Minority Identity

2 February 2017

A factor that is heavily involved in shaping ascribed identity is stereotyping. Stereotyping is defined as assign a set of particular attributes to a person based on presumed membership of a certain group. Stereotypes usually involves simplifying a complex situation but have proved to be very effective in shaping what people in a particular group think of themselves. For example, in “Can We All Get Along? ” a survey of black people showed that two thirds of the group surveyed believed that they shared a common political fate with other blacks in the United States.

This shows the cohesion that occurs within groups of people based on something as simple as skin color. I use the term black because the book states that it describes an identity and status based on color. However, this group cohesion has proven by political research to strengthen a persons interest in political participation. The more that an individual identifies with members in their group, the more likely they are to take interest in candidates and policies that further the advancement of their group. Minority status is not just based on a numerical scale of how many people, whether it be whites, blacks, Latinos, Asians etc. re accounted for, but is classified more by the benefits and privileges offered to different groups. Historically, minority groups have been exploited by majority groups for economic gain. For example, the enslavement of African-Americans and the taking of land from American Indians and Mexicans when settlement was first occurring. Other factors that can shape minority status can be race, gender, economic status, ethnicity or sexual orientation. In American politics, minority status can greatly affect the way that group is represented in the political arena.

Minority Identity Essay Example

The role that these minority groups play has been influenced by the size and economic well-being and geographic concentration of the groups population as well as if they have previously participated in a civil rights movement. These factors are referred to as “minority group politics. ” The amount of people in these groups and where they are located play a vital role in deciding how many members each state will have in the U. S. House of Representatives , the way that electoral districts will be drawn up, and the number of votes that each state will have in the electoral college when choosing the president.

As stated in “Can We All Get Along? ” the Latino population has been increasing rapidly over the past forty years and is on pace to become the majority, as far as number of people, by 2042 but their political presence is still nowhere close to that of whites. The two main reasons for this is because the Latino population has a large number of voters who can’t vote because of age and because they aren’t citizens. Another issue in the lack of political participation that is addressed in the readings is the socioeconomic status of the minority groups.

Groups that are better off economically, for example the whites, can afford the time to get informed on political issues and get out and vote accordingly. Another factor that hinders a minority groups political power is their level of education and employment. Whites are afforded more opportunities in the field of education because they can afford to live in better communities that have better schools and a more intense curriculum. This means that they have access to more information regarding politics which makes them more concerned with voting and furthering their prosperity.

The effect of minority status has a great deal to do with the political representation of minority groups. The participation in civil rights movements, like the major one in the 1950’s and 1960’s conducted by the blacks, is a way for a minority, or “dominated,” group to empower themselves socially and politically. Minority status is still prevalent in our current political system and will continue to have a large, mostly negative, effect on the representation of these minority groups until a change is made.

I think that with time will come a balance of power between groups and it will no longer be a minority versus majority situation, but a more level playing field that has an even say it what shapes our political lives. Race can be defined as groupings among people that are understood as having a physical and hereditary bias. Examples of these groupings are generalizing someone as black, white, yellow or brown. That being said, race is a social, not biological, construction that makes it easier for one group to assume “domination” over another.

These groups can be classified by physical differences which can cause cultural differences. There is a historical legacy of policies, laws and social conventions that have sought to exclude certain groups and benefit another. The black versus white dynamic is probably the most recognized and most ingrained social construction in the United States. Beginning with the British coming to North America and bringing their cultural views of race as a way to establish a self entitled dominance over other groups, America has used race to justify the mistreatment of certain groups.

The demand for cheap labor furthered this idea of white superiority and became one of the main reasons for the enslavement of blacks and the suppression of their race. Native Americans were considered to be a step above blacks but still inferior to the whites so they had the option of adapting to the English way of life or disappear completely. As explained in “Where White Privilege Came From,” White slave owners used race as a way to control black slaves, saying that they were incapable of learning or advancing their race.

These slave owners actually thought that they were doing the blacks a favor by letting them associate with them and their sophisticated way of life. They looked the situation as if it was charity work and that they were rescuing the blacks from their naturally inferior and savage way of life. Group names, definitions, and boundaries are constantly shifting. Up until 1967 and the ruling of Loving vs Virginia, there will still 29 states that had laws forbidding interracial marriages between blacks and whites, as well as whites and Indians, Asians, as well as Mongolians.

This was a law that was punishable by up to fourteen years in prison. This ridiculous law is among the many that was caused by socially constructing a “race” in order to hold them down and advance the white agenda. What “race” you are considered in the United States has a tremendous affect on your social, economic, and political status. Going back to the creation of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution it is apparent that these documents were written to benefit the white “race” and exclude “other persons,” blacks and Indians, from enjoying the same life and liberty as that of the whites.

The original constitution stated “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all other persons. ” This passage just shows how electoral politics has been mainly aimed towards advancement of a select group while denying privileges and opportunities to others.

Even after the three-fifth’s compromise, there remained the issue of suffrage and citizenship. The criteria for both of these was left up to the states which allowed them to pick and choose, based on race, who would be considered a citizen and who would be allowed to vote. History shows that due to social constructions it has been easy to segregate different groups based on race. Whether it has been the denial of voting or citizenship, or the appropriating of funds and privileges to the whites, social construction is still very alive in our current political state.

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