Long before our generation lived, discrimination lived. Discrimination in the past took its different forms and shapes, nonetheless, modern-day society is not an expectation. From the early ages of slavery and white supremacy to our current society today, there has been progress. Conversely, it is with a heavy heart to address that discrimination of all kinds have yet to be rid of. Before we get started, let us begin by explaining discrimination. Defining discrimination is a tough task to tackle, as there is so much entailed into this sole descriptive. The classic definition of discrimination however according to dictionary.com is: “the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex” (Dictionary). In other words, discrimination is the denial of opportunity, and/or equal rights towards a certain group of people. Discrimination can be constructed towards many groups and for that follow the many types of discrimination: age discrimination, religious discrimination, gender discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination, mental or physical disability discrimination and more. Discrimination occurs in many places including but not limited to the work place, schools, social affiliated places, on media, in literary work, on the news, etc. In honor of our current standing discriminative issues, this paper we will be focusing on discrimination against minorities in which groups racial and ethnicity discrimination. We will also explore some reasons for discriminations presence and ways to deal or rid of it. Minority discrimination in specific is a vague description of its attributes.
Minority discrimination or discrimination against minorities follows the definition of discrimination. However, to fully grasp the idea of discrimination against minorities let us dive deeper into the definition of a minority. The literal meaning of the word minority is the “smaller number” or the “smaller part”. A minority in legal terms is a group in which is a part of a population differing from others in some characteristics and often subjected to differential treatment. Minority can include people of a different color such as Hispanics or African Americans. It can also include people of different religious beliefs such as Muslims or Jews. A group of minorities can include individuals who speak another language. In other words, a minority group is a group of individuals who do not fit into their particular society due to their differences. Sociologist Louis Wirth (1945) defined a minority group as “any group of people who, because of their physical or cultural characteristics, are singled out from the others in the society in which they live for differential and unequal treatment, and who therefore regard themselves as objects of collective discrimination”. Why are these subjective groups targets of discrimination?
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If we were to analyze the United States of American to categorize its citizen into groups based on their race and ethnicity, we would find a major skew in data points. America is a very diverse country, still, it is majority white. According to Wikipedia an estimate of 72% of America’s populations is white. Furthermore, we can also come to terms on the fact that certain groups in our society are more or less powerful than others. A big factor that plays a role in discrimination is dominancy. Ideally, the more powerful group would be fixed the title of the “dominant group”. This dominate group is known to be the group who does the discriminating by the sociologist. This group is also known to have the most power, greatest privilege, and highest social status. That being said, numbers are not a huge player in the distinction of a dominant group. Put differently, the dominant group is not necessarily the majority group. A small dominant group can still hold power over the majority. In contrast, a minority group is an opposite. They are a group of people who are singles out, hold less to no power in society, are underprivileged or not privileged at all, and do not hold much status in their society. For that reason, they are subject to unequal treatment and are objects of collective discrimination. These minority groups are often marginalized. Meaning, they are restricted to an insignificant or powerless position within society. Marginalized groups are socially excluded, disadvantaged, and often at the unconventional extreme of society.
Understanding discrimination, its meaning, and how it works is an advantage, but more is required for one to acquire the ability to fully grasp a concept and further relate. In this instance we understand discrimination, however, we have yet to relate to it or grasp its examples in real-time. What does the act of discrimination entail? Well to answer that question one must understand the types of discrimination. There are four major types of discrimination: direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment, and victimization. Direct discrimination is when one is clearly treated differently in which causes you a disadvantage. Indirect discrimination is when an individual is treated the same as everyone else and it put them at a disadvantage. Harassment is considered unwanted conduct, related to the relevant protected characteristics or be of a sexual nature. The unwanted conduct can be written, verbal or physical and is based upon the victim’s (reasonable) perception of the conduct rather than how the harasser intends it. Victimization occurs when one is treated differently because they’ve made an allegation of discrimination, supported or given evidence in a case of discrimination, or raised a complaint concerning equality. Knowing discriminative actions is important for identification, prevention, and response.
