Ethnic Segregation: Social Stability and Inclusivity

free essayEthnic segregation is considered to be as old as the civilization itself. It dates back to the early times of Babylon, when it was believed the city was divided into two parts. The outer walls of the city could be accessed by anyone, and the inner parts were reserved for kings and priests only (Benevolo 1980). In medieval cities of Europe, the city center was inhabited by wealthy people, while the commoners lived in the outer districts. Segregation has always been a part and parcel of class differences ever since.

Max Weber described ethnic groups as human groups that entertain a subjective belief in their common descent because of similarities of physical type, customs or both because of a memory of colonization and migration, regardless of the existing blood ties (Weber1922). Ethnicity is defined as a multidimensional concept that encompasses different aspects of identity (Bulmer 1996). Bulmer attributes ethnicity to shared kinship, religion, language, culture, nationality, physical appearance or shared territory.

On the one hand, segregation is the separation of groups within the broader population. Segregation can take place in a form of spatial, in which people are segregated by the space occupied in the society. Racial segregation, on the other hand, is the alienation of individuals in the society by their ethnicity. The greater the deviation from the uniform dispersal is, the greater is the degree of segregation (Johnston et al. 1986). Segregation regarding affiliation, beliefs, educational background, and social aspects of an individual’s life, as well as the religious connotation of a person, also occurs.

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In discussing the ethnic segregation, the paper measures a five dimension of African Americans, Hispanics, Asians and Pacific Islanders, American Indians and Alaska natives. The degree of separation is different with each ethnic group. African Americans record the highest level of segregation, and are followed by the Latinos. Segregation negatively affects the segregated group. It has an economic, social and political implication of the particular target group.

According to a report on ethnicity, performed by the office of budget management, the framework for data collection on races was provided. Races were identified as white, black or Negro, American Indian, Eskimos or Aleut, Asian or Pacific Islander of Spanish or Hispanic descent (Cobb & Glass 1999).

Social stability is the state of social harmony and cohesiveness within the society. Anchored in the functionalist’s perspective, social security means the societal institutions were working to fulfil the needs of members and interactions between these units, followed by the particular consequences on each other. For example, the government provided protection to its citizens and citizens, in their turn, paid their taxes to ensure the movement runs smoothly. Social stability provides order in the society. If one system is dysfunctional, it affects the flow of the entire system.

Inclusivity or social inclusion is the process by which equality is enjoyed by all in the society, regardless of the background, so that each member can enjoy their full potential. It is a multi-dimensional process that is aimed at creating conditions, which enable full and active participation of every member of the society in all aspects of life, including civic, social, economic, and political activities, as well as involvement in decision-making processes. Inclusion is the realization that everyone has essential dignity, and everyone can make a contribution (Lombe 2007). Social inclusion can be described as a “multidimensional process aimed at lowering economic, social and cultural boundaries between those who are included and excluded, and making these limits more permeable” (Crow & Therborn 2007).

An inclusive society must transcend race, ethnicity, gender, class generation and geography and ensure inclusion, equality of opportunities, as well as the capability of community members to agree to determine the agreed social institutions that govern social interaction. Social inclusive society means a community will be stable; everyone will be able to find a niche (Taylor 2007).

Realization of social stability and inclusive has been a perennial challenge in many communities, partly due to ethnic segregation. The current paper seeks to examine the threat that is posed by ethnic segregation to the realization of social stability and inclusivity.

An inclusive society is supposed to appreciate the fundamental human rights values; all human beings are born free and equal in their dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. In an inclusive society, all its members, regardless of their background, are motivated and can participate in civic, economic and social activities within the community.

While moving towards creating such a society, there is a required set of standards on human rights, resource allocation, political and social relevance; there is also an access to public utilities and social networks, education accommodation and cultural tolerance and equal access to information. The ethnic component of these aspects has for years hindered the realization of such a socially inclusive society, where its members, irrespective of their background, enjoy the above mentioned benefits. Ethnicity plays its role on each stage of fundamental human needs.

Human Rights and Social Inclusivity

For a fully inclusive society, all the human rights, freedoms and the rule of law have to be respected. Every human being, regardless of his/her economic, social and political background, must be treated equally under the law. The legal system guarantees equality through its apparatus and ensures justice for all citizens. Ethnic segregations violate human rights. The judiciary must be impartial and inclusive to give weight to those who defend inclusivity in the society. This calls for representation of all the segregated ethnic groups within the judiciary (Amin 2002). Ethnic imbalance and misrepresentation mean this cannot be achieved, thus no society can be considered inclusive or stable.

In order to ensure inclusive and stable society, there is a need to have ethnic representatives, who would participate in civic, social, economic and political activities. When society members feel that all of them are contributing, have an access to basic needs and are provided with the opportunity to be a part of the decision-making process, the society can be considered stable. When ethnic segregation takes place, and a part of the society is marginalized, blocked out or denied of the chance to participate in the decision-making process, then the society cannot be considered as inclusive or stable.

