DiscriminationBuzzword of the day: discrimination. It's a word so emotionally and politically charged, that we can't seem to take a breath and insert logic on the subject. And everyone knows that discriminating against people is wrong. Discrimination is terrible! Discrimination is evil! We must eradicate discrimination!

But is discrimination really all that? Or are we hyperventilating too much of the politically correct air surrounding us to think clearly? In answer to the first question, I say, “No way!” (I might have said, “No way, Jose!” But I'm pretty sure someone would have called me a racist.)

Let's start with the definition of discrimination:

Discrimination: differentiate, distinguish, draw a distinction, tell the difference, tell apart; separate, separate the sheep from the goats, separate the wheat from the chaff

Discrimination isn't inherently bad or good. It depends on the application.

I love artichokes but I really hate fruitcake. That's discrimination. When specified, most people realize they tolerate discrimination of this kind all day long. But when pressed, the argument will often become, “Well, it's OK to discriminate about things, but not about people.”

Is that a reasonable position?

We'd probably agree that you shouldn't discriminate friends based on skin color. But would it be wrong to be discriminating (about anything!) when choosing a spouse?

It simply stands to reason that there are appropriate times to discriminate with regards to people. For example, is it acceptable to base discrimination on the actual behavior of people?

While the level of tolerance will vary widely, everyone will have limits with regard to what kind of behavior they will allow in their own home. In other words, we'd all discriminate against particular people based on their behavior.

What about religious or values differences? Should you hate someone who is of a difference religious/values persuasion? I'd say of course not. Should you consider it when marrying? I'd say of course.

When I was dating with marriage in mind, I had a number of gay friends, but I didn't consider them as prospective marriage partners. Discrimination? Sure. Wrong? I don't think so.