Discrimination is omnipresent and for that, it is important to understand it in order to detect it and make a change. To illustrate, we judge other people because of their social status, ethnicity, gender, and way of behavior or their specific worldview. Some may argue that such traits are human nature. Contrariwise, others believe that they are traits installed into us as a result of our society. Furthermore, the main reason discrimination occurs is due to the association of the way one may look, act, think and speak. Forthrightly, it is natural as human beings to judge or categorize people or objects as it is normal cognitive behavior. Discrimination though goes beyond just cognitive behavior. After breaking down discrimination, one can confidently define a difference in natural cognitive human behavior and discrimination. Research shows that the attitudes of individuals who discriminate are a reflection of a complex set of factors including their history, sociocultural practices, economic forces, sociological trends, and influence of society, community and family beliefs. I think that, though we’re not naturally racist, we’re naturally “groupist.” Evolution seems to have molded us to eagerly define whole groups of people as the enemy, after which we can find their suffering, even death, very easy to express and even facilitate. Robert wright, other of New evidence that racism isn’t natural brings up a good point of view to consider on the matter: “When it comes to defining this enemy–defining the “out-group”–people are very flexible. The out-group can be defined by its language, its religion, its skin color, its jersey color…It all depends on which group we consider in some sense threatening to our interests. It’s in this sense that race is a “social construct.” It’s not a category that’s inherently correlated with our patterns of fear or mistrust or hatred, though, obviously, it can become one. So it’s within our power to construct a society in which race isn’t a meaningful construct”. It is important to note that the cause of discrimination is its effect which includes racism, sexism, ageism, etc. Wrights argument on why racism isn’t natural correlates to discrimination because racism is a stem of discrimination and minority discrimination (due to them often being of a different race).
Although the United States has come a long way since the days of slavery, and huge steps were made towards surrendering equal rights on the basis of race in the 1960s, racism and discrimination is still a very demanding problem in the US today. Most of America would agree that discrimination is wrong and inhumane, however, why is it still visible in our society? Our society today has gone through a dramatic shift due to its new representative of America. It is proven that a leader can be a huge effector on their civilians. A leaders viewpoints and encouragements are well heard and often reciprocated. A survey was conducted requesting civilians response to the effect of the president on their happiness and overall point of view and the results showed that: “about half of Americans (52%) say ‘the person who is serving as president’ affects their overall happiness a fair amount (30%) or a great deal (22%). Americans also say the presidency has a major effect on their fundamental attitudes about the nation as a whole and, on a personal level, their standard of living. At least two-thirds say the presidency affects them at least a fair amount on each of these aspects of their lives” (Norman). Seeing that the president can affect that many aspects of his civilians lives, one can also say that the views and beliefs of a president can be grabbing or encouraging to those who agree.
Our culture in America is one filled with saturated politics, from the politics incorporated into tv shows, entertainment awards, social media, scientific studies, even educational programs, it is hard to eliminate influential effects regarding political figures. Add to the mix a president who was already a controversial national celebrity before he entered politics, his influence is unquestionably present. Our current president Donald J Trump is a man looking to “make America great again”. To be frank, making America great again cannot be defined in terms of what Trump means. However, with the actions followed by his campaign, we can gather an understanding of his direction for America in his time served. Donald trumps immigration policy was one of the trumps signature issues to be resolved. Following his election, Donald trump Following his campaign in 2015 Donald Trump had made a promise to America to build a substantial wall on the united states border to ban all Mexicans and force Mexico to pay for it. He also issued a travel ban in which prohibited giving visas to seven largely-Muslim countries and further attempted to end the Deferred Action for childhood arrivals program (DACA). The purpose of this program is to protect eligible immigrant youth who came to the United States as children from deportation by giving young undocumented immigrants protection from deportation and a work permit.
