Prejudice: Then and Now

By Emma Cooley

Based off of Modern Events and Third Reich Germany from 'The Boy Who Dared' by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

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Vocabulary

The following terms won't neccessarily be used frequently, but all of them are pertinent to the topic:


Discrimination- the practice of unfairly treating a person or group of people differently from other people or groups of people.



Prejudice- an unfair feeling of dislike for a person or group because of race, sex, religion, etc.


Bias- a tendency to believe that some people, ideas, etc., are better than others that usually results in treating some people unfairly


LGBT- Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender


*Definitions provided by Merriam-Webster.com

Overreaching Question

What groups are being discriminated against, and how can we insure their rights?

Why did I choose this problem?

There’s a lot of discrimination in the modern-day world, particularly versus ethnic minorities and those with beliefs that differ from ours, but there was even less tolerance towards these parties in the past. The Third Reich, also known as Nazi Germany, is a prime example of this.
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As you can see, this graph recording the findings of a study done in September of 2014 implies that humanity as a whole feels that other people are behaving unfairly towards their specific group. This isn’t exclusive for their group, though. People are able to recognize that they aren’t the only ones being treated unfairly. Even if the numbers are a bit discouraging, this is a step in the right direction. But we aren't done yet.

Why is this a problem?

No one should be discriminated against for their beliefs or belief system. Unfortunately, this remains a major world problem to this day.

How does this relate to my novel, 'The Boy Who Dared' by Susan Campbell Bartoletti?

In the novel, Jews were being discriminated against, but Helmuth took a stand and published pamphlets (illegally, of course) to try to inform the public about what was really happening in the war and in their country. Unfortunately, this was Third Reich Germany - also known as Nazi Germany or the era of Hitler's dictatorship - and Helmuth's efforts to change things for the better ended up getting him into a decidedly worse spot.

The effects of this problem on society at that time in history

Jews were forcibly uprooted from their homes and deported to other European countries that didn’t ally with Germany during WWII. Regular citizens were also regularly praised for reporting Jew sympathizers or those who had ideals that differed from the government's.

How was this issue resolved?

Unfortunately, it wasn't resolved. The Anti-Semitic (Anti-Jew) prejudice still hasn’t ended, and probably won't for a very long time. In fact, discrimination against the Jewish people has been around since a time shortly after Jesus was crucified, where the gospel accounts were interpreted as blaming all Jews for Jesus' crucifixion. A long-lasting hatred between Judaism and Christianity began, and this caused early Christian churches to portray Jews as unwilling to accept the word of God, with some illustrations going so far as to portray Satan binding the eyes of the Jews. Granted, none of this discrimination can truly be "resolved", as it is in human nature that we make quick decisions that are often incorrect. Some might say that it's in human nature to discriminate. It just goes to show that prejudice is a formidable enemy, and one that cannot be so easily beaten.

What is a similar modern-day problem, and how is it similar?

A similar modern-day problem is how homosexuals are being discriminated against, and how they’re unable to be married like other couples. Both of these groups, past and present, have faced derogatory remarks and were sometimes even the victims of hate speech or hate crime for their beliefs.

How is this problem being adressed as of right now?

Ordinary citizens just like you and me are now doing things to support the rights of homosexuals. Ireland recently took a vote to legalize same-sex marriage, where 62.1 percent of the voters said "Yes" to changing the nation’s constitution to define marriage as a union between two people - regardless of their sex. Bravo, Ireland. But, once again, we are not done. Equality has not been reached, though steps are being taken.

Other Possible Solutions to this Problem that we can easily achieve

- We can speak out against harmful jokes or slurs that stereotype or otherwise degrade a person or a group.

- We can be mindful of what we say. Words are powerful, and easily remembered to the one(s) receiving them if they are negative or hateful.

- We can have classroom discussions on topics that are often avoided because of their lack of Political Correctness. We can talk about homophobia and sexual identity, but also about anti-Semitism, racism, sexism, and bias in general.

One of the best solutions

One of the best solutions to discrimination of any kind is to spread knowledge. Some states are in the process of passing measures to help prevent LGBT bullying and harassment (ie: Alabama), but we can bring the public’s attention to LGBT’s ideals (and rights) in the meantime. We can also encourage them to tell their stories. Think of it this way: it’s much more moving and powerful to hear the story of Anne Frank’s life (and, yes, death) and how she lived in hiding for two years than to have her as just another statistic of a Jewish girl who didn’t survive the concentration camps.

Bibliography

Websites


European Anti-Semitism From Its Origins to the Holocaust (Unknown) http://www.ushmm.org/confront-antisemitism/european-antisemitism-from-its-origins-to-the-holocaust


Five Ways We Can End Discrimination (2011)

http://genprogress.org/voices/2011/03/01/16401/five-ways-we-can-end-discrimination-and-harassment-against-gay-and-tra/


History of the Holocaust/Shoah: the Killing Machine (2009)

http://www.projetaladin.org/holocaust/en/history-of-the-holocaust-shoah/the-killing-machine/deportations.html


The most discriminated-against people in America? It’s people like you, of course (September 22, 2014) from - http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/09/22/the-most-discriminated-against-people-in-america-its-people-like-you-of-course/


No Place for Hate: 101 Ways You Can Beat Prejudice (1999)

http://archive.adl.org/prejudice/print.html


Rory O’Carrol: I will vote to end discrimination against gay and lesbian couples (2015) http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/rory-o-carroll-i-will-vote-to-end-discrimination-against-gay-and-lesbian-couples-1.2218568


Video


European Anti-Semitism From Its Origins to the Holocaust (Unknown) http://main.assets.ushmm.org.s3.amazonaws.com/site/ve00073.mp4


Pictures


Groups Members Most Likely to Perceive Discrimination Against Their Group (September 2-9, 2014)

https://images.washingtonpost.com/?url=https://img.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/files/2014/09/Pew5real.gif&op=noop


Untitled (2011)

http://www.churchplanting.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/discrimination1.jpg