Why Does Discrimination Survive?
You’ve got to learn– oppression is not a phase. It’s not a trend or a quick thing. Oppression is old and ancient, and uprooting it is extremely difficult. Discrimination cannot be compared to a trend such as low rise jeans or scrunchies. When you’re actively valuing one life more than another, one being more than another in any way, it doesn’t happen overnight.
Why is it that even in an advanced society like ours today, it’s normal to expect your mother to clean up the table after eating, or for your sister to get you water? If you don’t experience this, think again. Has anyone you know ever passed off something deeply racist/sexist/discriminatory as a joke? Not everyone will flat out say, a woman is less than a man, or your house-help is a servant. Saying that would be the equivalent of planting another tree of oppression. Small things can help the existing trees grow. Adding some fertilizer here, when you tell your girlfriend she’s being moody, asking if she’s on her period. Adding some water there, when you berate your house-help for not picking up the clothes you threw on the floor just after she cleaned the whole house.
We are all guilty of watering the trees of oppression at some point. It’s easy to point out problems, but harder to address them. So what can you do? Point out the problems when you see them. Awareness is an issue that we can address before ignorance. Some people don’t know how they’re contributing to a problem, so let’s bring them to awareness before we start uprooting all the trees. It's easier when we have more people helping us. So think. Think before you do things. Think when you ask your mom to bring you the remote when she’s working in the kitchen. Go and get it yourself. Help her out, maybe wash the dishes (unless you have a helper, in which case, don’t make their work harder.) Is it really so difficult to put that one t-shirt back into the hamper instead of expecting the people who are expected to do your work for you to do it?
Also, when the people who benefit off of the oppression start to change is when these trees will get uprooted. But why would they? Because life is easier for them when they oppress others. Even though what they need to do is the bare minimum, it’s been easier for them their whole lives, so why would they want to change it? Is it so difficult to change a little bit to release the pressure that’s been on the oppressed all their lives?
If you can’t think of some oppressed parties, here’s a list. Think of how small things you do every day contribute to their oppression.
Women (mothers, sisters)
Children (in Indian culture mainly)
House-help (cleaning ladies at your school, bus ladies, your own domestic help)
These are just off the top of the head. Think of some on your own.