Treated Like a Nobody
“During my first year at primary school in Spain, the other children in my class kept calling me names, since I was much shorter than they were. I would go home crying nearly every day.”—Jennifer, a daughter of Filipino immigrants.
“When I moved to a new school, white fellow students called me insulting names. I knew they wanted to provoke me into a fight. Somehow, though, I kept my cool—but inside I felt hurt and rejected.”—Timothy, an African-American.
“When I was seven years old, the Igbo and Hausa people in Nigeria clashed with each other. The hatred affected me, and I began to make fun of a boy in my class who was Hausa, even though he had been my friend.”—John, a member of the Igbo ethnic group.
“My missionary partner and I were sharing the Bible’s message with our neighbors when children, egged on by the local clergy, began to follow us and throw stones at us. The clergy wanted us to leave town.”—Olga.
HAVE you experienced the indignity of unfair discrimination, which tends to be based on prejudice? Perhaps it was because of your skin color, your religion, your economic status, your gender, or even your age. Those who are regularly treated prejudicially often live in fear of further ill-treatment. When they walk by a group of people, go into a store, move to a new school, or attend a social gathering, they may become sick with anxiety.
In addition, victims of prejudice and discrimination may have trouble getting a job, or they may receive second-rate medical care, an inferior education, and fewer social privileges and legal rights. When officially sanctioned, discrimination can lead to such evils as ethnic cleansing and genocide. An ancient example of an attempted genocide is found in the Bible book of Esther. Note the role of hatred and prejudice.—Esther 3:5, 6.
Bigotry and intolerance may persist even where there are laws against discrimination. Says a former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights: “Six decades after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights . . . , the principles of equality and non-discrimination are still far from a universal reality.” That is disturbing because immigration and the influx of refugees have significantly altered the demographics of many lands.
So, is an equitable society just a dream? Or can prejudice and discrimination be overcome? The following articles address these questions.