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Are You Afraid Of Speaking Up For The Fear Of Being Targeted?

Posted on May 5, 2011 in Society

By Srishti Chauhan:

With the reservation system fully in place at every level of the education as well as in the service sector, it is time we look at things that happen with the reservation in place. With all communities in India vying for a reservation- some by protesting and others through legal petitions- it is highly unlikely that a system without reservations shall ever be restored.

There are many cons, as many will surely point out, that make reservation system undesirable. However, one of the major setbacks of the reservation system (which prioritizes minorities in various sectors of life) is often overlooked completely. In many offices where reservation has been legally implemented and made an irrevocable part of the administrative system, the companies are facing problems. The most common problem that a person heading a particular group faces is the trouble of pointing out a person’s mistakes when he belongs to the marginalized groups for the fear of being taken in the wrong sense.

According to Rakesh Singh, general manager with a well-known firm, “Whenever I thought of pointing out the mistakes of a person appointed by reservation, I stopped because of the fear of being targeted as being biased and unfair.”

He is not the only person who faces this dilemma. There are many others who are afraid to point out the mistakes of their juniors for the fear of being misunderstood.

A similar situation prevails in the USA. There was a time when racism was at large and quite undisguised. Since that time, the minority communities have harbored a deep-seated resentment against the dominating class. Sociologists accept the fact that racism is still very much a part of the American system but now it is disguised and hidden beneath passing snide remarks rather than its previously experienced flamboyance.

As a result, a remark which may have not meant to be insulting is often taken as one. An ironical incident mentioned in a book says that when an irate passenger in an airplane got tired of repeatedly requesting the air-hostess for something, he said, “What is the problem with you people?”. What he meant was What is the problem with the staff of this airline and why are they being so uncooperative? Instead his comment was read in the wrong light since the stewardess was a lady from the minority group. This went on to become a court case where the person was charged with practicing racism.

This is one of the many examples where people are misjudged because they chose to speak up against a person who is a wrong-doer. The fact that the person belonged to minority group is what led to unwanted trouble.

The question that needs to be posed here is- Should we carry this obsession with bias and apparent racism (communalism, sexism and what-not) to the extent that it hampers the proper functioning of the society? Won’t this act as reverse dominance if people are living in the fear of saying something that ends in them being slapped a court case against?

True, there was a time when people were dominated and the brutality was and is unacceptable in every sense. However, what we need to realize is that we need to move on from there. Punishment is not an option. And neither is revenge.

Moreover, the legal system needs to realize that every person with reservation who complains is not being ill-treated. Of course, there are cases of discrimination that need to be tackled properly, but blind belief that a person is being besieged is foolhardy.

This shall deter the people with genuine needs to speak up against the protected class. What more than this is required to eliminate the hope of a society which is truly equal?