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Racism embodies the ideology or practice via demonstrated power of perceiving the dominance of one group over others by on the grounds of color, race, ethnicity, or cultural heritage, whereby ethnic minorities might be perceived as being biologically (intrinsically) inferior and, thus, practices detailing their domination and exploitation are justified. In many places across the world, racism is manifested at individual, group, or institutional level. Individual racism comprising of overt acts perpetuated by individuals that injure another or their property; institutional racism, which details processes that, deliberately, or not, yield to the prolonged exclusion of a subordinate group and activities and practices that are fashioned to safeguard the advantages of the superior group and/or sustain or broaden the uneven position of a subordinate group. Racism has over the years been institutionalized and sustained via educational, economic, religious, political, social, and cultural policies and activities.
Racism is functional in that it is employed to sustain structural inequalities within the society that are skewed against individuals of color or minority groups. Systematic discrimination against certain members of visibly identifiable racial and ethnic groups has continued to pervade most aspects of people’s lives inclusive of education, politics, economics, religion, social relationships, housing, and employment.
Sources and causes of racism and deeply embedded throughout major aspects of many societies. The sources and causes of racism can be delineated as colonialism whereby the intrinsically racist process of colonialisation availed the basis and continued presence of systematic racism within most societies. Other causes of racism include pervasive ignorance, fear and lack of appreciation of cultural diversity, power and privilege. One of the outstanding impacts of racism in disadvantaging the minorities details the invisibility of the achievement of minorities over the centuries. Since capitalist societies mainly recognize achievements that can be translated into monetary terms, the portrayal of minority groups as criminals or poverty stricken serves to paint them as burdens of history. As a result, racism leads to entrenching of disadvantaged position of ethnic minorities.
Historically, racism has been employed to validate the conquering of ethnic minorities to obtain key resources such as land, strategic military outposts, or forced cheap labour. In most societies diverse racial and ethnic groups possess unequal access to power, prestige, presumed worth, and resources whereby individuals possessing superior power, majority group, develop a system of inequality by controlling the less-powerful groups. The resultant system of inequality is then sustained and perpetuated via social forces.
The impact of racism within the society are widely manifested in poor health and health services, low wages, inadequate access to mental health services, substandard housing, high incidences of school dropouts, high unemployment and under-employment, and reduced access t higher education opportunities, as well as other institution maladies. It is ironical that the lack of jobs, housing, or other resources has led to minority scapegoating whereby ethnic minorities are increasingly becoming a scapegoat for prevalent social problems within the society.
Forms and modern manifestations of racism
In equality in access to critical resources within the society such as health across ethnic groups may not be necessarily reducible to socioeconomic arrangement. Indeed, the relative deprivation encountered by ethnic minorities within the society is highly likely to involve more than mere material disadvantage as ethnic minorities face significant alienation and racial harassment. Research indicates that racial harassment and perceptions of prejudice possess significant impact in disadvantaging ethnic minorities within the society.
In the contemporary society, there is an increase and support gained by political parties and entities that that openly express racist, bigoted, and xenophobic views. This has placed ethnic minorities, who are marginally represented, at a disadvantage mainly through exclusion policies. Minorities are also underrepresented in decision-making and administrative positions and the instituted affirmative programs have only yielded conflict and polarity among the employees.
Racism has been widely reported in the arena of employment, which leads to economic depression for members of the oppressed racial and ethnic groups. The experience of majority of ethnic minority within the job market has not been always pleasant or positive with some individuals from minority groups and recent immigrants earning relatively lower pay than their white counterparts despite being sometimes well qualified and highly educated. In some cases, racial discrimination is reported within the workplace centring on an individual’s appearance, denial of career advancement opportunities, and ascription of cultural stereotypes to individuals.
There is a continued absence of employment opportunities for ethnic minorities, although the general agreement cited mainly details lack of skills on the part of the ethnic minorities. Nevertheless, in most cases structural barriers hamper access to the labour market, plus other economic opportunities. Similarly, the unemployment rate for adolescents from ethnic minorities is in many instances disproportionately distributed with higher percentages reported among people from ethnic minorities compared to their white counterparts.