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Ethnic segregation blocks an access to universal public health infrastructure and facilities. When the access to community centers, recreational facilities, public schools, water supplies, clinic, and sanitation is reserved for a particular group in the society, the inclusive becomes a pipe dream. Such services build the sense of belonging; when an access is limited to a particular group, then the society is said to be unstable and non-inclusive. Frustration grows from being denied the basic need, when one is unable to afford the commodities and the government is offering them selectively, then a sense of exclusivity is derived. The ghettos, for example, resulted of white coercion. The black ghettos were meant to deny African Americans of the access to public utilities. The ghettos plain walls were erected by the white society, by those who had the power to confine and power to perpetuate their powerlessness (Clark, Kaufman, & Pierce 1976).

Similarly, access to information plays a major role in developing an inclusive society. The available information to the society pertains as to what it owns, generates or benefits from; it also helps to foster inclusivity, but if the information is shared selectively with one particular ethnic group at the expense of others, then inclusivity ceases to happen.

Having all ethnic members of the society represented in information gathering, planning and evaluation of community activities and dissemination of such information is a mark of inclusivity. When information is not shared, or when selected ethnic groups in the society are not informed, then the feeling of exclusivity creeps in and suspicion takes over.

Allocation of wealth among ethnic groups has been an issue of concern for a very long time. Resource allocation can either build an inclusive or an exclusive polarized society. Therefore, socio-economic policies should be geared towards managing equitable distribution and equal opportunities. Ethnic segregation ensures that inclusive policies, instructions, and programs that govern and cater for the less advantaged are not put in place, thus are not implemented.

Ethnic segregation means there is certain intolerance to cultural diversity. By celebrating diversity, there is recognition and affirmation of the differences between and among society members, which enables societies to move away from labelling, categorizing, and classifying people; the society that celebrates diversity can move towards more inclusive policies. In an ethnic segregation set up, such tolerance cannot be achieved. Being tolerant to diverse cultures also enables the use of diverse opinions to provide the checks and balances for the crucial societal development.

Ethnic Segregation and the Education System

Racial segregation is rampart in education system, and, while education is supposed to foster inclusively, ethnic profiling in learning institutions has marginalized specific ethnic groups, thus denying them of the chance to learn about and appreciate other cultures. In most American cities, there is an influx of migration of Latino and African Americans from the ghetto to urban and district schools; these schools, however, do not have a diversified staff to counter these challenge. The personnel are predominantly white. There is a need for the middle-class teachers to work effectively with students of colour and linguistic minority students in complex, with an aim to change interracial settings. This can be achieved by good professional training, designed to support multicultural education and diversity, and that takes into account the fundamental civil rights in education systems.

The cities inhabited by African-American and Latinos have almost all the teachers with very little or no interest to help. These teachers are unable to address the consequences of deep tension that exists in these neighbourhoods, resulting from gang wars, immigration issues and drug related crimes. Many urban neighbourhoods experience ethnic segregation, polarization, and inequality. Though changes were made to address these issues in the past, structural administrative matters have not been put in place to accommodate the changes, which lead to growing fear that desegregation might occur with the influx of Latino and African American migration to these schools.

Minority students, who already have been disadvantaged by the society, attended non-funded or underfunded courses in the United States. According to the department of education, (DOE) schools in areas, classified as low income and ghettos inhabited by African Americans, Latinos, and other ethnically maligned groups, hired uncertified or outfield teachers (Cobb & Glass 1999).

A comparison of two schools in New York City illustrates this vice. The academy with 47.9% of black students, and 43.7% of Hispanic students, registers 61% in absenteeism by the teachers, as compared to 21% in the recorded by those schools with as low as 11% of blacks and 14% of Hispanic students. The school teachers are well paid and well certified. Minority groups attract uncertified teachers, high turnovers, and lower quality.

There is a belief that ethnic base socio-economic segregation depresses educational achievement for those who live in marginalized areas (Busemeyer, Franzmann, & Garritzmann 2013). Collective socialization theory supports this view that concentration of disadvantaged families in neighbourhoods negatively affects education system.

The Need for Social Inclusivity

Social inclusive calls for full participation in all aspects of life; conditions and barriers to this involvement are called exclusion. Participation, therefore, means not only having an access to society’s activities, but to fully participate in them, engaging and building a fully functioning social network. This creates a sense of responsibility towards individual systems or community and enhances individual chances of access to decision-making.

Social inclusion, therefore, can be seen as efforts made to guarantee equal opportunities to all, regardless of their social status or ethnic background, to enable a fully functional and stable society. This ensures that individual participates fully in all aspects of life, including civic, social, economic, and political activities (Teixeira 2006).

To achieve social inclusion, a five-step methodology should be followed. People need visibility, people need to be recognized in their capacity and voices. Without formal representation in the process that makes up the society, people remain invisible and unaccounted for. There is also a need for consideration (African & African 2011). Key policy makers must take into consideration the concerns and needs of individuals. Most decision makers bypass poor and marginalized groups, thus leaving out their needs and concerns.

