“Discrimination encouraged here!” That, written large on my whiteboard, was what greeted students one day, and it sure got their attention. "Why would you want us to discriminate, Mr. Strebler; I thought you didn’t like racism?” But discrimination, just like racism, is a word that is very often misunderstood and misused, and that was the point of the slogan on the board.
When you look up discriminate in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (this is what we used in the dark, dark days before Wikipedia), you see that, just like most words, it is defined in a number of ways. It is only the fourth definition that says to “make a difference in treatment or favor on a basis other than individual merit; against a certain nationality.” The earlier, more generally appropriate definitions have to do with telling the difference between one thing and another. For instance, a wise voter can discriminate between a ... Log in or subscribe to continue reading.
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