Individuals from minority groups often have lower education attainment. The persistent low levels of educational and occupational outcomes attained by ethnic minorities can be cited, in part, as resulting from structural discrimination within the education sector. This can be regarded as systemic racism and the reluctance education authorities and the government to introduce various cultural models of learning and teaching within the curricula, which in turn leads to a disproportionate access of education. The education system in some societies systematically denies similar access and prospect to children from ethnic minorities, especially where the minorities are poor.
Some minority groups encounter challenges in gaining accommodation whereby minorities (people of different race or color) are expected to reside in separate districts. This represents a microcosm mirroring all the major facets at all levels of society. Ethnic minorities are often denied accommodation based on race manifested in numerous cases where individuals from the ethnic minorities are informed of availability of accommodation, but later informed of non-availability after their race or ethnic background became known. Similarly, individuals from ethnic minorities are sometimes issued with inadequate and inappropriate public housing stock. In many instances, ethnic minorities have minimal choice as to places that they reside and often end up paying higher rent for less adequate housing. It is documented that mortgage and lending institutions within the U.S. have on several occasions perpetuated the illegal practice of redlining mortgages in minority neighborhoods. Studies in this area have unearthed consistent discrimination against ethnic minorities by financial institutions, real estate agencies, and landlords.
Individuals from ethnic minorities often face discrimination in the day-to-day provision of goods and services manifested by the lack of services availed by majority of Councils. Social service mainly masks symptoms of larger problems such as racism, illiteracy, unemployment, and poverty. The need for social service stem from economic policies and practices and in many cases, the society puts the blame on minority groups and constantly adjust the individuals to suit the existing societal conditions.
The pervasive disproportionate high rates of incarceration of individuals from ethnic minorities are frequently cited as mirroring the systemic discrimination within the society. Individuals from ethnic minorities often, especially males, often complain of over-policing. There are numerous claims of individuals from ethnic minorities being searched by security personnel devoid of reasonable justification. The ethnic descriptors employed by the police, politicians, and the media yields “criminalization of ethnic minorities. As a result, Ethnic minorities sometimes are unwilling to report incidences of racist crime to law enforcement authorities in the belief that their report will not be acted upon.
Minority ethnic groups often possess disproportionately high incidences of criminal offending and victimization. This is largely driven by factors such as persistent racial inequality and concentrated poverty that culminate into frustration, which, in turn, heightens delinquency and possible aggression. Ethnic minorities who are racially segregated and who manifest high rates of poverty, family disruption, social isolation, and unemployment experience high levels of crime and violence. High concentrations of poverty and high levels of racial segregation have interacted to create social conditions that disadvantage ethnic minorities.
The core factor influencing health inequality within the UK centres on the social class. A significant section of ethnic minorities are frequently located within the lowest social classes, which renders them vulnerable to diseases of poverty and deprivation. Healthcare systems in societies where racism is rife do not meet the needs of people of ethnic minorities whereby healthcare costs continue to increase while the quality and accessibility of services decrease. Moreover, too many health care facilities tend to be established in places that are inaccessible to low-income urban neighborhoods where most ethnic minorities reside.
The welfare system has in instances been exploited to keep wages low and sustain a pool of people available undertake menial, unskilled jobs. Public welfare services in most instances fail to include services such as educational, child care, family planning, job training, or unemployment insurance services that will contribute to the empowerment of individuals to gain from the economic system. The disregard for individual rights and human dignity, incoherent policies, and contravention of regulations has frequently typified the administration and delivery of public assistance, which, in turn, places minority groups who apply for assistance at a disadvantage.
Racism significantly restrains and minimizes the contributions that ethnic minorities deliver in any society. Racism is pervasive within majority of societies and continues to be silent code that methodically constrains the opportunities for most minority groups. The consequent discrimination and social exclusion of ethnic minorities can yield to a disadvantaged socioeconomic position and poor health of ethnic minorities within the society. Similarly, racism may disadvantage ethnic minorities as a result of the psychological processes that might stem from the direct experience of racism, or perceptions regarding living in a racist society. It is apparent that members of racial and ethnic dominated groups persist to struggle for equal access and opportunity, especially during moments of widespread, unemployment, and inflation.
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