Is Discrimination Getting Any Better? Think Again.
Many organizations are talking about generational differences.
How about generational discrimination?
When we look through history, every decade seems to offer a category in which it becomes OK to attack an entire category of people.
In the 90’s is was the gays.
If any of you think this is a stretch, recall that employers could still fire people for being gay. Insurance companies pressured employers to get rid of anyone diagnosed with HIV. In the sports world, the worst insult you could hurl to someone else involved gender preference.
As the new century dawned, gays were so off limits that in most high schools, the worst thing you could be was a bigot. Except, when it came to fat people.
It seemed to be perfectly acceptable for magazines to show celebrities “packing on the pounds.” People were thrown off of planes for being too heavy. Fat jokes were routinely told in stand-up routines.
So what is our new war?
A new article in The Atlantic Review indicates,
“We are beginning to mistake smarts for human worth.”
Smart people openly mock individuals with lower IQs. Being “stupid” has become the default button in spirited arguments. I can go over to Facebook and find comments like this in the first twenty posts/comments:
“Not the sharpest tool in the shed.”
“Not the brightest bulb on the chandelier.”
“Dumber than a bag of hammers.”
The employment site Monster communicates to customers that above all (more than morals, values, ethics, behavior, experience) hire “smart people.”
What is so cruel about the phenomenon is that our less educated workers are the most at risk in losing jobs to technology.
The intellectually gifted seem to view the rest of the world as their playground. But, finding ways to reeducate all workers, to value all workers will only increase the probability the develop a world in which we want to live.
Consider these facts:
The number one job for men in our country is trucker. Recently Daimler-Benz finished a pilot program in Nevada with driverless trucks. The program has proven to the insurance industry and to products companies that it is safer, cheaper and faster to rely on a technology driven truck. This one technological innovation impacts up to 5.2 million workers.
How smart is it to poke fun at a brother or sister because they were born with a different IQ? It seems that being respectful around DNA issues involving skin color, gender preference and metabolism are now part of the norm.
Politicians pander to the less intellectually gifted by promising more jobs. And, they routinely call each other’s point-of-view “stupid.”
Within the next ten years, we will see re-education become one of the single most critical initiatives – right up there with climate change. If tens of millions of our fellow citizens fall to the sidelines due to change, we are all in deep trouble. I am not proposing handouts here, I am proposing that all of us are responsible for the quality of our world.
Perhaps it is time for all of us to set aside our fears, our discrimination and our ruthlessness to determine how we can help millions of the less gifted find new work, to grow, to learn and become new. We need to be building new vocational education programs, new ways of redeploying workers and perhaps offer tax incentives to organizations that don’t replace entire categories of people with software.
Sure it can be easy to be smug and to feel safe by putting others down for something they cannot control.
But if the rest of us don’t change, the revenge will be terrible because we will have to find ways to address entirely new levels of poverty and malaise throughout our culture.
When it comes to human worth, everyone is equal.
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