PAGE A6 EDITORIAL CARTOON PNT-blood

Discrimination Redefined

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  • There was a time when discrimination meant the “unjust or prejudicial treatment of a group of people based on their race, age or sex.” Now, everyone simply cries, “Discrimination!” at every moment they feel they have been “oppressed” in any way. This is very evident in the way teens loosely use the word “racist” when someone exclaims an obvious deviance from the norm, which is sometimes factual, nonetheless, becomes prejudicial because it involves a person who isn’t white, straight or intelligent.

    I always tell my students to call a cat a cat, and a dog a dog. What society has taught us to do with being too politically correct is to put words into other people’s mouths, even if they just meant to tell the truth. Today, no one likes to hear the truth. If one does state the truth, they will be called discriminatory, prejudicial or simply, a “racist”, even if they were not even talking about anything that resembles an argument on race.

    In the wake of the shootings in Orlando, people took the courage to donate blood to hospitals to assist the wounded. They flocked to blood donation centres, only to find out that if you are a man who has sex with another man (MSM), you are not allowed to donate blood unless your last sexual intercourse was 12 months ago. This is a policy set in the US to ensure that blood donated to the banks are clear of the HIV/AIDS virus that is transmittable through sexual intercourse with several partners, in particular men with other men. A number of  LGBTQ groups have been screaming discrimination for not being allowed to donate blood on the basis of their sexuality. It’s another battle they’re waging on the entire human race because of the choices they made.

    The Canadian Blood Services (CBS) has a similar policy and has reduced  its wait period from never to five years to 12 months. Aside from this, their lengthy questionnaire also asks if the donor has been engaged in sex with a commercial sex worker, and other high risk sexual behaviours. The CBS wants to assure the public that the blood that is donated is not tainted with the disease and can protect both the donor and the recipient; however, CBS also admits that screening for HIV/AIDS or other transmittable diseases through the blood is not 100% accurate, and the 12-month period can help determine eligibility, but cannot assure it to be disease-free.

    While it seems heroic to donate blood, have people who have high-risk sexual behaviours thought about the consequences of giving tainted blood to an otherwise healthy person, and after a few years find out that they had a transmittable disease that they transferred to someone else just because they wanted to feel good about themselves by donating blood?

    In the future, when I am in need of a blood transfusion, do I have the Canadian right to ask where the blood came from, knowing that testing for accuracy of non-tainted blood is “not 100%”? The answer is a flat no, unless I want a whole group of people screaming “Discrimination!” at my deathbed for refusing the transfusion. If  one thinks about it, we, the receiver, seem to have no choice anymore, and we have to agree to a policy we didn’t choose in the first place, simply because the government did not want to protect its citizens, even if scientific studies have proven the fact that it cannot detect any disease accurately. Well, the Liberal government has a reputation for wanting what is popular, and not necessarily efficient, just like their standard-bearer.

    The 12-month wait period for people with high-risk sexual behaviours to donate blood should not be misconstrued as discrimination. It is to safeguard (of sorts!) the health  of every human being, from the smallest infant to the oldest person, and prevent the spread of disease such as HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, and others.

    It’s not discrimination. It’s science.

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