Friday, 19 June 2015

DISCRIMINATION… AND WHY IT HURTS

Readers share their experiences of coming up against prejudice and discrimination…

Alice says:
I am French but my family are Polish, and I have a Polish surname. At school, people continually pronounce my surname wrong to make me angry, but two years ago it was worse… I was in a class where I had no friends and I was a victim of racism. People would say things like, 'Polish people do not have a place in France,' and other statements like that. It was horrible for me as I am totally French, it was just my grandfather who was Polish. I am not ashamed of my origins at all but it made me angry as France is just as much my country as theirs. I hope that things will change if we go on challenging the prejudice; one day racism will be wiped out.

Emily says:
Today at school we were supposed to revise for our SATs but then a teachers told us to change into our PE kits and we all got excited. Then a footballer from Burton Albion FC came in to the school, but it turned out that only boys could join in with the training. So while we studied for exams, the boys played games. How sexist! In this day and age they should make a point of treating us as equals.

Chloe says:
In primary school I was playing basketball when a boy threw the ball right in my face. I told the teacher and she said, 'You shouldn't be doing that kind of thing, you're a young girl.' Things like that happened over and over at that school… why shouldn't girls play basketball? Crazy.

Tessa says:
I am transgender… I am a girl, but I was born with the body of a boy. For the last few years I have been living as a girl which has made me feel a lot better, but not everybody understands and they can be very cruel. Some people call me 'he-she' and 'freak' and make a point of avoiding me, as if they cannot  stand to be anywhere near me. It hurts a lot, as you can imagine.

Rebecca says:
At my school, a professional boxer comes in every week to talk to the first year boys and teach them self-defence. The girls have to sit in class. When we asked the teacher one week why we girls couldn't do the same, he refused to answer.

Camille says:
I have been targeted by homophobes multiple times. I made the mistake of telling a friend about this and confessing that I liked a girl in our year. The following week at school everyone was staring at me and the girl I liked slapped me and made some very hurtful comments. There has been a lot of prejudice and nastiness since then. I try to ignore it, but it's not always easy.

Domi says:
Our CSPE teacher (civic, social and political education) was teaching us about Amnesty International's list of basic human rights, and I noticed she kept on skipping the clause that says 'Everyone has a right to marry and have a family.' I realised that she was leaving this out because she was against gay marriage, and I challenged her. She went very red and leaned in and hissed at me that marriage should be between a man and a woman and that anything else was, I quote, 'Disgusting, and ruining society.' She said so many spiteful, cruel things that day I will never forget it, and ever since she has marked my work down, I think for disagreeing with her. She was clearly so full of prejudice and hatred, and it felt quite personal to me as I myself do not fit into her narrow belief set.

Top illustration by reader Rebecca; bottom one by reader Aine - many thanks for the fab images, girls!

Cathy says: Ouch… being picked on or discriminated against for just being you is no joke at all. Have YOU ever had to cope with prejudice or discrimination? COMMENT BELOW to have your say.

10 comments:

  1. I'm bi, but I haven't come out because of the horrible coments made on the school bus. There are some people in school who have come out as bi, but none of them are on my bus.

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    1. You shouldn't need to "come out". Just tell your parents and close friends how you feel, and in time people will learn and accept it. You don't need to make a big thing about telling everyone - you should be free to just be yourself. Don't tell the people on your bus; it's none of their business. But don't let that stop you from telling other people. Just tell those people who can accept it and deserve to know, and if you act like it's normal and fine, they'll realise that it really is.

      And if the people on the bus bother you, then tell someone. It's the bus driver's job to do something about it, and hopefully he will, once you tell him what's happening. If he doesn't do something to stop the bullies, then tell a teacher. They won't let the bullies know that it was you who told them, and they'll do something to sort it out.

      Lastly, just remember that there is nothing wrong with you. The people who say otherwise are the ones who have a problem.

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  2. I've had to put up with discrimination against my disability (deafness) and my sexuality or lack of it and my romantic orientation and my general oddness. Sometimes it does get to me but most of the time I shrug it off. One person's opinion, however wrong it is, shouldn't affect me although I do get mad about homophobia and transphobia because it affects a large section of the population, not just me. I try and stay calm though. Some people just aren't educated on how to be respectful and some people are just plain full of hatred which is sad. No point arguing with them when they've set their mind on hating. I do think education on accepting diversity is important, especially in primary school when kids are learning right from wrong. If you try and hide differences from kids, when they come across people who are different, they might not know how to treat them (apparently "like a human being" doesn't cross their minds). There was an FTM transgender guy at my school. Before he came out, he was super popular and the class clown, everyone thought he was hilarious. Then he came out in S1 and started presenting as male. He was the same as before - funny and witty as well as super smart - but he wasn't popular anymore. Teachers gossiped about him, saying he shouldn't be allowed to mix with "normal children". Kids yelled names at him like "he-she" and "man-beast". He didn't even know these kids but suddenly his gender identity was their business because it was outside the norm. By the last year of school, his friend group were subtly pushing him out and excluding him from social occasions. He's on hormones and needs surgery in the future - doesn't he have enough to deal with without being discriminated against? I just don't see why people can't just accept diversity. What good comes from being racist or sexist or homophobic or transphobic? There's enough hatred in the world without everyone adding to it.

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    1. Hi, I read the comment you made on another post a few weeks ago where you said how you were asexual. I'm starting to think I might be the same way; I'm sixteen, and I've never had a crush on anyone before, male or female. I'm not sure what that means, if it will ever change or what I can do. Would you be able to tell me more about what it's like? I don't really have anyone who I can talk to as I've never told anyone about it, and I'm really confused.