Trump’s actions were loud and clear, nevertheless, his words packed a stronger punch. When Trump first launched his campaign in 2015, he began by calling Mexicans immigrants “rapists” who are “bringing crime” and “bringing drugs” to the US: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” (Lee). Later In 2016, he made a pitch to black voters saying: “You’re living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?” (LoBianco). Then In 2010, there was a huge national controversy in terms of building the ground zero mosque in Manhattan in which trump opposed the project proceeding to say “Well, somebody’s blowing us up. Somebody’s blowing up buildings, and somebody’s doing lots of bad stuff” (David). Due to the president of America being vocally discriminate, it has caused his followers to be more comfortable to also be confrontational in their views. Many civilians, minorities especially, have been discriminated against and harassed in their home towns. In August of 2017, a protest was held in Charlottesville, Virginia. Multiple white nationalist groups march with torches wherein they marched toward a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee carrying tiki torches, swastikas, and semi-automatic rifles and chanting slogans like “White lives matter” and “Jews will not replace us!”. The political magazine explained the march: “On Aug. 12, 2017, a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville turned deadly when a 20-year-old Ohio man allegedly accelerated his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and leaving 19 others injured, five critically”. In the process of the protest, there was a kill and multiple injuries. The rise of this protest stemmed from the issues of racism in which many people were directly discriminated against, harassed, and physically harmed. Discrimination is an ongoing epidemic. We have learned that it is not enough to just allow hateful and divined rhetoric to saturate in our political discourse but our leader and the elected official must make a move. It is important for our elected officials to set good examples and not stand by as discrimination is taking part against certain groups such as minorities, immigrants, Americans of different races and ethnicities, LGBT Americans.
Combating discrimination against minorities will not be easy. However, it can start with us. Standing together to correct the wrong is a powerful move that can reciprocate ripples throughout the generations. One can start with themselves. Start by evaluating yourself honestly and justly. Start by correcting the wrong in yourself. Further, being mindful of others and your surroundings, thinking before you speak, or act can also help adjusts the issue. Another move that can make an impact on a larger group of individuals can be accomplished through education. Educating ourselves with races and discrimination can help one be more self-aware and considerate and should be followed help with the implementation of the learning. For those with children, practice the behavior in which are a satisfactory act for children to mimic as they are absorbing sponges as they grow. Spreading of positivity, kindness, and standing up for one another is a solution that has been implemented universally but continuing this gesture will only upsurge the prize. An additional solution that we’ve addressed earlier is to be more aware of discrimination, and when witnessed, taking a course of action if able to. Furth more, Fighting for our rights. Our rights are given to us by the first amendment. Including the right for one to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their religion and to use their language. And finally, a great solution to the progression of elimination of discrimination is voting. Each vote cast, every voice heard is one step closer to a fit, fair, respected leader to run our country.
The epidemic of discrimination is visible, however, it has yet to be further acknowledged and given action. One of the beauties of our country is its diversity. To maintain its beauty, we must work and care for it. People are discriminated against due to their gender, age, color, race, culture, religion, sexual orientation, etc. Being a minority is being affiliated with a racially, culturally, or ethnically distinct group in which coexists in with but is subordinate to a more dominate group. To coexist peacefully, we would need to take a stance against the discrimination existing today. And it can begin with the people.
- David A. Graham, Adrienne Green. “An Oral History of Trump’s Bigotry.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 20 May 2019, www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/06/trump-racism-comments/588067/.
- Lee, Michelle Ye Hee. “Donald Trump’s False Comments Connecting Mexican Immigrants and Crime.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 8 July 2015, www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2015/07/08/donald-trumps-false-comments-connecting-mexican-immigrants-and-crime/?utm_term=.7fde9574ca63.
- LoBianco, Tom, and Ashley Killough. “Trump Pitches Black Voters: ‘What the Hell Do You Have to Lose?’.” CNN, Cable News Network, 20 Aug. 2016, www.cnn.com/2016/08/19/politics/donald-trump-african-american-voters/index.html.
- Norman, J. (2018, May 15). Presidency Affects Americans’ Lives in Many Ways. Retrieved from https://news.gallup.com/poll/226655/presidency-affects-americans-lives-ways.aspx
- Wright, R. (2012, October 18). New Evidence That Racism Isn’t ‘Natural’. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/10/new-evidence-that-racism-isnt-natural/263785/
- Mariotti, R., McChrystal, S., Eichenbaum, D., & Lowry, R. (2018, August 12). What Charlottesville Changed. Retrieved from https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/08/12/charlottesville-anniversary-supremacists-protests-dc-virginia-219353