Multiple discrimination is discrimination against one person on several grounds at once. For example, a black woman with disabilities may face discrimination based on her disability, race, and gender. Considering this phenomenon and its implications for equality legislation is a necessary outcome of recognizing that people have multiple identities, that is, individuals.
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One of the goals of equality legislation is to protect human dignity. However, if anti-discrimination legislation imposes its own identity on people, it destroys the very values that it is intended to uphold. Anti-discrimination legislation can do this in two ways. First, it requires the victims to identify themselves in a category (African-American / Asian / woman/man) in her statements. If the available classes do not reflect the plaintiff’s perception of their personality, they must describe themselves in terms that, in their opinion, do not characterize them. Thus, the legislator shows that the plaintiff’s real character is not valued by society since it does not deserve protection from discrimination (Carter and Murphy 27). Second, anti-discrimination legislation, which categorizes those intended to protect, encourages legislators to perceive the people they serve in terms of the categories defined by law (Mercat‐Bruns 49). As a result, rules developed from artificial personality concepts tend to force their subjects to live following these concepts. To get at least some protection, people try to fit into the categories that influenced laws’ development.
The tricky balance in legislation on equality between respect for personal dignity and the importance of the social context and the connection of the individual with the group is lost in conditions of multiple discrimination. However, it is undeniable that if discrimination occurs on various grounds, each of which is recognized by society as an unfair reason for awarding and withdrawing benefits, the victim cannot be denied protection under equality law simply because of the grounds for this discrimination united in some unusual way.
Thus, the non-recognition of multiple discrimination is the only way the classification regimes of equality legislation are detached from the individual’s living reality. If a society wants equality legislation to serve its purpose, it must be flexible enough to respond to an individual’s experiences of discrimination.
Carter, Evelyn R., and Murphy, Mary C. “Consensus and consistency: Exposure to multiple discrimination claims shapes Whites’ intergroup attitudes.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, vol. 73, 2017, pp. 24-33. Web.
Mercat‐Bruns, Marie. “Multiple discrimination and intersectionality: Issues of equality and liberty.” International Social Science Journal, vol. 67, no. 223-224, 2017, pp. 43-54. Web.