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Racism Is the Reason for Ethnic Inequality

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Racism is the reason for ethnic inequality (Discuss)


Racism is the belief that some ethnic groups are superior and others inferior. This belief is often associated with notions of skin pigmentation or the minor physical differences that are sometimes apparent between different groups of people. However, racism is not always associated with skin colour, but also with culture, ethnicity, with religious belief or language differences. The notion of racism itself is also a very recent idea in our society. In the past, the idea that people from certain ethnic groups were superior to and different from others was so deeply ingrained into thinking that it was not seriously questioned. There is a long and deep history of racism in European culture.

Ethnic inequalities are still significant in UK , there are a number of things which cause it and they are defined by racism and institutional racism in our society.

One type of racism that could account for ethnic inequality is institutional racism. This is the kind of racism that is built in to the everyday practises of an institution. The most well know example of institutional racism and its impact was the Macpherson Report which was an invest into the Stephen Lawrence case. The Stephen Lawrence inquiry  ‘ Shows that institutional racism consists of the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their skin colour, culture or ethnic origin. It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwriting prejudice, ignorance and stereotyping which disadvantage minority ethnic people. Stephen Lawrence was a black teenager murdered by a group of white youths. The report found out that the Met Police had not investigated the murder properly and that this was a large part of the reason why the murders had not been brought to justice. The treatment of minority groups by the police was an instit racist and may be a significant in ethnic inequality.

Holdway suggested that there was a canteen culture amongst the police.

Modood et al. (1997) survey of african caribbean which relied on peoples opinions and perceptions, shows that people have been refused to get a job on grounds of race (racial or religious reason) he found out that 95% of African Caribbean were more likely the then whites 90% of white and 51% of Bangledeshi suffered from a finding a job as they have felt that employers refuse to hire them for the job because of racial or religious reason.

Furthermore some people are disadvantaged more than others because of the racism which is happening at the workplace. A study done by Jenkins (1986) shows racist attitudes entered into the recruitment decisions. He found out that the two main criteria they used were ‘suitability’ (which include the relevant skills and qualifications to do the particular job) and the acceptability (appearance,manner and attitude).  So even though minority of people who have applied for the job have passed suitability hurdle, they were likely to be disqualified on the grounds of acceptability. This place ethnic of  minorities of people at the disadvantage simply because of the ethnicity of the individual which result in a big contributor for the person ability to get the job for which they have applied for. Therefore the treatment of minority groups by the  employee is institutional racism and may be a significant in explanation of ethnic inequality in Britain as people are not treated fair.

 Another type of racism that could account for ethnic inequalities is Cultural Racism. This refers to stereotypes and hostile or derogatory attitudes towards ethnic minorities. These attitudes are ‘out there’ in the wider culture of the society. Not everyone subscribes to racist attitudes but they are still aware of them, they seem them circulated by the mass media, and they hear them passed on a common sense by other people. Some of these attitudes take the form of organised belief systems.There is a doubt whether new racism really represent a distinct break from older version of racism. Mason(1992) suggest that new racism is hardly new and hardly non-biological (it draws on sociobiology to support its dubious claims that it is ‘natural’ to maintain culturally exclus\\\\\\\ive b arriers. This shows that ethnic minorities are culturally different and they don't fit in, that's might be the reason why there is a difference in ethnic inequalities.

Furthermore, some minority groups suffer an ethnic penalty in employment, even after taking account of relevant factors such as difference in education and skills etc. For example Berthoud (2000) claims that from studies on Labour Force Survey data on 8,590 young minority men, Whites people tend to fare better in the labour market than minorities with the same or better educational qualifications. Ethnic penalty refers to a disadvantage for minority of people after  taking in mind all the obvious and straightforward factors. Berthoud states that racial discrimination isn’t the only possible explanation for ethnic penalty. He also claims that ethnic penalty is larger for some groups than others. This might have a significant explanation for ethnic inequalities as some people encounter higher levels of discrimination than others and still do well.  



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