Discrimination against fat people is so endemic, most of us don’t even realise it’s happening
When we think of prejudice and discrimination, most of us tend to think of overt attacks, harassment, or discriminatory behaviour. Blatant examples of prejudice do still occur with depressing frequency, but for most members of stigmatised groups, it is not these experiences that shape their daily lives. Rather, belonging to a socially stigmatised group means travelling through a world that is rife with multiple small, sometimes subtle or apparently inconsequential reminders of your devalued status, known as microaggressions.
As a weight stigma researcher, I focus on the experiences of fat people (many fat rights activists prefer the word “fat” and use it as a descriptive terms and not as an insult) but microaggressions define the lived experience of all groups devalued by society. Microaggressions can come from anywhere at any time. For a fat person, this might be:
- When they get on a bus and the person sitting next to an empty seat scowls at them or pointedly places their bag on the seat;
When we think of prejudice and discrimination, most of us tend to think of overt attacks, harassment, or discriminatory behaviour. Blatant examples of prejudice do still occur with depressing frequency, but for most members of stigmatised groups, it is not these experiences that shape their daily lives. Rather, belonging to a socially stigmatised group means travelling through a world that is rife with multiple small, sometimes subtle or apparently inconsequential reminders of your devalued status, known as microaggressions. As a weight stigma researcher, I focus on the experiences of fat people (many fat rights activists prefer the word “fat” and use it as a descriptive terms and not as an insult) but microaggressions define the lived experience of all groups devalued by society. Microaggressions can come from anywhere at any time. For a fat person, this might be:
Belize: Racism is just a race
prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.
People are in constant competition…and racism is just one other way of what in marketing is called positioning and differentiation…seeking to use features and benefits to gain advantage in the field of competition…where small differences can change ones fortune in the currents of life.
The definition above requires for prejudice, discrimination or antagonism to exist….action words…so it implies that where these actions do not occur, then racism does not exist. However, most racism is latent…it is a tool used only when it is deemed required in the competition of life…and this latency can be expressed without action…one form of which is called indifference. The ignoring of another’s existence can be as effective at deterring competition as outward expressions through prejudice, discrimination or antagonism…avoidance in extremes can and have resulted in segregation…which is still very prevalent across the world.
Belief that one’s own race is superior only captures a portion of what racism truly is….because the choice to use racism in the field of competition mostly expresses an inferiority complex….some kind of insecurity insofar as the features and benefits that the “competitors” can offer the “customers”…that product, place, person, promotion or position that the competitors are seeking advantage for. One’s rush to use racism as a tool of choice in facing competitive forces is directly related to their own level of insecurity or feeling of inferiority regarding their capacity and capability to compete for what is at stake.
Racism is a natural thing…even the animals, reptiles, birds and plants use features and benefits to compete…of which physical “hardware” attributes such colours, sizes, shapes, aromas and textures are used to differentiate and position within the field of competition.
Prejudice over disability can endure throughout a career
When aspiring lawyer Robert Hunter began work for Allen & Overy in London, he omitted to tell the international law firm that he suffered from progressive hearing loss.
By the time they found out, he was on the way to becoming a partner. Thirty years later, Mr Hunter is a fraud lawyer and a partner at Edmonds, Marshall, McMahon.
These days he participates in meetings with the assistance of a typist who transcribes what is being said for him to read. Yet he is dismayed when he looks around the City to see so few people with disabilities in senior positions. In 2014, Mr Hunter set up City Disabilities, a charity that mentors professionals and students with disabilities to help them forge successful careers.
In today’s recruitment market, he says, he would be more confident of being hired than when he started out. Even so, such is the “subtle nature of City dealings that it’s still possible for professionals with disabilities to be quietly sidelined”.
“Is there an issue? Self-evidently,” says Tony Cates, a vice-chairman at KPMG and sponsor of its disability network, “because when you look around we don’t have many disabled people at partner level.” Encouraging applications from candidates with disabilities will not by itself build fairer workplaces.
How far and fast people make progress once they are hired often depends on having the right connections and acquiring the experience to build an impressive CV.
One popular approach to tackling workplace inequality is to expose people to the idea that everyone unconsciously harbours some form of prejudice. However, some research suggests that when people are told this, they feel absolved and their views may even harden. Another approach is to make equal treatment the easy option.
Making it plain that managers will be marked down if they neglect the professional development of team members with disabilities would be a good start.
Using Data to Combat Prejudice Against Immigrants
– What are the contributions of migrants to trade, to the economy of their countries of destination and origin? This is an angle that is generally ignored in the international debate on the subject, which usually focuses more on issues such as the incidence of foreigners in crime or unemployment.
In order to discuss these and other questions, international experts met in Buenos Aires on on Thursday, Dec. 14, at the first Forum on Migration, Trade and the Global Economy.
Not coincidentally, but to highlight the links between both topics, the event was held a day after the end of the 11th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), also held in the Argentine capital.
“Migration is treated today in the world almost as a police matter. We stress the need to address the issue a different way, analysing the favourable economic outlook, especially in international trade,” said Aníbal Jozami, president of the Foro del Sur Foundation.
There are some 244 million migrants in the world today – around three percent of the total population – according to figures provided by Diego Beltrand, the IOM regional director for South America.
The number of migrants grew by an estimated 300 percent over the last 50 years. Different kinds of evidence of their economic contribution, something that is usually ignored, were presented at the forum.
This lack of knowledge about the positive impact of migration is the reason why, Beltrand said, “freedom of trade has been widely recognised around the world, but not freedom of movement for people.”