Discrimination is good. People do it every day. Oh shit, oh dear! You bigot!
Thomas Sowell points out that discrimination has several working parts and not all of them are negative. Here is his take.
Discrimination I he defines as “an ability to discern differences in the qualities of people and things, and choosing accordingly”—in other words, “making fact-based distinctions.”
Discrimination II he defines as “treating people negatively, based on arbitrary assumptions or aversions concerning individuals of a particular race or sex
Mr. Sowell complicates matters by pointing out that there is a third distinction to be made. It falls between discrimination I and II.
This is still Discrimination I, basing decisions on empirical evidence. But the distinction between the ideal version of Discrimination I—judging each individual as individual—and making decisions based on empirical evidence about the group to which the individual belongs is a consequential difference. We can call the ideal version (basing decisions on evidence about individuals) Discrimination Ia, and the less than ideal version (basing individual decision on group evidence) Discrimination Ib. But both are different from unsubstantiated notions or animosities.
Not All Discrimination Is Equal
In other words, discrimination based on factual generalizations (Discrimination Ib) is not the same as discrimination based on personal aversions to race, sex, etc. (Discrimination II). Indeed, evidence-based generalizations are used routinely, including by employers whose cost of judging everyone individually may be prohibitively expensive:
If this is to tough to follow, I can break it down further.
On the left is a picture of Spaghetti and meatballs from a package of Meals Ready to Eat (MRE), standard military field rations. On the right is the same dish, only home made. Which is more appealing?
Choosing the spaghetti and meatballs on the right is an example of discrimination I, exhibiting the ability to discern differences based on fact and choosing accordingly.
Here are two groups of bikers. Imagine you are driving along and decide you need gas. Up ahead are two gas stations. At one station is the group on the left. The group on the right is at the station on the right. Which one would you choose?
Every person in the left hand photo is a self proclaimed “outlaw.” It is likely all have been arrested and some have been imprisoned. Chances are none of the people pictured on the right have been arrested, much less imprisoned.
With no information about the individuals, any choice is likely to be based on the group identity.
My law enforcement experience says that both groups are subject to internal discipline and either gas station is safe. However, I also know that if things go sideways with the Hell’s Angels, serious bodily injury is likely. Piss off the Nuns and it’s a ruler across the knuckles.
Picking the Nuns is an example of discrimination 1B. Basing the decision on the group identity rather than individual based on discernible facts.
On the left is tofu. On the right is a pair of t-bone steaks. A person choosing the tofu is demonstrating what Sowell calls discrimination II in that the person is making arbitrary assumptions or aversions not based in fact.
Celebrating diversity requires that individuals not make judgments as to what is appropriate or inappropriate conduct. To make such a judgment is the liberal definition of discrimination.
The three pictured above celebrated diversity and nobody discriminated. How did that work out?