Zero Discrimination Day: Why We Must View Each Other As Equals
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Today is Zero Discrimination Day - a day recognised by the United Nations to celebrate the right of everyone to live a full and productive life, and live it with dignity. The day is helping to create a global movement of solidarity to end all forms of discrimination. With that in mind, Ellie gives us her thoughts on why discrimination happens and how we can put a stop to it...
TW: Discrimination and bullying
We all have our own prejudices, whether we admit to that or not. Discrimination occurs in all shapes and forms, some of which we fail to notice. Prejudices and discrimination are all around us and take up so many different forms. We have to do better at recognising this and fighting against it.
I am sure we have all, in some way, felt as though we’ve been mocked or jeered at in school for having the slightest difference - like wearing the wrong branded t-shirt or trainers on home clothes day, or failing to keep up to trend with the latest haircuts. If it happens so much, to everyone, why don’t we simply stop this insanity once and for all? The next time you think to criticise someone (whether that’s as ‘banter’ or for pure mockery), think twice. Don’t become susceptible to society’s influence of making us all as bad as each other.
Of course, this also goes on outside of school. We see it when someone doesn’t fit into societal norms, whether that’s for a lack of education, being raised in a different location to others, race, skin colour, religion. The list goes on and on. We are judged for not fitting in with someone else’s idea of perfect. But nobody is perfect and we all have flaws. Being different, however, is not a flaw. Why? Because we are all different from one another! There is no ‘normal’ that we should seek to fit into. Society has made us think that this is the way we should live, by focusing on the differences in a bad way, but wouldn’t it just be easier to love everyone instead of hating each other for simple dissimilarities?
When was the last time someone mocked you for something you did or for what you are like? Did someone judge you for wearing the ‘wrong’ outfit, or for liking the ‘wrong’ music? Have you been ridiculed for your height, or your skin colour, or because you follow the ‘wrong’ religion? In some people’s eyes, these choices you made were ‘wrong’ because it doesn’t fit in with their ideals. However, it is time we change that!
Last year, I was body shamed online for my petite body, after I posted a video about the reality of Instagram pictures and that we all look different on a day-to-day basis regarding our body shapes and weights. I was scorned for this online and this made me feel as though ‘skinny’ people are not allowed to have insecurities. For months I felt a stranger to my own body. I believe that this needs to be addressed in society. We all have different bodies, and we are all permitted to have our own insecurities – just please don’t compare yourselves to others you see online, because most of the time, Instagram pictures have filters on, or the photo is taken before the person ate anything, or they know the most flattering angle to pose in. We all do that, though, don’t we? I certainly do. Whenever I post a picture online, I want to make sure I’m looking my best. A lot of the time body shaming is often thought of as ‘fat shaming’, because that is the usual form it takes. However, like lots of other forms of discrimination, body shaming also occurs the other way round too..
Discrimination isn’t simply a one-way street. Everyone can be judged or mocked, whether that’s physically, mentally or for their way of living life. . And, at the same time, we also each have our own prejudices and judgements against certain types of people, subconsciously or not.
Is it too much to ask for us to view each other as equals?
If you’re being bullied or feel discriminated against, you can contact The Diana Award through their free 24/7 Crisis Messenger. Text DA to 85258 and trained volunteers will listen to how you’re feeling and help you think the next step towards feeling better. Or you can contact The Mix who offer free information and mental health support to under 25s or contact Childline for free on 0800 1111 or via www.childline.org.uk