Can discrimination be positive and negative?

At what point does positive discrimination become negative? Consider the school playground if a school does not allow its pupils to speak their native language but insists on the school language e.g. English is this negative discrimination? In Wales in the Welsh medium school, children are actively discouraged to speak English even at break time.  They are rewarded for speaking Welsh with a tocyniaith (token) which adds up to a tystysgrif (certificate) Is this positive or negative discrimination ?  It is about the way the person perceives it.  If the leaner thinks it is a positive way to learn a language then it will be accepted that it is but conversely the opposite is also true.

This news story tells us how in working situations the same is also true. Summary is below.

Inclusive” and “diversity” are the buzzwords in corporate America these days. Inclusive generally means that people should not be made to feel purposely left out, and diversity refers to the many differences — whether they be religious, political, racial or ethnic — that people bring to their communities, schools and businesses.

Specifically, these two words are prominently used in the culture and mission statement of Whole Foods, the upscale “foodie” store that last week was accused of suspending two employees who complained about the company’s English-only policy.

This kind of infuriating story illustrates the cluelessness and differing expectations of conduct that factor into dealing with the serious issue of how we communicate with each other in an increasingly multilingual country

Whole Foods’ rules state: “English-speaking Team Members must speak English to customers and other Team Members while on the clock. Team Members are free to speak any language they would like during their breaks, meal periods and before and after work. Additionally, this policy does not apply to conversations among Team Members and customers if all parties present agree that a different language is their preferred form of communication.”

It is human nature to feel left out when some of the people in a group setting are speaking to each other with words the rest can’t understand. This isn’t bigotry; it’s hard-wired, evolutionary fact. Group cohesion only occurs when individual group members behave cooperatively, not individualistically.

This explains why every time the subject of not speaking English in this country comes up, people get very upset — because language seems like a proxy for the ultimate group cohesion: allegiance to our flag.

for the full story


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