It is no longer new that people are sometimes discriminated against because of their differences and are, therefore, not able to express themselves fully as human beings.
Diversity is the state of being composed of differing element:
The inclusion of people of different races, cultures e.t.c. people who are different in size, shape, clothing worn, schools attended, sports played, interests, nationality, political affiliation, ethnicity, religion, colour, career chosen, physique, disabilities, talents, ideology, physiology, level of wealth/poverty, values, etc.
When we acknowledge and discuss similarities and differences, it helps young people understand each other better.
In a large country like Nigeria, it is possible to observe many types of diversity. The differences may be subtle, such as the way foods may be seasoned in one family. Dissimilarity may also be blatant, as in the difference in the language spoken.
Examples of the diversity observable in Nigeria include differences in:
- Marriage custom
- Burial custom
- Distribution of resources
- Music and dance
Let's also consider what discrimination means.
Discrimination means treating a person or group of persons differently from others, especially depriving them of rights and power. Young people frequently hear about discrimination and sometimes conceive of it as only dealing with ethnicity or gender. However, people are discriminated against on the basis of many things including: gender, appearance, religion, disability, social class, sexual orientation, and ethnicity. While discrimination is often thought of in terms of job opportunities, it can take many forms. When young people understand that discrimination, in all of its forms, affects peoples lives, they learn not to discriminate and are less willing to tolerate discrimination from others.
Recognizing that people are dissimilar is not discrimination. We can see and experience differences without thinking or reacting in a negative way.
Discrimination often occurs when the person is treated in a way that deprives him/her of self-esteem, way of life, or personal power and rights..
Discrimination occurs due to many of the following reasons:
- Academic status
- Finacle status
- Living arrangements
- Family structure
- Sexual orientation
- Religious beliefs
When there is a difference between people and their values, we are likely to see some discrimination. One of the more obvious forms of discrimination is that based on gender. In many cultures, males and females are treated differently.
There are differences of course between men and women, but in those cultures where men are given or take more power, women are often diminished in their ability to speak, to control the decision around their own lives, to engage in partnership with a husband and to own property, among other things.
There are usually severe consequences of discrimination. The person who are most times discriminated against may:
- Develop low self-esteem and even feel helpless.
- Have unequal opportunities, confining them to limited life experiences and advancement
- Lack initiative
- Develop physical and emotional problems
- Be looked at with suspicion
- Be harmful to the society
- React with anger and commit crimes or violence against others
- Have no sense of self-respect or personal safety.
There is also a way of assisting victims of discrimination.
The sources are:
Family- children can go to their family for support on things such as language, race and religious differences.
School- Teachers can set examples of respect and encouragement.
Agencies- voluntary Organisations ( and even security agencies ) fight against discrimination which is against the law such as racial discrimination.
It is important therefore, to accept people, regardless of their differences to avoid the above listed consequences. Recognizing differences brings interest, creativity and excitement to our daily lives. We should have the right to individuality, the right to accept everyone.
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