The following article about discrimination was sent in by a reader:
July/August 1997

Discrimination is a dark horse, running wild throughout our society. It breeds hate. It destroys hope. It kills the human spirit. It tears at the fabric of society.

Sometimes it goes undefined. A woman gets fired from her job. She is told she is incompetent. She is a minority, and her sexual preferences are not in line with the 'traditional' way of life known by those with whom she works. Her creative lifestyle is unique, and she doesn't quite 'fit in' the close knit, corporate structure. Some see her as a breath of fresh air. Others see her as a misfit.

She saw herself as competent, responsible, creative. Most of those she worked with would agree. She questions the decision to let her go. A few weeks before she was fired, without warning, she had shared information about her sexual orientation with a handful of other employees. Discrimination is often disguised--cloaked by other accusations or claims. This woman cannot prove she was fired based on sexual orientation or race. But, many are wondering. She is defenseless.

The past cannot be changed. But change can, and should be built on past experiences. This individual's life has been cast on to center stage. The media has exposed her to public scrutiny. She has accused no one. She has made a stand against discrimination. She has protested injustice based on one's lifestyle--not necessarily hers.

Peace cannot live in a world where there are such judgements. It cannot exist in a place where the human spirit is diminished by those who would cast stones. Discrimination is a matter of the heart. It echoes from the surface of all that we see, down to the core of the affected individual's heart and soul. Those imprisoned by their own fears and judgements have the power to destroy those not of the same color or belief or lifestyle. Hitler had such power.

Society must work to establish laws that protect against discrimination. Whether it be an issue of race or sexual orientation or religious beliefs, we all live within a framework of freedom to choose and believe and live as we wish. It is about consciousness and convictions of the heart. Individuals must decide that they wish to live in harmony with those around them. They must recognize that they too, can be victims of discrimination. They must understand that discrimination is not always something that happens to the next person, or something they read about in the newspaper. It can happen to their friends, their children, their loved ones. No one is immune. It happened to Jane Yii.

When people discriminate, they destroy other people.

It's simply a matter of the heart.

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