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Minority Groups In The United States

All groups are not treated or viewed equally in all societies. Sometimes, a minority group can be defined by constituting a smaller percentage of the population than another group. However, sometimes a minority constitutes the majority of the population. A minority group is a subordinate group which has significantly less control over their lives than a dominant group. As a result, the minority group has less opportunity afforded to them than the dominant group. Particularly, the majority of the population of the United States is female; yet, males still control most of the political and social power across the nation.

Characteristics of Minority Groups Minority groups contain five core characteristics. Unequal treatment. Members of a minority experience unequal treatment and have less power over their lives than members of a dominant group have over theirs. This social inequality is created by prejudice, discrimination, segregation, and extermination. Distinguishable physical or cultural traits. Members of a minority group share physical or cultural characteristics such as skin color or language that distinguish them from the dominant group.

The standard for determining which characteristics are most important in defining minority and dominant groups is arbitrarily imposed by a society. Involuntary membership. Membership in a dominant or minority group cannot be chosen because one is born into either a dominant or minority group. Awareness of subordination. A strong sense of group solidarity is maintained within a minority group. Often, people within a group make distinctions between those in their group and those outside of their group. Long term prejudice and determination can often cause feelings of “us versus them. ” In-group marriage.

Marriage between members of the same group is common. Members of dominant groups are often unwilling to marry into a minority group. The minority group’s sense of solidarity often encourages marriage within the group. Types of Groups There are four types of minority or subordinate groups: race, ethnicity, religion, and gender. Racial Groups Racial groups refer to to the minorities and corresponding majorities that are socially set apart because of the obvious physical differences. In the United States, racial groups refer to groups with different skin colors including white, black, asian, native-american, etc.

Particularly in the United States, political parties court certain minorities by promising improvements in the lives of minorities. Many other advanced countries perceive the United States as being slow to equalize the racial disparity, largely due to the United States late granting of civil rights to many minority groups. The “Stop-and-Frisk” movement was found to be unconstitutional because it was biased to a certain race and ethnicity (NBC Learn). Ethnic Groups Ethnic groups refer to the minorities and corresponding majorities that are socially set apart because of cultural differences.

In the United States, ethnic groups include Hispanics, Italian-Americans, Puerto Ricans, etc. Again, political parties in the United States play upon ethnicity by running candidates or platforms which appeal to certain minorities. However, this practice is not uncommon in other countries. In many countries with substantial ethnic diversity, wrangling for a particular ethnic group’s vote is common. Religious Groups Religious groups refer to the minorities and corresponding majorities which are set apart by differences in choice of religious belief.

The United States is a unique example among many countries in that the United States has never experienced a major war over religion. Many countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa have, at one point or another, been torn apart by supporters of different religions vying for control of power to let their faith dominate a country. The United States, having been founded on the ideals of freedom of religion for everyone, never had to deal with the problem of competing religions because all religions are welcome. Gender Groups

Gender groups, although they do not fit all of the characteristics of minority groups, face their own special challenges because they belong to two minority/majority groups. Race Many people see differences based upon race. However, many assumptions about race are incorrect. Biological Meaning The idea of biological race is based upon the assumption that races are genetically isolated groups. However, this notion is mistaken. There is no such thing as a pure race. All races are intermingled whether these races want to admit it or not.

Even in the same race, characteristics sometimes don’t fit in with the typical characteristics of the race and sometimes closely resemble the characteristics of other races. Some studies propose that DNA is ninety percent local and ten percent globally dispersed. A point that was used to uphold the mistaken theory of biological race is that certain races have higher IQ scores than other races. However, recent studies have also shown that there is generally little difference in IQ scores between races. Social Construction of Race

Even though there are few biological differences between races, race still remains an important issue, especially in the United States. It is important to know that societies create races to benefit dominant “races. ” As stated in the text, the issue of shootings put into different environments is placed in different categories such as national or race-related issues. Race definition is formed through racial formation, the process by which racial categories are created, inhabited, transformed, and destroyed.

