Recently a woman named Tailin Lyngdoh from Meghalaya was removed from the Delhi gold club premises by staff officials because she was wearing a traditional dress ‘Khasi’ and was apparently looking like a ‘maid’. The union government minister Mr. Kiren Rijiju has protested against this incident by saying that it is a clear case of racial discrimination and is wrong. He is asking the Delhi police to investigate this matter and punish the club owners.
Now, instead of making noise like the minster, let us analyze this case logically. The real question here is: is there anything wrong in such discrimination? Not really. Discrimination per se is not wrong or bad. In fact, it is a right of every individual. Let us see why.
Right to discrimination is a human right which in turn, fundamentally, is a right to private property. As Murray Rothbard said, all human rights are basically property rights. As property owners we all decide everyday to whom we are going to give admission in our home or office or a golf club and to whom not. There is nothing wrong in this. Discrimination is a basic outcome of individual choice. Every human being is at liberty to choose what they want as long as they are not violating others’ similar liberty by aggressing upon their person and property.
As Prof. Mises said, the right to ones property implies not only the ‘right of association’ but also the ‘right of disassociation’. A person is free to associate, with mutual consent, with other person and also disassociate whenever he feels the reason to do so. Such discrimination is a normal day to day behavior of all human beings as can be seen in everyone making choices e.g., if a girl chooses one bridegroom for herself out of total fifty then we don’t say that the girl did something horribly wrong by discriminating against remaining forty nine candidates; if person X goes to buy his grocery from a particular store like the Big Bazaar then we don’t say that he is an evil racist who discriminated against the local grocery stores! Like that with all other choices that we make daily. We live our lives in a general condition of scarcity and that means we have to choose one thing over another; we have to prioritize everything because choosing everything at one time is impossible. We all face such trade-offs at every moment of our lives. Such choice of one thing over another is not bad, but necessary. Discrimination, stereotyping etc., are necessary part of our day to day normal lives.
So fundamentally it was the Delhi Gold Club owners’ right to remove Ms. Tailin Lyngdoh from their premises because their rules didn’t allow her to be there. Ms. Tailin, or the minister, has no right of accusing the golf club of doing something wrong by practicing discrimination because she was the one who was violating their rules in the first place!
N.B.: Anyone interested in pursuing this idea of right to discrimination further is advised to study Prof. Walter Block’s brilliant book, The Case for Discrimination.