Social inequality is not a new idea in our society and individuals as well as groups have been facing various kinds of discrimination, based on race, ethnicity, health, and disability. These are all society created taboos that hurt and affect the society in a negative manner. Dominating groups of the society label some groups or individuals as inferior and then start oppressing them on the basis of these categorizations. This paper intends to discuss the race, ethnicity, health and disability along with discussing these all with the perspective of social inequality in the society.
Race and Social Inequality
The term, Race, connotes a group of people that is treated distinctively on the basis of its special characteristics. Race also denotes a category that is constructed by the society and is singled out for unfair treatment by the dominating groups due to certain cultural as well as biological characteristics of a group(Loury, 2002). These groups are categorized as inferior by the dominating groups of the society.
Racial groups are not categorized by their biological or cultural characteristics. Racial groups are categorized on the basis of the treatment received from the society during the past. Society determines the racial categories of people as white black, Asian or Arab not due to scientific reasons but because of social opinion and experience. In a nutshell; the categorization of people in various racial groups is a social process that designed by the society (Loury, 2002).
Such inequalities exist in almost every society of the world. In a developed society such as US such discriminations are very prominent. In America, disabled not given the due regard and opportunity, and Racial discriminations occur very often. Various ethnic groups are offended by racial slurs and are subjected to a number of discriminations by dominating groups.
One example of racial discrimination appears in the case of African Americans. They have got their rights after struggling for hundreds of years, but the situation is not completely fair yet. African Americans face social inequality in their social and personal life on a regular basis. A number of instances suggest that African Americans are not given ample opportunities in jobs and if they manage to get any, they face the discrimination in getting promotions and other facilities. Banks do not provide them loans easily, and they are not eligible to apply in different housing societies (Durant& Knottnerus, 1999).
A particular community labels as criminals and inferiors due to racial discrimination. In America, African Americans are stereotyped as criminals, and they are subjected to various sufferings by the police and other law enforcement agencies. Once their name comes into any incident, they are presumed to be guilty by the police and other agencies even without proper probe (Durant& Knottnerus, 1999).
Police do not think twice before picking them if any crime takes place in the area. Such incidents indicate towards the social inequality and discriminatory behavior of the society towards one community. This stereotyping and discrimination lead to a series of sufferings by people of one particular race. They suffer at every stage just because they belong to one race that stereotyped as inferior (Loury, 2002).
Ethnicity and Social Inequality
Ethnicity of a group of people recognizes by the culture, language, norms, customs, religion, history and practices that they share in common. This social category of ethnic groups realizes of their similarities that they share in common. Ethnic groups do not exist just because of their common ethnic or national origins but due to their social experiences and distinctive historical experiences that also are the basis of their ethnic identity. For instance; before migrating to the US, Mexicans did not realize that they are a distinctive group and share several interests as well as experiences in common (Nazroo, 2003).
The difficult process of migration, their similar sufferings and discrimination towards them in the United States, made them realize that they are one ethnic group and share a lot of things in common. This whole process formed an ethnic group and gave it a new identity. Italian Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, polish Americans, and Arab Americans are examples of other ethnic groups.
Ethnic groups face social inequality and various other discriminations in their personal, professional and social life. They do not given the job opportunities, and if they had been given any job, they are not paid accordingly. Mexican Americans are some of other existing ethnic groups that face such discriminations in a developed society as United States (McAll, 1992). Various ethnic groups keep complaining about the discriminations of payment, promotion and facilities in their jobs.
People of different ethnic groups also exploited in different ways. They are monetarily and sexually exploited. Female employees find themselves in a vulnerable position in their offices. They are threatened to fire in case they oppose any exploitation by the hands of their employers. Gender discrimination is very common in the case of various ethnic groups(Karsten, 2006).
Health and Social Inequality
Health is an important factor that matters the most for human beings. People also discriminated on the basis of their health. It has been observed that employers keep looking for opportunities to fire those people who are not good health wise. It can be observe in the number of cases that companies and employers do not hesitate from firing old and loyal employees on the health grounds (Karsten, 2006).
Such discrimination and social inequality are unfortunate for any civilized society. If we cannot give ample opportunities to people who belong to our society and are human beings like us, how do we even call ourselves humans. It is one of the basic duties of our society to provide health facilities to everyone who lives in our society. Discriminating, on the grounds of health, must be stopped without any further delay (McMullin, 2009).
In the majority of cases, People suffer due to economic scarcity and inaccessibility of proper health services. It can be observed that due to lack of reasonable health services, people suffer from various health related problems. The rural regions are worst affected with lack of such health services. It is fundamental duty of the government to provide good health care service to all citizens. The services should deliver without any discrimination of the rural or urban regions.
Disability and Social Inequality
Disability is not only a physical problem, but it is also a social problem. The problem becomes bigger when the society starts treating disabled as disabled. When society starts discriminating its own people merely because their physical and biological problems, it becomes a bigger problem for the people who are already passing through tough phases of their life. Disability is a medical condition that needs the treatment and not the discriminatory treatment.
