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Last form of permissible discrimination

  1. Sep 14, 2010 #1
    Law, now, has put into legal writ that no one shall be discriminated against based on sexual orientation, race, age, and creed. All for but one state, (california only in SF and 6 more counties), a form of discrimination that is still held as a taboo social practice in the place of work, education, and more prominently in social functions.

    What am i talking about? you might be able to guess that it is the discrimination of the homely.

    Very very interesting expositions on this form of discrimination can be found here:


    My question is: do you unconsciously bracket or marginalize your fellow peers that are physically unsightly? I hate that lookcism is perceived to be a social norm and is accepted as apart of our society. I do not think looks are a very good indicator of intelligence or competence. This could be seen by the contrast of the prevalent subjective attractiveness of students in any particular engineering college to say a more formal liberal arts institute. This is a very very broad generalization and should not be taken to offend.

    Do you think discrimination against the ugly is irrational? and should government step in and eliminate the 'last bastion for discrimination'?
    and have you ever been a witness to such a discrimination?
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 14, 2010 #2


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    Well, as a beautiful person, I feel pity towards the less fortunate among us. However, I do not treat them any more differently. I have been known, on an inebriated occasion, to take one for the team so to speak, and indulge the senses by dating an ugly woman or two. Without the bitter, the sweet ain't as sweet.
  4. Sep 14, 2010 #3
    Any discrimination, especially for that shown in your post is dreadful.

    However, it isn't the last form of acceptable discrimination:

    In the UK, we have 'faith' schools (religious). They are controlled by whichever religious group runs them and thanks to laws from many years ago, their curriculum is self regulated and excluded from inspection by the government agency responsible for state schools. The laws were put in place to give these rights to the schools as they (at the time) received funding from the various religious groups, but now they receive only government funding (taxpayers) and yet they maintained the benefits of the laws giving them control.

    The problem is, these schools get to pick and choose which children get to attend them based on which religion they and their parents practice.
    They are within their rights to refuse entry (entrants are chosen by a board of governors and not by government regulations as with state schools). Put simply, if you aren't a practising catholic, you aren't allowed to attend the school (despite claims made that they accept non-religious children).
    This has led to a number of parents pretending to practice a certain religion to get their children into either a) a better school, b) a school closer to their home.
    Now how is it fair that these schools which are funded by the government are allowed to discriminate against, of all things, children based on their parents religion.

    That my friend, is 'acceptable' discrimination!

    Last edited: Sep 14, 2010
  5. Sep 14, 2010 #4
    well, if you are too pretty, i might be inclined to think you are pretty dumb. unfair, i know.

    as for the other extreme, mental deficits actually are often correlated with certain facial features. down syndrome and fetal alcohol syndrome being a couple of the more common ones. perhaps there are more.
  6. Sep 14, 2010 #5


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    I'm not offended by your comment I bolded; but I do think it's incorrect. Do you have anything to substantiate that claim?

    OK, just for the sake of argument, let's assume this is a real problem that needs addressing (I don't think so, btw). How is government going to fix it? The first step in that process would be: government would have to identify the protected class. Really, do we want to have to go in front of "beauty boards" to get our looks graded?

    I'm not in the "government does nothing right" camp, but this is way, way over the line.
  7. Sep 14, 2010 #6


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    lisab, the only way you would be able to bring a suit is if you can prove that you were fired for being ugly. This would probably require an email or a recorded message from your employer to a friend or co-worker or you where he says something like "I'm firing this guy because he's ugly. Not TV ugly, not pug ugly, but ugly ugly"

    This means that only stupid people would end up getting hit by the law, which isn't really different from the situation with any other discrimination law.
  8. Sep 14, 2010 #7


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    There are still other socially acceptable and even legally-sanctioned forms of discrimination out there. For instance, we clearly privilege religious systems of belief over non-religious systems. In the US anyway, we allow Sikhs to wear daggers to school and allow Navajos to eat peyote. Yet, we've banned sports logos in certain schools and don't allow Tim Leary's followers to use LSD legally. That might just be part of a broader trend of privileging group identities with longer heritages, so that it's okay to grant exemptions to laws so long as the exemption is because the subculture you're a part of has been doing it for centuries, not decades.

    There are also pretty clearly discriminatory practices toward fathers in family courts.

    Also, it's still a matter of US statute that females are not to be allowed to serve in battalions which primarily see duty forward of combat lines. That's largely irrelevant in an era where there barely are any lines, and we've allowed them for some time to serve as combat aviators anyway, even though it seems to violate that law. But still, the law sanctions and even requires the services to not allow women to serve in non-aviation combat units.
  9. Sep 14, 2010 #8
    we can have computer algorithms judge peoples' attractiveness.
  10. Sep 14, 2010 #9
    Which would produce judgements based on the programmers idea of beauty.....

