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Discrimination In a Word?

February 13, 2009

Carol Thatcher is the daughter of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Until recently, she appeared regularly on a morning program in the United Kingdom called “The One Show.” It has been reported that Carol Thatcher remarked that tennis player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga reminded her of a “golliwog.” This term refers to a minstrel rag doll and has been used in Britain as slang to refer to blacks.

Recently Prince Harry referred to his friend in the army as his “little Paki friend.” Paki is a slang term referring to Pakistanis. Prince Harry, who also wore a Nazi uniform to a costume party, has since apologized. Some people have wondered if such behavior might be an older generational phenomena largely manifested in the British upper class. Other people argue that racism is a serious persisting problem in most societies. Still others seriously condemn this type of response as an overreaction.

Discussion Topics:
1) Do you think levels of racism vary from generation to generation? Do you think specific groups targeted by racism can also vary from generation to generation?

2) If prejudice is an idea and discrimination is an act, then can someone discriminate without being prejudiced? Provide an example.

3) Do you think people’s age or social experiences (groups created based on these variables are what sociologists call cohorts) should be used to determine blameworthiness for discriminatory behavior?

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3 comments

  1. Yes, I think that people’s age or social experiences should be used to determine blameworthiness for discriminatory behavior. I think that if a person is raised in an environment that all it’s very common to say a prejudice word, or even talk with racism then that person is going to grow up and not understand why it’s wrong. They are going to just accept that that’s the way everyone talks. I mean sure they may later on move away and learn the difference, but since it has been engrained in them since they were younger it’s natural to them. So, in response to the question, yes I think people’s age or social experiences should be used to determine blameworthiness for discriminator behavior. The time period that a person grew up in can affect what they say or do, and how they impact the younger generation.


  2. I strongly believe that racism varies from generation to generation. Growing up in a certain houshold that has these beliefs of a particular race is likely to pass it down. Different targets by racism can also vary, but as an African American I notice that we will always be a target, no matter what we may accomplish.


  3. I believe that racism varies from generation to generation. There are families that have fathers and grandfathers who are racist to every race except white. I think it is worse with the older generations in a family and they pass down what they believe on their children. The children grow up thinking this is right and have no problems expressing it. Specific targets of racism can also vary but they will no doubt be targeted for something just so people that grew up in that sort of environment will have something to say.



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