According to Spicker (2008), diversity is what brings discrimination, unfair treatment, or neglect among social groups. Among the major factors in which people are diversified and may bring about discrimination include power, which can be brought by social status, economic position, or other social factors. I have a personal experience on how people are neglected or treated unfairly based on their differences within the social setting. One of the greatest experiences was one in a savings group in which I am a member. The group is made of my college mates, whom we studied with. In the group, we save an equal amount every two weeks, and also loan out the saved money to the group members. To get a loan, one needs at least two guarantors from the group. It is in this group that I saw a person being treated unfairly because of his social class.
I realized that discrimination can prevail even in a constitutionally guarded social setting. Within the group a person is not allowed to take a loan higher than his or her savings unless the person has at least two group members as guarantors. At this scenario, a person can take a loan of more than a third of his or her savings. Additionally, because of the high number of people requesting for loans, the loans are issued on a first come first served basis.
There was this particular time when a group member, Antony, who happened to be one of my course mates requested for a loan that exceeded his savings. Actually, he had notified the officials four days before the day we contribute the amount. Having known him personally, I agreed to be his guarantor so he was left with the task of looking for the other guarantor. It took him the following two days to convince another member to be his guarantor. Therefore, after getting the guarantor, definitely he was eligible for the loan. However, on the day that loans are issued my friend did not get his amount. Instead, Wyatt, another group member, who is deemed to be wealthy and powerful replaced my course mate. To make the matters worse, he was not initially on the list of those eligible for the loan. After inquiries, I realized that Wyatt actually approached the officials the same day the loans are issued. Other committee officials and some members were involved to solve the dispute. This is where I saw real discrimination. All the members and committee officials supported Wyatt, except me and another member. After some reflection, I realized that the other members sided with Wyatt because he was wealthy and belonged to a higher social class, where most of the other group members lay. On the contrary, Antony had not made his ends meet.
After realizing that Antony was being discriminated because of his perceived low social class, I took the matter at personal level. I was annoyed and decided to help him get the money. I also realized that the discrimination could have psychological problems to Antony. I threatened the officials to take the matter to a higher legal body and this is when they withdrew money from the residue savings account and gave to Antony. From the experience, I learnt that social class can be influenced by power, which emanates from the wealth one holds. This creates a group of the dominant and the minority, who mostly are discriminated against by the well to do people. The officials and the other members sided with Wyatt because of his high social class and wealth. On the contrary, Antony is not a well to do person and his perceived as a low social class person.
Spicker, P. (2008). The Social Policy: Theory and Practice. Chicago: Policy Press.
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