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Column: Discrimination does not work in reverse

In My Opinion

Published: Thursday, September 5, 2013

Updated: Friday, September 6, 2013 19:09

Adrian Claveria

The Maroon


In an age when we raise social consciousness on issues of race, sexuality, gender and class, we still run across the issue of discrimination. The Oxford English Dictionary defines racial discrimination as “the making of distinctions prejudicial to people of a different race or colour from oneself.” I define discrimination as unequal treatment given to individuals based on preconceived notions about certain groups of people. However, we need to look at the bigger picture.

Discrimination works as a weapon of a society that gives certain advantages to some while others become disadvantaged. We look at racism and sexism as recognized forms of discrimination, but can white people and men experience reverse discrimination — that is, experience racism and sexism from people of color and women? I think not.

In my opinion, reverse discrimination is not discrimination. Frankly, I think it’s just people’s feelings getting hurt. But after engaging in several arguments with people who feel that they have experienced this kind of “discrimination,” I noticed a trend: when white people or men are discriminated against, they experience a little taste of what it feels like to be treated based on their social statuses. So they figure that’s what discrimination feels like and call it that. Almost but not quite.

Why? We all have prejudices about certain groups of people and act on them on some level. However, I think discrimination only affects groups of people if it carries the views of those with power and privilege. It then enforces negative evaluations about disenfranchised groups while raising privileged groups with positive evaluations. I feel that if you are white and/or male, you live in a system that benefits you and advantages you over people of color and/or women by virtue of your social status as such. This is not to say that if you are white and/or male you do not suffer hardships in life. Or that because you are a woman or a person of color that you cannot live a privileged life. However, men and white people’s prejudices played out toward women and people of color respectively have more substantial grip than the reverse.

Why is our standard definition of discrimination not apt enough for the word to apply to white people and men? Because when you’re white or a man and say that you are being discriminated against for your race/gender, I think that what you’re really saying is that your struggle is the same as the struggle of those whom society disenfranchises on a daily basis. No one should be judged and mistreated based on social statuses, but one has to acknowledge that the system we live in is so messed up that even individuals’ struggles are unequal.

Adrian Claveria is a philosophy senior and can be reached at
In My Opinion is a regular column open to all Loyola students. Those interested can contact

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14 comments Log in to Comment

Proud Feminist
Mon Sep 30 2013 17:04
Anonymous, it's obvious your fragile male ego cannot handle that women are superior to men in every. It's only because of the patriarchal oppression that women now can prove it. Men are stronger than women? Pssh, please! Men are only stronger because they're pressured at a younger age to work out. It has NOTHING to do with biology (another institution created by the patriarchy).

Females don't need men anymore. We have science to create our children for us.

Take a Women's Studies class and see how much better the world were be if we were in charge.

Mon Sep 30 2013 13:50
ok, so as a Women's Studies major, you conclude that the world needs to exterminate men. First of all, the world can't do anything. Only individuals can take actions. Do you volunteer to exterminate men? Are you ready for the death penalty shortly after you begin your quest? If there were no men, it would be impossible for the human species to reproduce and the species would become extinct. Is that what Women's Studies teaches and advocates? It is a disgrace that a university would a curriculum that promotes hatred toward half the population.
Proud Feminist
Sat Sep 28 2013 16:00
I am so glad I'm majoring in Women's Studies! The world needs to exterminate men!
Thu Sep 19 2013 00:27
There is no reverse discrimination, it is just discrimination. You justifying discrimination is called retaliation.
Sat Sep 14 2013 11:17
Anonymous Sept 13, 13:33: You sound like you might be a faculty member in the Women Studies program. Your comment sounds like the kinds of things that are covered in the courses in that program, with all the rigor and critical thinking it offers.
Fri Sep 13 2013 20:56
You had me at "Women are not going to stop whining"... we all know this is the case. It's an estrogen thing. Women are incapable of rising above their biology, trite, trivial, frivolous little non-rigorous annoyances that they are.
Fri Sep 13 2013 13:33
Women are not going to stop "Whining" until the patriarchy is destroyed and you sexist bastards die off
'12 Alum
Tue Sep 10 2013 18:28
Your definition of discrimination doesn't jive with the rest of your argument. If your definition of discrimination is "unequal treatments given to individuals based on preconceived notions about certain groups," anyone holding a preconceived notion about a group can discriminate. Based on your definition, ff black woman were to not give a white male a job and her reasoning was "this is something that a white male couldn't do," that's discrimination.

I understand the direction that you are going in with this argument, and I think there is an argument to be made, but maybe the focus shouldn't be defining a word. I think your argument would be better suited by focusing on the differences in the frequency of discrimination directed towards various groups of people.

Sun Sep 8 2013 16:26
Yeah, let's hate on Christians because they're an easy target. God forbids you say anything about Muslims! Why? They would've stoned the author for throwing away his masculinity. Oh and BTW, Trayvon Martin was the biggest example of reverse racism.
Sat Sep 7 2013 12:41
Was this piece really written by a philosophy senior? If so, OMG.
Fri Sep 6 2013 21:20
OMFG How much longer is going to take for the blacks and women to stop whining? What else do you want from us? Jesus effing Christ.
Fri Sep 6 2013 15:16
The writer says "but can white people and men experience reverse discrimination - that is, experience racism and sexism from people of color and women? I think not. In my opinion, reverse discrimination is not discrimination. Frankly, I think it's just people's feelings getting hurt."

Are you kidding me? People of color and women are certainly capable and guilty of discriminating against white people and men, and many do so. To write off such discrimination as "just people's feelings getting hurt" is a cop-out.

Fri Sep 6 2013 15:15
Perhaps the hate shown toward heterosexual, white Christian males is due to the contempt that such males display toward people who are different. Heterosexual, white Christian males also display hate toward white homosexual males because they conveniently forget to recognize that God created homosexuals, whose sexual preference is not a choice any more than the sexual preference of heterosexuals is a choice.
Thu Sep 5 2013 22:01
You don't think reverse discrimination is not discrimination at all? Makes sense. Trannies, lesbians, and feminists hate heterosexual, white Christian males.

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