Why is it important to have laws that prevent discrimination?
Anti-discrimination laws protect certain groups today and all of humans in the future. The importance of these laws cannot be understated. Without them, anyone, at anytime, may decide to discriminate against a group of people for any reason. By simply having these laws, we prevent some future discrimination. Those that may wish to discriminate in ways not yet prevented by law specifically may not because of the laws already in place.
The most basic laws prevent discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, relition or national origin. Later laws prevent discrimination based on more descriptors such as age and disability. These laws help insure that anyone who breaks them is held accountable and that remedies are put into place so that the discrimination is not as likely to occur again.
The laws protect individuals but also protect people as a whole and the free society in which we leave. Laws against employment discrimination for example, help to insure that all people have the same opportunities to make a living or have a career. Without these laws, one can see that the nature of our society and our way of life would begin to deteriorate.
It is important to have such laws for at least two reasons. One reason has to do with specific groups of people while the other has to do with our society as a whole.
On one level, these laws are important to specific groups of people. There are people who might well be discriminated against if it were legal to do so. The anti-discrimination laws protect those people’s ability to live their lives like everyone else. The laws protect their right to get jobs and to find housing, for example. The laws also protect their dignity. Such laws specify and affirm that members of these groups are just as good as anyone else
On another level, these laws are important for our whole society. Without these laws, we are more likely to discriminate against certain groups. When we do this, it reduces the amount of justice that we have in our society. As we permit injustices to be done to some people, we make it more likely that more injustice will be done in our society. Thus, these laws protect and strengthen our society, not just the specific groups of people that are named in the laws.