Disability should handle with the help of appropriate education and media representation. People must be educated to treat and deal with those who are disabled. Media has a bigger role to represent the issue in a manner that creates awareness among the people to behave in an appropriate way with the disabled persons. Disabled people should get ample opportunities in all sectors and employers must not be allowed to discriminate or exploit them merely because they are disabled (Marger, 2002).
Disability spreads across genders, race, religion and socioeconomic background. However, it is not recognized as a priority issue by the policy makers. Our society is not designed to cater to the physical and emotional needs of disabled people. American Government has formed policy to fulfill financial needs of disabled people up to some extent, but social issues are left unaddressed. The health and socio-economic conditions of disabled people are worse than other fit non-disabled people.
It has observed that people with disability often live their life in poverty. They do not have safe housing and good education. They are unable to actively participate in the work. Disabled people get excluded from the society (Priestley, 2005). They face major problems such as discrimination, violence and abuse due to their disability. They often face difficulty in accessing proper quality healthcare services.
The disability can be defined as physical or mental impairments and/ or attitudinal & environmental barriers that create obstructions or limit individual participation in society on equal basis as compare to other non-disabled people. Disability produces a barrier in communication between disabled people and social environment (Priestley, 2005). American government formed The Americans with disability Act of 1990 to serve to the disabled population of the country. The Act was formed to create equal opportunities for disabled people, and to ensure that disabled people get access to housing, necessities and employment.
A large number of people are registered under the act and getting benefited. However, the discrimination in society for disabled people is still prevailing in almost all areas of the social system such as income, employment, education, healthcare, and housing. Low income level is a major problem faced by most of the disabled people. Disability limits participation of disabled people in performing jobs, and directly impacts their income. Income of disabled people is far less than other general people of same age and education. Disabled people often get discriminated by the companies even if they have the same knowledge, education and experience (Yamaki and Fujiura, 2002).
Employers consider disabled people as unproductive staff because they are disabled. Disabled people get low wages and poor attention from the management. Degree of disability determined by what all works a disabled person can perform, and that get linked with income of that person. If a person is blind and unable to do anything, the chances of low income and poverty are very high. High degree of disability means a person can not perform the tasks and unable to effectively communicate in the social environment (Yamaki and Fujiura, 2002).
Companies prefer to hire the workforce that is attentive, and able to perform multiple tasks. Disabled people often face rejection because their disability restricts them to perform limited functions. For past few years, the trend is changing, and employers are hiring disabled people under corporate social responsibility, but still the percent is very less or almost negligible. Employment is a factor that also impact income & poverty of the disabled person (Yamaki and Fujiura, 2002).
Good education associates with physical and mental health of the students. Disabled people are not able to achieve a higher degree in education because their health restricts them to participate in education. High degree of disability such as blindness, dumbness, and deafness, etc. makes people unable to learn. Disabled people achieve low or average grade, and also send to special schools. Disabled people also get isolated and do not much participate in educational activities such as live projects, workshops, etc. low participation and depression often resulted in school dropouts (Boissonnat and Mormiche, 2004).
Various factors contribute towards poor access to quality healthcare in the timely manner. Physical barriers create problems in terms of transportation and incomplete or late communication. Attitude of healthcare service providers and their supporting staff also restrict disabled people from getting quality healthcare services. Poor education limits their knowledge on various health issues. Poor income and low spending power also restrict disables from availing effective healthcare facility. Disable people can not afford to live in good society or to have own house. High medical expenditure and poor income restrict disabled people from owning a house; these conditions also force them to live in inappropriate conditions.(Priestley, 2005).
Social inequality and discrimination based on race, health, ethnicity and disability affect the social structure of our society in an adverse manner. Mounting evidences suggest that these all categories are created deliberately by one section of the society in order to gain advantages and also in order to oppress who belong to these categories. Various methods are adopted to harass these people including stereotyping them and also by using police against them. Different factors such as education, unequal employment opportunities, poor living condition, and poor healthcare facilities associates with social inequalities. People who suffer from any type of discrimination often face different types of challenges.
The welfare of any society roots through equality and equal opportunity for all people irrespective of their race, ethnicity, health and disability. Discrimination based on social inequalities widens the gap among social groups and individuals. Social inequalities also impacts income of people and create income inequalities. Hence, social inequality is neither good for individuals nor for the economy of the country. Government should form policies and laws to minimize social inequalities prevailing even in modern society (Priestley, 2005).
After performing succinct analysis of the abovementioned subject, this paper concludes that social inequality and discrimination, based on race, ethnicity, health and disability, are social evils in a civilized society. Our society should be equal where people get equal opportunities. There should be no place for any discrimination and inequality in a modern society. Any individual or any group should not discriminate merely because he or she belongs to a particular race or ethnicity. It is also our duty to take care of people who are disabled or are facing problems due to bad health. Social inequality and discrimination must be eradicated from every society of the world in order to make the society a better place to live.
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