Discrimination: At School, in the World, in our Heads

In honor of World Peace Day coming this month, let me begin this column with an excerpt from the UNESCO website: “Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defense of peace must be constructed.”

Previous World Peace Days have brought a multitude of positive initiatives to the forefront of our attention, as organizations and groups around the world come forward to do their part. Yet they also bring news that remind us of our differences more than bring us together.

Take the news of another teen suicide, for example, caused by bullying and homophobia. How can we, as parents, as educators – as concerned citizens – help our youth meet each other through avenues other than discrimination, self-destruction and violence? What can we do in a world that rather than integrate seems to strengthen our differences? How can we heal the separation and division in society?

These playground behaviors are learned at home, be it from the family or the neighborhood: patterns of discrimination are parroted, roles are adopted that taint our experience of life.

Although we may not be aware of it, we have all adopted these roles in some areas of our lives, be it with our families, in society, at work, or even in the privacy of our own minds. Deep down, we all have inner dialogues of discrimination or criticism towards those we perceive as different.

Discrimination comes from a resistance to embrace anything outside of our own personal boxes. We discriminate against the unfamiliar, against that which we do not identify with, that which falls outside our theology, our ideas. In order to define ourselves as individuals, we must have personalities. Within those personalities we structure belief systems, but as soon as we start to identify with those belief systems, we must defend them, for they now define who we are. As we become love-consciousness, we realize that our belief systems are simply ideas we have cultivated throughout our lives. We start to embrace new perspectives with an open mind instead of an automatic rejection. When we become the love, we embody everything. When we limit ourselves to our personalities and belief systems, there is no room in our boxes for anything else.

Prejudice means always going to war. Prejudice means always defending an idea and justifying our discrimination with the excuse of the higher good — for the betterment of humanity, the will of god. “Isms” are always “good-isms” in the eyes of the self-righteous.

Historically, we have dropped bombs, fought, and slaughtered in order to protect our beliefs. Let’s not do that anymore. Every time we fight for an opinion, even within our immediate family, we are creating our own mini-war. The conflict we perceive in the world is just a manifestation of our own internal violence. As we start to choose joy, let’s learn to love the world’s duality and other people’s differences, knowing that they are aspects of ourselves. Let’s find the lightness of laughter and write a new story for the history books to come.

Ask yourself:

In what areas are you prejudiced toward other people, places, or things? Maybe you look down on the people who bag your groceries, or perhaps you turn up your nose to a particular type of food. On the other hand, maybe you put certain people or things on a pedestal, respecting or valuing them more than other things.

Pay attention to the thoughts you have as you go through your days, noticing the areas where you discriminate. Ask yourself, Are these my beliefs, or are they the beliefs of my parents, my grandparents, or my culture? Can you release them and open your heart to the things you’ve been shutting out?

Question every aspect of your personality. Look at it carefully and ask yourself, Is this my reality? Does this serve? Or are these prejudices keeping me trapped in a box, limiting my vision?

Don’t scrutinize yourself from a place of severity. Instead, joyfully become aware of your behaviors, and allow them to evaporate like water that forms clouds to later fall as rain, transformed as a nourishing and inclusive embrace of the world.

Isha Judd is an internationally renowned spiritual teacher and author; her latest book and movie, Why Walk When You Can Fly? explain her system for self-love and the expansion of consciousness. Learn more at www.ishajudd.com


Michael H.
Mike H.3 years ago

I'm sending love vibrations to the universe.

Fiona T.
Fi T.3 years ago

It's everywhere if we dare to kick it away

Angela N.
Angela N.4 years ago


J.L. A.
JL A.4 years ago

education can address the myths and fears which lead to discrimination--and why education is so often a target of those who wish to fuel such fears

Sadashiv D.
Sadashiv D.4 years ago

It is about time we start to love everyone unconditionally and stop jdging.

Sadashiv D.
Sadashiv D.4 years ago

Cildren learn by observing adults. We as adults have to change.

Aubrey G.
Aubrey G.4 years ago

but diuscrimination is not just racism its children, teens, grown adult believing theyre better than their peers, their fellow workers and treating them diffrently for it. Discrimination is ignorance

Aubrey G.
Aubrey G.4 years ago

Can you believe after all this time there is still discrimination? For example look, we have a black president, he hasnt done us wrong. Though many white men did. Why should blacks (just as an example) be considered any less important? God wanted us to be equal to call upon our brothers and sisters and care for them as we would want them to care about us.

Nikhil V.
Nikhil V.4 years ago

great post

Sadashiv D.
Sadashiv D.4 years ago

We are better off not to judge anyone as Isha always says. It is no easy to love everyone unconditionall, we always endup judging inspite of Isha tellin us repeatedly in her videos to love evryone unconditionally. When we love everyone unconditionally then we will not be looking for whom to blame. The EVERYONE should include everone including those who beleve in the things Margaret mentioned. I am convinced that unconitional love and non-judgemental attitiude will solve the problems we are facing today and more.