    No better than lining everyone up.
  11. Sep 14, 2010 #10
    no, you have individuals rate photos, then the computer algorithms adjust to accurately predict what the population sees as "beauty". it's like computerized text recognition.
  12. Sep 14, 2010 #11
    which is the same as lining everyone up and having everyone judge them.

    which population do you use? different people have different ideas of beauty.

    throughout history the idea of beauty has evolved with cultures and civilization. without a fair sample of all persons across the globe, you couldn't gauge what is considered beauty. even within a country there would still be too much variation.

    which is the same as a person considered beautiful today may not necessarily have been 500 years ago.
  13. Sep 14, 2010 #12
    "Oh no, the children have to grow up in a bleak world where if you are ugly you aren't hired, let's get a law that rectifies the situation". Come to think of it, isn't there a similarly themed short-story from Kurt Vonnegut? How prevalent is this "problem"? I'm pretty sure I see ugly people working many places I go. And please do clarify your statement about colleges.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 14, 2010
  14. Sep 14, 2010 #13
    Good luck swimming against this current; you're talking about the basis of how humans select mates, which is at the root of genetic selection. What I love about this, is that at some point someone gets to decide who's ugly... will the law have a "who's hot and who's not" section? :rofl:

    Ah, and anyone who thinks that this is the LAST form of discrimination has been hitting the magic mushrooms; being a woman is still a hindrance in the workplace, being a short man is... oh, and race and religion and... pretty much EVERYTHING. Hell, even people in wheelchairs still have it rough... if you doubt me, ask some folks in chairs how life is on average in public spaces... you might be surprised.
  15. Sep 14, 2010 #14
    It's natural to discriminate. Attempts to stop it are bound to fail, because we are all different, and the only way we can make sense of that is to form associations of like people. That's where the rot starts. An association starts to evolve rules. The rules are impossible to frame properly, but people keep trying to improve them. Look how many archaic laws we are saddled with. They are feeble attempts to correct some perceived injustice or discrimination or whatever.
  16. Sep 14, 2010 #15
    i support my claim of the differences between schools by personal experience. I go to Georgia tech and the majority of pretty girls are usually found in ivan or the college of management as opposed to the computer or other engineering schools. This might be due to the low number of girls period at this school.

    Most girls that (all the girls that i have seen) at the different college of engineering at this school have been, in contrast to the management and ivan colleges, less attractive. Not saying they were ugly, just that they are clearly less attractive. But i admit there is really no direct correlation between the two. Just based on personal experience over time.

    I personal don't agree that the government can not do anything about this. The problem arises with what seems to be peoples hesitation of being judged, in terms of their looks. That to me seems to be conceived as taboo for some reason. While most people would agree that, as humans, we find some characteristics that are common through cultural or racial differences as attractive, and similar characteristics to be universally un-attractive. If you read the articles that i posted you could see discrimination that could be seen as gross in comparison to other forms of discrimination.

    You don't have to come up with a standardized format to check ugliness vs. attractiveness. Since it is pretty subjective one could propose to treat each case individually on its own merits. What i mean is too, look at the primary reason for discrimination and determine if it is due to the persons physical features by elimination. Elimination could be defined here as a systematic analysis of the cause for termination and what is the most probable cause for it.
  17. Sep 14, 2010 #16


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    How does this compare to the current standard of proof needed for determining if a firing is, for example, racially motivated? And how could you really eliminate all possible causes for termination; especially when you can in fact be fired for absolutely no reason?
  18. Sep 14, 2010 #17


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    I was watching a show that interviewed hiring managers and one woman said that she didn't hire a woman because the female applicant wasn't wearing designer shoes. That was the only reason. The hiring manager was a shoe snob and said the applicant's lack of "sophistication" was a clear sign she wouldn't do a good job. I think my jaw hit the floor. But it's unfortunately true, the person that is doing the hiring has to like you, whatever that entails. It's never fair when another human is selecting you.
  19. Sep 14, 2010 #18


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    I've always considered the HR people to be a waste of space anyway
  20. Sep 14, 2010 #19
    I think most ugliness that people have is preventable ugliness; meaning they don't take care of themselves properly. Some people, however, really are just ugly no matter what they do. Some ugly people don't even try to mitigate that ugliness by not being overweight, dirty, stinky, or having nice hair, clothes and teeth. But if they don't care, I don't care. It's their business, but I wouldn't hire them.
  21. Sep 14, 2010 #20
    Cronxeh is right, but then again this isn't just women; most guys are told that the first thing people look at are their shoes. What can I say, people are effete, elitist idiots sometimes, but that doesn't form a generalized discriminatory pattern: that's one ***hole.
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