The Virtue Of Discrimination Essay

1119 words - 4 pages

The Virtue of Discrimination

Discrimination is a word that has taken on a negative connotation in today's society. Since the beginning of the equal rights movement, the perceived meaning of the word discrimination has shifted from that of a useful virtue to one of an insulting, derogatory word. Robert Keith Miller wrote an essay for Newsweek in the summer of 1980 that focuses on the discrepancies in the use of the word discrimination. “Discrimination Is a Virtue” points out the differences in the dictionary’s definition of the word discrimination and the perceived societal definition of the word. Miller explains the confusion of the word discrimination with the words discriminate against and worries that discrimination may be forever viewed as a fault rather than a virtue. He encourages his readers to not discriminate against individuals or groups, but to remember that there are still distinctions to be made (86). Robert Keith Miller presents a convincing argument for the necessity of discrimination by using a comparison and contrast argument to appeal to the readers emotions in his article “Discrimination Is a Virtue”.

Robert Keith Miller was a writer for Newsweek in 1980. As a writer for a nationally renowned magazine, he can be trusted as a professional journalist. Miller writes his article “Discrimination Is a Virtue” for the readers of Newsweek. The audience of the magazine are predominately educated professionals in society. They are the very people that he is attempting to remind of the true definition of discrimination. Millers audience is intelligent enough to be able to realize the differences in “discriminating against” and “discrimination” but may be unaware of the problem this confusion is causing.

Robert Miller’s purpose is to make his audience aware of the differences between discrimination and discriminating against and the effects that the failure to recognize this difference could have. He seeks to eliminate the negative association with the word discrimination and writes the article in an attempt to illustrate the need for discrimination in society. Miller presents discrimination as “a virtue which we desperately need”(87). He uses the issue of “mainstreaming” in the school system to illustrate its’ lack of discrimination and similarly, our mental health systems perceived rush to return its’ patients to the “real world”(86). Miller also points out the irony of our societies ability to use good discrimination in our day to day lives but not as a group when making important governmental policies(86). These examples are used to illustrate the benefit of discrimination in our schools, mental health system and governmental policy making. He ultimately seeks to keep his readers open-minded, “but not so open-minded that our brains fall out” (87).

“Discrimination Is a Virtue” uses a compare and contrast structured argument to illustrate the virtues of discrimination. Miller begins this...

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