Additionally, in order to fully foster inclusive society, an access to social interactions must be granted. People must be allowed to engage in social activities and social networks in their daily life. Economic, social and political activities fall into this category. Another issue is rights, the right to act and claim, right to be different, legal rights, rights to access social services, such as housing, education, transportation, and health care. People must have the right to work, and the right to participate in social, political and cultural aspects of the society.

Finally, there ought to be the necessary resources to be able to participate fully in the society. Granting rights seem to be enough, but without resources, participation cannot be achieved. Elements like time, recognition, money, spatial distance, and physical conditions are the essential elements of resources that should be taken into consideration.

A lot of racially based factors affect the realization of social inclusiveness. These include poverty, caused by unequal distribution of wealth and an equal access to public resources; poverty limits the access of people to most fundamental levels of social inclusion. Presented as a multi-faceted problem that regards the material deprivation, inability to afford shelter and food also regards agency; the poor are psychologically disempowered and excluded from the greater community (Archer, Hutchings & Ross 2005). Most ethnically marginalized members of the society fall into this category.

Another area that has suffered from ethnic discrimination is employment. This has been characterized by the exclusion of particular ethnic groups from the labour market and impediments to acquiring gainful employments. Employment gives an access to social network and forms the most salient aspect of economic inclusion.

There is a study that indicates that ethnic segregation occurs on work and that workplace segregation of black occurs by a magnitude of 14%, while their Hispanic counterparts experience a 20% segregation magnitude (Archer, Hutchings & Ross 2005). This segregation is attributed to lower quality education, and race is also a contributing factor.

To achieve inclusively, it is important to reduce existing labour barriers by installing social responsibility practices that focus on harmonization of different ethnic representatives. Society should care about promoting equal opportunities, providing social and economic incentives to organizations that have provision for social and economic incentives. Social policies and job fragmentations should be introduced to curb the ethnic segregation menace.

Action Points

There is a need to eliminate discriminatory laws and practices that violate the basic human rights provided by international law. Human rights that are founded on respect and dignity should be applied to all people without discrimination. Customary laws, practices and standing orders that are discriminatory, should be eliminated to allow the integration of all ethnic components in the society (Hujo 2009). Adherence to the universal declaration of human rights provides the guideline for protection of ethnic groups, tribal groups, and other minorities. Also, adherence to United Nations declaration on the elimination of all forms of intolerance is based on belief, religion, race, and culture.

Mechanisms need to be put in place for the society to realize social inclusion. These mechanisms include strategic planning and response plan, the formation of self-empowerment and capacity building bodies to help raise the awareness and stem ethnic segregation. While changes in legislation and policies are important in fostering the use of diversionary culture, religious practices, and undesirable discourses, promoting ethnic hegemony has been an issue of concern. Changing people’s mindsets to enable everyone to become a part of the group that defines culture, values and standards of the society they live in.

Social inclusion plays a major role in the attainment of millennium development goals. In order to eradicate extreme poverty, achieve universal education, maternal healthcare, and gender equality, everything depends on the level of social inclusion in the society. In order to achieve these goals, social stability, and inclusion must be given priority and agents of change have to be employed to ensure inclusiveness in tandem with millennium goals. Such an attainment nonetheless presents a fair share of challenges. One of the challenges to attaining this inclusivity is ethnic-based segregation.

The segregation is a perennial problem that started in the medieval times and only improved or modified to its current state in the modern society. Both spatial segregation and ethnic discrimination can be used interchangeably to mean the same thing. Ethnic segregation has impeded the realization of a socially inclusive and stable society.

Played out on both human rights fronts, where ethnically segregated groups have been marginalized regarding an access to fundamental human rights and privileges. Most Hispanic and African Americans are subjected to poor human rights conditions. Some of those are the cases of extra judicial killings, harassments and victimizations in the ghetto, cases of white getting the better prosecution, etc.

In the education system, there is an insight on how ethnically segregated communities fair badly against their counterparts. For instance, schools which are predominantly inhabited by blacks and Hispanic receive little or no funds; the teachers are not accredited and the few that are, register a high-level absenteeism and neglect of work and responsibility. It is also noted that there is an influx of migration from ghetto schools to district schools and that the administrations have done little or nothing to create an accommodative environment for the new enrolment. For example, the schools have no minority teacher’s representations and the organizational culture is still polarized and, most likely, to rekindle desegregation.

In an access to social perspective, ethnic segregation has been used to limit access to social utilities; more so, to those living in the spatially segregated neighbourhood. Participation in various social affairs, as well as political presence are essential. Unfortunately, the need for social networking and integration in community affairs keeps to be thwarted by ethnic discrimination. The given paper has carefully analyzed the impediments and threats to social stability. It is obvious how ethnic segregation contributes majorly to social instability and inclusiveness of the society.

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