Non-discrimination is nothing if not gray

There is no clear line between discrimination and non-discrimination. In real life, there may not even be a good case for strictly applying the mantra of non-discrimination to every situation around us. Sometimes we need to discriminate. Thirty questions to show you how difficult it is to draw a line. Full essay.

7 Responses to “Non-discrimination is nothing if not gray”


  1. 1 Fouridine 6 October 2009 at 22:21

    A comment on what your friend said about idealism. I think she probably meant by Singapore’s standards, you are pretty idealistic? Since in Singapore there is an impression there people are politically apathetic, the standard for being idealistic is pretty low perhaps? Any blogger who blogs about or have strong opinions about politics and social issues, perhaps, would have the “way above average” idealism by Singapore standards.

  2. 2 Anonymous 6 October 2009 at 23:05

    You have asked difficult questions indeed. I would say Yes to some, No to others and It Depends for many cases. As it is now, the Singapore society often discriminates on the basis of gender and ethnicity.

  3. 3 Kim 7 October 2009 at 04:52

    I thought Jehovah’s witnesses only serve NS as admin staff in the detention barracks and thus the requirement to carry arms is out of the equation?

  4. 4 Teck Soon 7 October 2009 at 11:06

    Please consider posting the questions to a survey site with a link for your readers to actually answer the questions. It would be interesting to see your point proven.

  5. 5 Ape 7 October 2009 at 13:05

    We’ll never get a clear “yes” or “no” answer to all the questions you posted… and no one will carve the answers in stone until it has been challenged openly in court. Even so, it will most likely end up in settlement out of court, thus going back to square one – no definite “yes” or “no”.

    However, ape can offer a universal answer to all these questions and that is “It depends on who needs who”. This answer is all pragmatism and hardly idealist.

  6. 6 Anonymous 8 October 2009 at 10:26

    “19. An airline only hires females for its cabin crew in keeping with its brand image. Is this acceptable?”

    This is actually illegal under U.S. law. See Diaz v. Pan Am (http://cases.justia.com/us-court-of-appeals/F2/442/385/97570/) where the court rejected gender as a bona fide occupational qualification for being a flight attendant simply because passengers preferred female flight attendants.

  7. 7 Mockingbird 8 October 2009 at 17:45

    A way to avoid discrimination based on prejudice is to be able to stand in other people’s shoes.

    “Prejudice, not being founded on reason, cannot be removed by argument” – Samuel Johnson (English 18th Century writer).

    Literature and film help develop this ability. A good read for all children (and some adults) is the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. It’s also a classic film starring Gregory Peck.

    “I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.” ~ from To Kill a Mockingbird


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