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equality

Why discrimination?

Rasmus Heltberg's picture

The international media have recently put attention to laws against homosexuality adopted by several African countries. Sensible people have, quite rightly, expressed outrage over these laws, and the widespread homophobia behind them. World Bank President Jim Kim expressed his opinion against such discrimination deeming it bad for people and for societies. In a Washington Post opinion piece, President Kim shares his personal experience of being judged based on appearance and reminds us that discrimination is widespread: 83 countries in the world outlaw homosexuality; more than 100 countries discriminate against women; and even more countries have laws that discriminate against minority groups.

A recent research by Audrey Sacks, Safi Lakhani, and me indicates that negative attitudes toward various groups are widespread around the world. Although these things vary by country, immigrants, ethnic minorities, the poor, HIV-positive, and homosexuals are frequent targets of discriminatory attitudes—in developed and developing countries alike.

The Law’s Majestic Equality?

Varun Gauri's picture

Literary writers do not think much of the law. In the last century, Anatole France wrote, mordantly: “The majestic equality of the laws prohibits the rich and the poor alike from sleeping under bridges, begging in the streets and stealing bread.” More recently, Aarvind Adiga says, “The jails of Delhi are full of drivers who are there behind bars because they are taking the blame for their good, solid middle-class masters. . . . The judges? Wouldn't they see through this obviously forced confession? But they are in the racket too. They take their bribe, they ignore the discrepancies in the case. And life goes on.”