Previous Page An Issue 57.
Everywhere, it seems, there are clear and positive signs that people are becoming more respectful of one another's differences. Question
In your opinion, how accurate is the view expressed above? Use reasons and/ or examples from your own experience, observations or reading to develop your position. Analysis
In determining whether we are becoming more respectful of one another's differences, one must examine both overt actions and underlying motives as well as examining whether our differences are increasing or decreasing. The issue, therefore, is quite complex and the answer is unclear.
Disrespect for one another's differences manifests itself in various forms of prejudice and discrimination. Since the civil rights and feminist movements of the 60s and 70s, it would seem that we have made significant progress toward eliminating racial and sexual discrimination. Anti-discriminatory laws in the areas of employment, housing and education, now protect all significant minority groups - racial minorities and women, the physically challenged and more recently, homosexuals. Movies and television shows which for better or worse have become the cynosure of our cultural attention now tout the rights of minorities encouraging acceptance of and respect for others.
However, much of this progress is forced upon us legislatively. Without Title 10 and its progenies, would we voluntarily refrain from the discriminatory behaviour that the laws prevent? Perhaps not. Moreover, signs of disrespect are all around us today. Extreme factions still rally around bigoted demagogues. The number of hate crimes is increasing alarmingly. And school-age children seem to flaunt disrespect toward adults as never before. Finally what appears to be respect for one another's differences may in fact be an increasing global homogeneity-that is, we are becoming more and more alike.
In sum, on a societal level it is difficult to distinguish between genuine respects for one another's differences on the one hand and legislated morality and increasing homogeneity on the other. Accordingly, the claim that we are becoming more respectful of one another's differences is somewhat dubious.