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Is Racial Marginalization Worse than Socio-Economic Marginalization?
Another way to address the question at hand is to decide which of these is more detrimental to society: being forced to sit in the back of the bus because of something you can’t change, like your skin color, or having to sell yourself on the streets of your own community to make enough money to support not only yourself, but also your struggling family. The bus option doesn’t sound so bad when these two are side-by-side, but these examples of marginalization are merely two peas of the same pod, just on different sides of a horrible spectrum. The correct answer, in fact, is that there is no correct answer. Both racial/ethnic and socio-economic marginalization are negative scenarios happening in todays world as a result of yesterday’s politics that could easily be repaired and changed for a better society if the society itself were to “walk the talk” through social entrepreneurial efforts.
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Within the barriers of racial marginalization are events in history that make the world question how it overcame such hurdles. One of these hurdles were the unjust actions of the British to the Indian people of South Africa in the 20th century, one of which was Ghandi himself. After they settled, the British wasted no time separating the powers of the people by physical attributes and ethnic backgrounds. Indians were treated as slaves and were forced to partake in indentured labor. Ghandi witnessed these actions and began his revolutionary campaign to fight for the rights of his people (bennym100, 2013). Unlike the beatings and abuse to the Indians by the British, Ghandi fought against ordinances like The Black Act through civil disobedience because he believed that these rules were unjust and needed change (Allen, 2018). Because of the way Indians were treated and marginalized by these laws and regulations that aimed to purposefully hurt the working class, it was this type of passive protest that made Ghandi a revolutionary changemaker and leader.
An example of socio-economic marginalization can be found in Australia where Muslims are heavily marginalized due to their beliefs, which contributes to their socio-economic class. According to this case study, unemployment and poverty rates in Muslim Australians is significantly higher than those who are not. The absurdity is in the numbers. The study found that even though 21% of Muslim men are equipped with college degrees, compared to 15% of non-Muslims, “their age-specific unemployment rates are two to four times higher than those of non-Muslim Australian” (Hassan,2010). Muslims in Australia are at an extreme disadvantage, and the inequalities are not just alarming, they are prohibiting minorities from ever reaching a level higher than they are.
When it comes to socio-economic status, only if the availability of fair opportunities to grow and earn in society is present could one rise from their class and/or maintain a decent living. This is the opposite for one major example of this type of marginalization happening in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is well know for its discriminatory workplace features, especially to those of ethnic difference (Kwok Wai Wong, 2014). According to a recent case study, Nepalese and Pakistani construction workers are the preferred when starting projects due to their low pay rates. They also make up a large fraction of Hong Kong’s 5% of cultural minorities and 1.3% of people living below the poverty line. Because they are minorities, both economically and ethnically, they must live in their low class with no promise of economic growth due to marginalization in their own communities. This is a case of both socio-economic and ethnic discrimination and without proper entrepreneurial efforts aimed at achieving fair trade and anti-marginalization, the world will continue to be a dangerous and unfair place for many people all over the world.
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Social entrepreneurship, even in its smallest and purest form, can significantly make impact towards finding solutions to these issues. All it takes is people willing to help people. Take TruTrade for example. This company is a partnership between two CEOs who want to change the conditions of the trading industry by implementing a technology that keeps everyone connected to increase fair trade communication (HCL Digital Solutions, 2016). They learned that buying low and selling high was not the correct way to trade, and that this was actually hurting the very people that keep the trading business flowing. Their efforts to make positive changes in Africa have proven themselves through the results; traders are learning about better options, and even making more than enough to support their families. While everyone is profiting, the company stays afloat, and traders can even put their own money back into the company. This is just one way that social enterprise can help stop socio-economic marginalization, and this ideology can be implemented with racial and ethnic marginalization as well. Because neither one of these options are better than the other, using change efforts could tie these two together the more we implement social enterprise. During a conversation with Timea Varga, she spoke about the sad realities of unfair industries and marginalization in the workplace (personal communication, September 9, 2019). “I understand what you’re saying, but the civility of talking through our differences is slowly diminishing”. That sentence reflects how society has changed and how transparency and communication are key when it comes to successful changemaking. In another discussion, she expressed that weak social capital is “when money is used to promote or make inequalities rather than bridge them”, and that is exactly what social enterprise could help prevent: when people care about helping people.
As proven through the examples above, there is no correct answer to the big question. Both forms of marginalization are detrimental to society, impede on economic growth of all classes, and most importantly, can easily be counteracted by social enterprise by people who are willing to make change simply because they believe change must occur. Mary Robinson believed that in a true democratic society, everyone’s voice should be heard and that there should be more leaders in the world who care bout the people they are leading. That is a much-needed change. So is the answer to the big question both? Or neither?
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