Historical Karma Linked to Discrimination

When I was a child, I thought that it would be hilarious to push my brother down a slide, until I then fell off the slide as well. My mom, who had witnessed the entire scene, then helped me up and said, “what comes around goes around”. While this was one of my first experiences with karma, it certainly wasn’t my last. As kids, we are all taught to treat each other as we would want to be treated, and that what you dish out, will just come back to bite you. I frequently questioned these statements, as there were only a few examples that I had experienced. However, in the non-fiction book called Bomb by Steve Sheinkin, there are many more examples. From time and time again, whether it be from Germany or America, Sheinkin constantly proves that discrimination can hurt the targeted group, as well as the group doing the targeting.

An example of this is when the Germans sent the Jewish chemists away, even though they could have helped them win the war. In World War Two, the Nazis got rid of all of the Jewish people in Germany and then began to spread their ideas by taking over other countries and territories. However, before Hitler and his Nazis spread into other territories, they rid their country of all “undesirables” first. This included all physicists that were Jewish, who could have greatly increased the probability of the Germans winning the arms race to build the atomic bomb. Additionally, because the Aryans in Germany believed that they were the preeminent race, in order to vaunt their superiority to others, they burned or destroyed all work done by Jewish scientists or authors. As made clear to anyone who inquires about the holocaust, the merciless and barbarous treatment of the “undesirables” in Germany far surpassed any discrimination or genocides in the past or since then. However, the Nazis and the German army did not necessarily benefit from this. If these scientists would have stayed, then other countries, such as Britain or America, wouldn’t have gotten help from these capable, brilliant scientists that ultimately helped America to win the arms race. Therefore, if Germany would have kept the Jewish physicists, it is more likely that they would have won the arms race, which would have allowed them to win the war.

Another example of when discrimination can hurt the oppressors was when America drove Robert Oppenheimer away because he supported communism. During the arms race to build the atomic bomb, America hired Robert Oppenheimer to lead the project. In spite of their willingness to trust Oppenheimer at the beginning of the project, after a thorough background check on him, the government uncovered that Oppenheimer supported communism, and had many communist friends. This sparked immense controversy because America feared that he was a spy for the Soviets, and so, at various different points in the project, the government would follow Oppenheimer around in order to make sure that he was veering away from his Soviet connections. An example of this is when the government tracked all of his phone calls, letters and messages, and sometimes, his location and meetings with friends. Because of this investigation of Oppenheimer, he began to lose trust in the government, just as they lost trust in him. After the building of the atomic bomb, Oppenheimer was sent to court to determine if he was guilty of spying for the Soviet Union. There, it was decided that Oppenheimer was guilty, despite all of the evidence that he was innocent, and his ability to help the government build more atomic weapons was revoked. Around this time, America was in an intense Cold War with the Soviet Union, and to lose one of our greater physicists was detrimental to our progress on making new and better atomic weapons. If the government would have listened to Oppenheimer and the evidence supporting him, instead of immediately assuming that because he supported communism, he was a Soviet spy, then it is likely that we would have been for ahead of the Soviet’s in the Cold War, and it might have had a much prompter ending.

All in all, there are many cases where people who discriminate against others will experience karma, and their wrong actions will damage them as well. Whether that be in Germany when Hitler got rid of all of his Jewish physicists and that slowed their progress in the arms race, or in America when our discrimination against Robert Oppenheimer led to him being taken off of the atomic bomb project, which weakened our chance of winning the Cold War. While these examples are of major events, you see this idea in everyday life as well. Anything from discriminating against someone that could help you, such as a doctor or a friend, and in turn not receiving that help, to having your discriminatory acts make you hated by others, are examples of discrimination hurting the oppressors, as well as the oppressed. Karma is inevitable; no person or group, no matter how strong they are, can prevent karma. What comes around truly does go around.

I’m a eighth grade student in Illinois writing about discrimination in literature.