What is a minority group and how are they treated in society?
Minorities are groups which do not make up the majority of the population.
There is no standard definition of what constitutes a minority, but common ways to define minorities often look at race, culture and language. In some countries, like Latvia or Canada, minorities may also refer to political parties which do not control the government (Singh, 2019). Minorities are often subjected to discrimination and racism because they don’t have equal representation in society or in positions of power.
There are a number of things which can lead to minority status.
In the case of race and ethnicity, people of a different origin from the majority population may be minorities in their own country. They may also be in minority within their own nation or region, as opposed to being in a majority within another nation or region. In the United States, for example, Latinos are a minority group within both the US and US Hispanics (Singh, 2019). In other cases, people who are part of the cultural majority in their region may be a minority in another part of the country which has a different cultural background. In this case they are often referred to as an ethnic minority – for example, many Irish people living in Northern Ireland are an ethnic minority.
Women have also been considered a minority group at times. They were denied the right to vote in most democratic countries until about 1920 and some countries didn’t grant this right until much later.
What is meant by the idea that race is socially constructed?
Race is a socially-constructed “biological” category because it has been created as a strategy to maintain the white power structure.
Despite the significance of race, it is only now – in this enlightened 21st century – that academics are beginning to question its authenticity and ‘naturalness’. To our knowledge, no credible scientific evidence establishes the validity of ‘race’ or categorizes people based on how different kinds of genes they have. These questions have been researched by many scientists over the last century, some of whom have concluded that race is a social construct (Gannon, 2016).
Around 1900, Wilhelm von Humboldt and Herbert Spenser introduced the ‘strict’ concepts of ‘race’, ‘nation’ and ‘ethnos’. They maintained that there were three distinct characteristics that characterized a nation: language, religion and race. These three aspects were regarded as being more important than any geographical features. They were also used to differentiate between the ‘civilized’ and ‘barbaric’ nations of the world (Gannon, 2016)..
This view was radically challenged by Claude Levi Strauss in the 1920s. His writings on the subject, including The Natural History of ritual, equated language with nation. This was to be opposed by the anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski’s theory that variations in a people’s cultures can be explained and not determined by race differences.
The views of the anthropologist Franz Boas also became widely accepted. Boas maintained that culture and social factors rather than biological factors are responsible for shaping the patterns of human behavior.
How does marriage impact race and ethnicity?
Marriage has a lot of different effects on a person’s race and ethnicity, as well as their children. Different races/ethnicities have different understandings in how marriage impacts them. This is often seen through marriage rates and the average age at first marriage for that particular race/ethnicity. Marriage has a positive impact on a person’s race and ethnicity, as well as to the children of that marriage. This is shown by a decrease in poverty, discrimination and crime. Poverty has been decreased by families being more likely to have two incomes coming into the household; thus decreasing poverty.
In 2011, it was found that “poverty rates became significantly lower in states that had adopted same-sex marriage before 2005.” By having two incomes, there is more money to spend on the family or for other needs. Same-sex marriages are more likely to be open-ended marriage which is the opposite of separation which is more often used for heterosexual couples. In the military and other areas of the government, same sex marriage has a positive impact on race and ethnicity, as well. Discrimination and crime with LGBT members has gone down by twelve percent from 2000-2010; “the most significant decline occurred in hate crimes where a decline was as high 13 percent.”
Due to this, marriage has had positive impacts on race and ethnicity, it also has negative effects. In a study done in 2010, it was found that “children from same-sex families experience more stigma and discrimination risk than do children from other family structures.” There is also a high amount of bullying for LGBT children and young adults on social media. These negative impacts have been shown by the “effort to legally challenge the discrimination against gays and lesbians.” Same-sex marriage advocates believe that it would reduce crime and make police officers lives easier. The LGBT community has less chances of being hired if they are openly gay or lesbian to avoid discrimination.
What is an ethnic group?
An ethnic group can simply be described as one cohesive and distinct cultural entity that shares common values or characteristics. The word “ethnic” comes from the Italian word “ethno”, which means people. It’s not uncommon for some ethnic groups to be referred to as nationalities, which is a collective term for those who share a specific culture rather than citizenship. Ethnic groups are usually characterized by a common language and/or religion (Vargas et al, 2017).
Ethnic groups can be further classified into two types: nationalities and ethnicities. Ethnicities, however, are also referred to as racial groups. Nationalities, on the other hand, are those who are identified as one specific nationality rather than a collection of different ethnic groups like an ethnicity. People from different nationalities often share similarities because they share roots in their country of origin. However, people’s origins usually differ in terms of ethnicity and even culture.
Ethnic groups are also affected by other social factors, such as their level of education and income. People from less educated ethnic groups have lower rates of being employed than individuals from better-educated communities. Similarly, people from poorer communities have a harder time making it financially compared to those who come from more affluent neighborhoods (Vargas et al, 2017).
