Stigma is used to describe the negative way we think about, feel and act towards someone who is different from us. Who and what we stigmatize knows no bounds. We talk about ‘stigma’ in situations of being diagnosed as mentally ill, or having HIV, or being addicted to pain killers or alcohol. But what is meant by ‘stigma’ in these situations is rarely articulated.
As an expert on youth in the workforce, when asked to get involved with the Hult Prize @Duke—a competition among college students around the world to generate ideas that could create 10,000 jobs for youth within 10 years—I jumped at the opportunity to get on the court. Duke University seeded 17 teams of three to four students who had ideas they wanted to pursue. I was to serve as a judge (referee) for the “final four.” (I was disappointed not to have been given a striped shirt).