Think about the following questions and discuss or write your answers:
- Does treating people equally mean treating them the same?
- What would it mean to treat people equally in the following situations?
- A man and a woman apply for a job as a shoe sales person. What would
the employer have to do to treat these two applicants equally?
- Two patients come to a doctor with a headache. The doctor
determines that one patient has a brain tumor and the other patient has a
run-of-the mill headache. What would the doctor have to do to treat
these two patients equally?
- Two students try to enter a school that has stairs leading to
the entrance. One student is handicapped and the other is not. What
would the school have to do to treat these two students equally?
- Two students live in the same school district. The students are
the same age, but they are different races. What does the school
district have to do to treat these two students equally.
Discrimination occurs when some people are treated differently
than others because of their membership in a group, based on, for
example, race, age, gender, or religion. When courts consider cases of
discrimination, they look at the equal protection clause of the
14th Amendment to determine whether that alleged discrimination is
reasonable and legal or whether it violates the Constitution.
"No state shall . . . deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
— Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment (1868)