What role does immigration play in the population?
Immigration is a broad term that can reflect the movement of people across national borders. Immigration can be voluntary, in which people choose to relocate to another country or region, it may also be involuntary and forced. In the United States, immigration includes both legal immigrants and refugees.
The number of immigrants in an area has been shown to have a strong correlation with population increases in that area. For example, many are drawn to areas where there are large numbers of established immigrant populations. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that New York City and Los Angeles have the largest number of immigrants residing in them, which are also areas with relatively high population increases (Vargas et al, 2017).
In addition to a stronger correlation between immigration and population growth in the U.S., there is also a higher correlation of immigrant populations and young populations. Older individuals tend to move out of urban centers, while younger people tend to move in. Areas with younger populations have recently been shown to have greater economic increases than areas with older populations. Areas with greater immigration have also seen a greater increase in population than areas with smaller numbers of immigrants.
The movement of immigrants to the U.S. is also linked to family. Immigration is often an integral element in family reunification. Migrants are drawn by existing networks in the U.S., and these individuals often bring family members over once they have settled in an area.
How can employers use imported unskilled workers?
The new unskilled workers are subject to exploitative and restrictive labor practices that are counterproductive to their success in the United States. They lack the networks needed for upward social mobility and can be exploited without many protections provided by U.S labor law. Employers can resolve their labor problems by offering benefits and other incentives without increasing the actual cost of hiring and keeping the new workers.
In 2004, the most recent year for which international data were available, the U.S. employed 5.7 million imported workers in full-time jobs, while a total of 4.6 million native-born adults with a high school degree or equivalent were unemployed or not in the labor force. The unemployment rate for these new migrants was 2.8 percent, compared to 5 percent for native-born workers. The employment picture for less educated immigrants is even more encouraging: nearly 90 percent have found jobs since their arrival.
While less educated immigrants are more likely to find employment through the unskilled and lower-skilled labor force, they still return to the United States at some point. The vast majority of the 5.7 million arrivals in 2004 returned home within three years, but 234,000 stayed for four years or longer. Of those who returned home, only 14 percent came back to the United States.
The current system, which allows employers to sponsor temporary visas for unskilled workers, works for both parties. Employers get reliable and inexpensive workers. Unskilled workers can leave the country after their employment contract ends. The current federal visa program that allows employers to hire unskilled migrants also gives them the ability to control the migrant’s work when they arrive in the United States.
How do myths impact immigrants?
Many myths and stereotypes about immigrants invade the minds of people. These are all too often perpetuated by the media and can be linked to negative feelings such as mistrust or racism against immigrants.
There are many myths and stereotypes about immigrants. Definitions of the term myth vary and are dependent on the field of study or area of interest. The most common definition for myth is “a false, or poorly supported belief.” However, in the fields of sociology, psychology and media studies there is no general consensus on a definition. Many studies on immigration have produced contradictory results depending on specific variables such as language proficiency and years spent in a country (Farris, 2018). As a result, it is necessary to distinguish the myths and stereotypes that exist about particular groups of immigrants.
The belief that immigrants pose a threat to the security of the host country is an example of a general myth. This myth can be broken down into four subcategories. General fears include fears surrounding culture, language, norms and traditions as well as fears of increased crime rates, unemployment and health problems. Specific fears include fears that different cultures pose a threat to gender equality, religious tolerance and national identity as well as fear of increased terrorism. The threat to national security can be particularly powerful when combined with other commonly held beliefs like superiority over an immigrant group (Farris, 2018).
There are many stereotypes about immigrants that drive the belief that immigrants pose a threat to the security of the host country. Many believe there is a direct connection between immigration, terrorism and economic prosperity. In Canada, there was a widespread belief that Arab immigrants were associated with terrorism after 9/11 even though no Canadian Arabs had committed or been convicted of terrorist acts.
Singh, S. P. (2019). How to serve our ethnic minority communities better. The Lancet Psychiatry, 6(4), 275-277. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpsy/article/PIIS2215-0366(19)30075-6/fulltext
Gannon, M. (2016). Race is a social construct, scientists argue. Scientific American, 5, 1-11.
Macias, T. (2016). Environmental risk perception among race and ethnic groups in the United States. Ethnicities, 16(1), 111-129. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1468796815575382
Vargas, E. D., Sanchez, G. R., & Valdez, J. A. (2017). Immigration policies and group identity: How immigrant laws affect linked fate among US Latino populations. Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics, 2(1), 35-62. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-race-ethnicity-and-politics/article/immigration-policies-and-group-identity-how-immigrant-laws-affect-linked-fate-among-us-latino-populations/E47976E1B11C2605D44AB0C8267C1440
Farris, E. M., & Silber Mohamed, H. (2018). Picturing immigration: How the media criminalizes immigrants. Politics, Groups, and Identities, 6(4), 814-824. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/21565503.2018.1484375