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    2. Hi Em! Asexuality is a spectrum from having very little sexual desire to being absolutely repulsed by intercourse and wanting nothing to do with it. I don't know what sexual desire is supposed to feel like because I've never felt it but I guess you'd know if you had it or not. Especially at an age where it seems like it's all your peers care about. I never got that obsession! Asexuals can have separate romantic orientations. They can be aromantic (that may be the case with you as you don't get crushes but you'll know better than I do) which is having no interest in romantic relationships and there's heteroromantic - interested in romantic relationships with the opposite sex - and homoromantic - interested in romantic relationships with the same sex - and biromantic - I'm sure you know where this is going! To clarify, romantic relationships can generally be classed as kissing and cuddling but nothing further. I guess people can have different definitions though. There's more information on AVEN which is Asexuality Visibility something-or-other. Just type AVEN into Google and it should come up! It also might be interesting to look up the Kinsey Scale. Some people think it's a bit outdated and it's not a definite answer but it's a sexuality spectrum. Asexuals are X on the spectrum (so technically, not on the spectrum at all). The questions should be something to think about in any case. So do a bit of research and see if this is definitely something you identify with. Good luck!

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  3. It makes me so annoyed that prejudice and discrimination still exist in todays society! People should be able to make their own decisions and have a right to live how they want.

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  4. some of the lads in my class are kinda sexist about certain sports and stuff, saying things like,"oh, girls are rubbish at kickboxing", and all that. some people think that only girls should do home ec and art and music at secondary, while woodwork and and tech graph are supposedly for boys. well, tech graph is a lot of mathematical stuff, so why don't they just ban girls from doing maths? woodwork and art are both arts and crafts, so what if a girl prefers working with wood and a boy is a genius with paper? as for boys not doing home ec, you might as well stop your dad from making heavenly burgers on friday. I didn't even know racism was a thing until about 3 years ago. it's even more pointless in probably the most racist area in the world- the US. all the racist white americans are like,"you people aren't true americans, so we're better than you". well! do they know something: THEY aren't true americans either! they come from europe. but whats the point anyway? whites bullying blacks because they have dark skin! and then going off with a bottle of spray tan to try to get it! have you ever heard the likes? it goes the same for black racists too. what about the other types of racism? personally, I've always thought it would be kinda cool to have a friend from aussie, or japan, or africa, or a really cool place in europe or america. disability! whats wrong with that? it's not their fault! they should be treated with the most care, when really, and sadly, it's more the opposite. homophobia and transphobia. does it affect my life? no. does it affect other people's lives? yes. honestly, I actually don't care. if that's how they feel, leave them be. why poke your nose in, anyway, if it's nothing to do with you. you can't help what you're like, or who you fall for. some people just have issues. and those people who have them with someone who isn't straight, has a disability, is from somewhere else or anything else are attention seekers. they're jealous of attention these people have. and remember: people who try to bring you down only do it because you're higher up than them. P.S. 1. Camille, I never heard that name before and it sounds French or something, but it's AWESOME! 2. Rebecca and Áine, you 2 are very talented. :)

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  5. I've been discriminated against quite a few times, and all of it seems to have been when I was an air cadet.

    The Commanding Officer (the guy in charge of the squadron) would refuse to put me forward for courses and promotions, simply because I am a woman, and he didn't think there was any place for women in the military. He would purposely make my life difficult for me, and challenge me unfairly, and use an opportunity he got to put me down, simply because I was not a man. (And yet, he would favour his favourite female cadet over everyone else!)

    The Code of Conduct for the air cadets itself is like something out of the 1950s. Virtually everything now acceptable in modern society is against the code of conduct. Any form of 'abnormality' at all, even if it means you think differently to others, is unacceptable to them.

    Until December last year, it was against the code of conduct for LGBT people to join the cadets. The penalty for being an LGBT cadet was dismissal. It still is against the code of conduct for anyone with a mental disability or severe learning difficultly to join. It is down to the squadron if they accept people with physical disabilities, depending on if the squadron is built to be accessible for them, and if the Commanding Officer thinks the cadets will respond positively to them.

    I myself have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and I was dismissed as a cadet just over a year ago, as it is against the code of conduct for people with mental health issues to join the cadets. Because of this, it meant that both the Commanding Officer and the Wing Commander (the guy that is responsible for all of the squadrons in an area such as county) were willing to turn a blind eye to bullying, as they saw it as 'acceptable' in this instance. When I re[ported it, they merely brushed it off as 'team building banter'. There's a big difference.

    It seems to me as if they are trying to build a 'perfect' group of people that fit the 'blonde haired blue eyed' mould, and they're going to do it by discriminating against people, whilst claiming to be against things such as discrimination.

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  6. this is the case at my school at break we have football coaches from our local football team . seams fine right ????????
    well it would be but girls and boys have different days when we all grouped together and went up to the coach he said girls and boys should be seprat but why is my question girls are just as good as boys!!!!!!!!

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  7. One of the boys in my class is really sexist. One day I was crying because I was really upset about something someone had said about me, and he saw me and said "Oh, have you lost one of your pink dollies?" Then he turned to the boy next to him and said "That's all GIRLS ever think about.." It isn't the first time either that I've been exposed to sexism. There is a school football team that I really wanted to join, but the teacher running it said it was 'boys only' me and loads of other girls were really annoyed and protested and did a petition against sexism. The teacher was afraid that we'd tell our parents he was sexist and he'd get sacked, so he announced that he would start a girls football team too. I still don't get why we need separate teams.. But anyway, the boys team have played in over twenty matches, but the girls have played in only one! Oh yes, and the teacher has basically forgotten about the girls team and is spending every lunchtime training the boys team but not the girls team. How is that fair???

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