As in the case of many countries, including the United States, these categories can become entrenched and can become hard to deflate or destroy. Biracial and Multicultural Identity With changing times, many people are more accepting of people who do not squarely fit into groups. As a result of this trend, many more people identify themselves as biracial or multicultural. In the past, many people have had difficulty resolving where their identity lies if they come from a mixed background. Another way many groups try to make their voices heard is through panethnicity, the development of solidarity between ethnic subgroups.

Sociology and the Study of Race and Ethnicity Stratification By Class and Gender Unequal distribution of rewards and power can be perpetuated by stratification. A main tool of stratification is the class system. Whichever group has the most wealth or the purer ancestry can unequally claim power and rewards. A combination of hot having wealth or good heritage and coming from a minority can bring upon more misfortune than coming from one or the other. Theoretical Perspectives In sociology, there are three major perspectives.

Functionalist perspective. Functionalists believe that all parts of society exist to support a specific function and without each part fully in place, society will collapse. This stance can cause many dysfunctions within a society that may disrupt or derail said society. This stance also has negative consequences for both the minority and majority races. Conflict perspective. Confliction theory believers believe that society is in constant struggle. This perspective focuses on the disparities in wealth, education, labor and medical care.

Conflict perspective underlines the limited choices for minority and majority races due to segregation and unfair social systems. Labeling theory. Labeling theory focuses on the assigning of stereotypes. Stereotypes are often readily applied to minority groups and even minority groups. Many stereotypes can be emotionally damaging to everyone they are applied to and can create self-fulfilling prophecies, which can be detrimental to current and future generations of minorities. The Creation of Subordinate-Group Status Migration Those who emigrate to new countries often find themselves in a minority.

Often, cultural, physical, and religious affiliation tends to set the immigrant from the dominant group. Migration can be defined as movement by people from one place to another with the intentions of setting permanently in the new location. Emigration happens when emigrants leave one’s own country to settle permanently in another. And, immigration happens when immigrants are in the action of coming to live permanently in a foreign country. Sometimes there is involuntary migration. When this happens this population gets pushed into a subordinate role. Annexation

Annexation happens when a nation tries adding new territory into it’s own domain. When annexation happens, the dominant power tends to suppress the culture and the language of the minority. Colonialism Colonialism is the control or governing influence of a nation over a dependent country, territory, or people. Colonialism is similar to annexation except it does not involve actual incorporation into the dominant people’s land. Spectrum of Intergroup Status Intergroup relation happens between different groups of people and range along a spectrum between tolerances and intolerance.

One of the most tolerant forms of intergroup relations is pluralism, in which no distinction is made between minority and majority groups, but instead there is equal standing. At the other end of the continuum are an amalgamation, expulsion, and even genocide. These are stark examples of intolerant intergroup relations. The consequences of Subordinate-Group Status There are several consequences for a group with a subordinate status. These are six consequences of subordinate group status; extermination, expulsion, secession, segregation, fusion, and assimilation.

Extermination. Extermination is an extreme way to eliminate a subordinate group by genocide or the deliberate, systematic killing of an entire group. Expulsion. Expulsion is another extreme way to eliminate a subordinate group by driving out the specific ordinate group out of the area or country. For example, when the U. S. Government drove virtually all Native Americans out of their tribal lands into reservations Secession. Secession happens when a group stops being a subordinate group and becomes a new nation or joins an already formed nation. Segregation.

Segregation is the institutional separation of an ethnic, racial, religious, or other minority group from the dominant majority group. This can be legally imposed as if it was under Jim Crow laws. Fusion. Fusion happens when a minority and a majority combines to form new groups. Fusion does not require intermarriage, but it is similar to amalgamation or the cultural and physical synthesis of various groups into new people. Only modest evidence of fusion in the United States, although there is a push by multiracial people to have a separate legal identity from either the minority or majority group (Richard T. Schaefer, 1993) Assimilation.

Assimilation is the process of adapting or adjusting to the culture of a group or nation, or the state of being adopted. The Pluralist Perspective Pluralism occurs when various groups in a society have mutual respect for each others culture. This pluralism allows the minority groups to express their culture and beliefs without suffering prejudice. Resistance and Change The dominant group defines the way in which all members of the society operate. Subordinate groups do not merely accept the terms of dominant group. Subordinate groups give resistance when they want to see change that will bring the group more rights and privileges.

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