Landmark Discrimination Ruling

An extremely important ruling from the European Court of Justice has recognised that a woman suffered discrimination as a result of caring for her disabled son.  One of the most significant things is that this was recognised as a form of disability discrimination.  Prior to this ruling, it had been unclear whether a non-disabled person could suffer discrimination on the basis of a disability.  This ruling recognises that a non-disabled person may suffer discrimination as a result of their association with a disabled person.  As a result:

Every employer will have to look at their recruitment and employment practices and make sure they are not discriminating against carers.   

And the implications are even broader, because of the broad way that the ruling was phrased:

Until now, it has not been clear whether you can claim direct discrimination by association in relation to disability – this had only been established when it came to race discrimination.The Advocate-General makes clear that in his view, these same principles would equally apply to direct discrimination or harassment, by association, on grounds of religion or belief, age or sexual orientation.  

Cause for celebration, it seems to me.  (I don’t know what the law is like on discrimination by association elsewhere in the world, and would welcome information on that!)

Attention, US Readers

People for the American Way has set up an election protection hotline, staffed by attorneys around the country.  If witness or experience problems at your polling place on Tuesday (or learn of problems for others), call 1-866-OUR-VOTE. (This isn’t philosophy, but it’s too important not to mention.)

Sunday cat break: Is the other hell?

(With apologies to Sartre!) 

 This Sunday Cat Break addresses deep and important concerns about deceit, duplication and replacement, which can be found in continental philosophy.  However, it does so indirectly, by exploring how these anxieties worked themselves out in a variety of non-traditional communities.  We will look at both genre duplication, where a narrative is reconfigure by different agents, and at individual duplication, where the actor finds her own identity is challenged.

We can start by asking about the duplication of an actor within a genre:  For example:

Suggesting a cat might care might exploit these ideas would be to miss out on the evolutionary place of the independent cat.  Still, a copying can occur even if unintentional while, on a different level as we refocus our attention from the question of genre duplication to fact of individual replacement, deceit and duplication can be a fascinating challenge:

Finding oneself to be beautiful, one may even seek out the duplicate: 

Or use it for one’s own ends:

Taking a page from our felines’ books, we may be able to start to appreciate the variety of responses available to us.

NOTE:  as a long term care taker for cats, particularly hyper oriental cats, I see no sign of  the distress of a feline genuinely feeling threatened.  Cats can act as though they have a sense  of performance, play and irony.   And perhaps they do.   If so, these are very good examples.