What demands have been served by “othering” people of color from certain ethnic groups, Middle East and Muslims, and other marginalized groups throughout U.S. history?
The concept of “othering” was hooked on the premise of categorizing people according to their designated group, and unfortunately, this practice had often resulted to certain groups labeled as inferior or superior than the others. In the case of the American society, categorization allowed the white race, who controls the greater political power, to show superiority over the other race. It is the mantra of this type of sociological order that the dominant group dictates the social, political and economic constructs to their advantage, leaving the inferior groups obligated to fill their demands as a way to cope with societal order.
The concept of “othering” answered for the demands of white supremacy that is driven by the economic interests and rooted through the passage of legislations and public standards. There were diverse forms of racism or “othering” throughout history and it was noted that this system were done with the purpose of the superior race to seek advantages for themselves. Scholars considered race to have developed historically in the United States to rationalize the control of people defined as “white” over other groups who are racially different such as the Native Americans, enslaved Africans and the later immigrants of Mexican, Chinese, and Asian descents as well as other marginalized racial groups (Racism, 58). Historically, “othering” gave the white rice the opportunity to promote the dominance of their race and to take advantage of the inferior status of the others. For instance, the whites and that included the European whites “consolidated a system of racial advantages based on whiteness” and as a result secured for their race the gains of an economic and political system associated on the superiority of the white race (Racism, 59).
Today, the marginalization experienced by the minority groups as recorded in history is reinvented subtly and was able to adapt to the changing standard of the society. While the United States is currently said to have freed its society from racism and is describe to be living in a “post racial society”, some people proved otherwise (Racism, 58). There is the current indication of racism as confirmed by the differences in income and education, “whites tend to be slightly better off than honorary whites, who are in turn significantly better off the contemporary blacks” (We are all, 106). In addition to that, “othering” is also demonstrated by the employment of immigrants and undocumented workers under unsatisfactory working conditions. The sad fact is that while the white employer is taking advantage of the lower wages for these workers, these deprived groups are lamenting on the inferior treatment accorded to them by the white dominated society. In a way, the underclass became the receiver of the blame on the societal problems faced by the superior race (Developing, 23).
How can awareness of the current policies and practices formed by dominant culture characteristics help us to better understand inequality today and help us craft more effective policies?
Despite enacted legislations against racism and the effort of organizations to eliminate the “othering” system in the United States, it remains that the whites, being the dominant culture, have the societal privileges over the others. This awareness serves to be wake-up call for the government and other institutions to address the predicament of the minority groups in the country. The immense social problems that are being faced by the society today are attributed to the inequality being experienced by the minority groups in the United States. The struggle over poverty, drug abuse, violence and other social maladies are now prevalent in throughout the country. “Yet nowhere are the consequences of these social cancers more apparent than in African-American communities and other communities of color” (Developing, 9).
Some people believed that the solution for these societal predicaments is not dependent on government programs and institutions, and these can only be solved through personal accountabilities and tougher laws. However, a closer scrutiny would reveal that the complex social, cultural, economic and societal factors and policies have in one way contributed to these challenges. Scholars believed that the inability to solve these complications are attributed to the “inaccurate framing” of the problems (Developing, 10). It was suggested that the strategies in solving these societal dilemma should be anchored on the thorough understanding and incorporating of issues on “cultural diversity and competency into prevention, treatment, and other healthcare and human services program generally” (Developing, 10).
The rapid change in the social, political and economic setting calls for the need of a more systematic guidance on the continuous development of culturally centered services. There is a need to understand that the flowing challenges should be met, a) to delve into the possibilities of creating services that are deeply embedded in, build on, and leverage traditional cultural foundations and community strengths and resources (Developing, 11), b) where necessary, reactivate or reconstruct these services while framing a proactive advocacy agenda for changing policies and perspective regarding both the purpose and process of health and human services generally, and specifically those related to prevention and treatment (Developing, 12).
Government and other institutions should advocate in the development of their cultural competence by endeavoring to address their understanding of different cultural or ethnic groups that comprise the minorities of the US population. It is noted that the incorporation on the understanding of the social context and practices of a particular group is often given less importance despite the apparent need for it (Social, 2)
The population of the minority groups in the United States are growing and it is for this reason that the government and other institutions such as those involved in the health care and education should be knowledgeable on how to best serve these groups. For example, those who are involved in the health care would understand their patients better and would create a better relationship with them by understanding their cultural values. Take for instance the case of the Latinos who are values close and personal relationships; it would help the practitioner or health worker to initially establishing warmth and trust before starting with the therapy (Social, 8).
What policy changes do you see as necessary in our criminal justice system? How might these changes impact inequality on the basis of race and ethnicity in the United States?
The numerous legislations on the discrimination; and that include the discrimination based on ethnicity and race is a defilement of the standard of equality. In the justice system of the United States, it is morally wrong to convict and discriminate an individual on the ground of his race, in fact, race is not supposed to be a relevant concern of the justice system. The principle of equality should always be applied as it is the most justifiable way to treat other people, that is, equality on employment and educational opportunities shall extend to equal treatment under the law. There are already exiting legislation in the system about the immorality of discrimination and the advocacy to equality and fair treatment, the question now is how can these minority groups be assured that they are will ever achieve equality and fair treatment accorded by the justice system.
It is to be noted that the minorities are often the recipient of discriminating act, resulting to them often becoming victim of violence. Government health workers are already being encouraged to become culturally adept so as to be able to serve the ever increasing number of other racial groups in the country. The same principles should be applied to that of the criminal justice system. There should be a need for cultural sensitivity training for people who are with the Criminal Justice System, so as to be able to represent the minority groups during trials or even during investigations. For example, people who conduct investigations concerning Latinos should be well educated about the culture and ethnical upbringing of the Latinos, who are among the fastest growing population in the United States. Representatives or workers from the criminal justice system should be “sensitive to cultural variables”, that means one must be adept with the possibility of cultural influence to that of the person’s behavior (Social, 2).
The change that is needed in the Criminal justice system of the United States in relation to the non-white races should include the consideration of the cultural background of the person. Unfortunately, the minority groups in the United States do not only have to suffer the construed misunderstanding of their culture, but also a blatant racial bias in most cases. For example, a Mexican offender may be treated badly during investigation and may be judged immediately based on the biased of the investigator and the jury. This is because the deeply ingrained racism and stereotyping results to the wrongful use of judgment among representatives of the criminal justice system. Even in events outside of the courtroom, it is all too common for minorities, such as the Middle Eastern Americans to explain themselves to authorities or to give an account of their identity (Middle, 238)
There are more changes that are desired in the justice system to achieve the equality and fairness that it claims to advocate. Such changes may start with the policing system, where the law enforcer should show equal respect and fairness to people regardless of color and race. Equality should also be observed in the courtroom, for instance, the people in the court room should never act in a way that depicts racism. Specifically, people who work in the justice system should be trained in human relations, as well as be properly oriented on the culture of other people. There should also be proper administration to correct any acts of bias and discrimination.
Bonilla-Silva, E., We are all Americans: The Latin Americanization of Race Relations in the United States.
Castaneda, C., Zuniga, X., Racism. History of Racism.
Furman, R., Negi, N., Iwamoto, D., Rowan, D., Shukraft, A., Gragg, J., Social Work Practice with Latinos: Key Issues for Social Workers. National Institute of Health.
Hixson, J. Developing Culturally Anchored Services: Confronting the Challenges of Diversity.
McKinney, K, Marvasti, A., Middle Eastern Lives in America. Experiencing Difference.