer me and my company, I WANT TO HIRE HER.

That seems obvious, but there are still too many people STOP EVALUATING when they see any of the previous things...
(a) homosexual
(b) Middle Eastern
(c) female

Besides being (what is probably) the morally wrong thing to do, that decision will COST YOUR BUSINESS...and make your life less rich.

Today, I still see too many people overlook the FACTS, because they are too busy being blinded by what is UNIMPORTANT (their non-situational related prejudices), which leads me to my next...and MAIN point.


When used correctly, discrimination is what SEPARATES INTELLIGENT PEOPLE from the rest of the crowd.

Discrimination is foolish when we use facts that have nothing to do with the situation but everything to do with our decision making.

Discrimination is the PERFECT thing to do when we are using facts that have everything to do with the situation and use those facts to make our decision.

For example, if someone applies for a lifeguard position but cannot swim, we are SMART TO DISCRIMINATE against that person.  Pairing the fact that a lifeguard NEEDS to be able to swim with the fact that this applicant CANNOT swim allows us to discriminate against people who cannot swim.

We are--in fact--discriminating against people who cannot swim.  In this particular case, that is an intelligent thing to do.  We used the facts that were pertinent to the situation--not unrelated facts that reflect our feelings from entirely different situations.

We might like this non-swimming applicant very much as a person, and we might find a way to make things work for this particular applicant.  We might enroll this applicant in swimming lessons or find another, more suitable position for him.  However, as things stand today, we are smart to avoid hiring this applicant who cannot swim.  That is intelligent discrimination.

Now if we made a decision about accounting based on the fact that we personally have no respect for people who do not know how to swim, does that seem to be an intelligent use of discrimination?  In this case, does the fact that this person does not know how to swim really relate to a person's ability to be an accountant.

Key Question: Are we forming a judgment about this person's ability to do something based on facts we have that RELATE to the situation...or ones that should mean nothing about the situation but seem to mean everything to us when making our decision?

We NEED to discriminate...based on things that matter... not on things that do not.

A SMART person discriminates based on what is important to the situation.
-Will this person add to the company's profit line?
-Will this person add something pleasant to the customer's experience?
-Will this person reduce stress for fellow coworkers?

A smaller person discriminates based on what is important to him or her, regardless of the situation.

So I really was wrong when I told my friend that I do not tolerate any form of discrimination.  I just do not (want to) tolerate FOOLISH forms of discrimination.

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