Free The Problem of Ethnic and Racial Discrimination in the Society Essay Sample
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Numerous forms of discrimination have been prevalent in the society throughout history. From the ancient times, people suffered prejudice based on their social status, race, ethnicity or gender. Due to the fact that some people had different skin color or lower social status, they were treated as slaves or servants. They did not have the right to be educated, to travel freely or get their own dwelling. From the early childhood, such people had to struggle hard in order to prove that they have the same right to lead a normal lifestyle, have regular workplace, and provide a decent living for their families. This prejudice and unequal treatment towards people stems from the phenomenon of ‘difference.’ If a person or a group of people looks or behaves differently from the majority, he/she is gradually becoming a victim of oppression and prejudice. Very often such prejudice can become real discrimination when people are humiliated or oppressed due to their culture, ethnicity, race or gender. When people are discriminated, their fundamental rights are limited, and such persons are deprived of their basic freedoms. As a matter of fact, there still exist numerous types of discrimination in the modern society that people are struggling against. This essay will focus on the problem of ethnic and racial discrimination in the modern society and its manifestation in different spheres of people’s lives.
Ethnic and racial discrimination have always been one of the most topical issues. People never displayed any forms of tolerance or understanding towards the other cultures or races. Ethnic and racial discrimination is referred to as unequal and prejudiced treatment of people on the basis of their ethnicity or race. In the United States, this discrimination affects such groups of people as the Blacks, Asians, and Hispanics among other cultural minorities. People can face discrimination throughout various stages of their lives, for example in kindergarten, at school, university or work, in the street or in the supermarket. Wherever a person goes, he/she may encounter some forms of discrimination. Very often, people who hold some prejudice towards others may even become victims of prejudice themselves. According to a general opinion, the whites are those who discriminate other nationalities or ethnical minorities, but as a matter of fact, there can be an outbreak of discrimination within a group of ethnical minorities. For example, African Americans can hold prejudice against Asians or vice versa.
While many people may think that the fight for racial and ethnic equality is already over and the society has reached the desirable results, it is obvious that people still try to cope with this topical issue. One of the most successful steps in the process of eradicating discrimination is the process of ensuring diversity at the workplace. According to this principle, a company should employ people of different ethnic, racial, and cultural backgrounds, gender, etc. Workplace diversity helps at establishing and maintaining contact between different groups of people and learning to work in a team towards a common goal. Besides, it provides a positive effect on the customers since it is often easier to talk to someone with similar beliefs. Nevertheless, this approach has also encountered many difficulties on its way. Some businesses were erroneously blamed for provoking hostility at racial and ethnic levels. The main reason is that not all races and ethnic groups can be equally represented in the company’s personnel due to some professional aspects. For example, IT companies may be more popular among Europeans and not Hispanics or African Americans; thus most of the personnel would be European white males. Consequently, the company may be accused of the failure to maintain anti-discrimination policy based on racial, ethnic, and gender issues.
People are constantly facing different forms of ethnic or racial prejudice in the society without necessarily being in the center of it. People are susceptible to the problem of discrimination due to the direct influence of art, television, and literature. The media usually emphasizes on the importance of equal treatment of all people. Alongside with that, people are bombarded from the television screens with information about various kinds of revolt, acts of terror or accidents that deal with the problem of racial and ethnic discrimination. The media mostly shapes people’s understanding of the problem of discrimination. At times, it seems that constant attention and focus on the issue of discrimination augments this particular problem, and instead of eliminating it, people cause more incidences. On the other hand, some forms of media and television reveal this problem and let people reflect on it and express their opinions.
One cannot deny the strong influence of cinematography on the problem of racial and ethnic discrimination. First, it is an informative source where people can get some basic knowledge or broaden their outlook on the topic of prejudice and discrimination. Second, it accentuates people’s attention on the strong need to eliminate the problem. Finally, it provides people with a particular ‘lesson’ of what is right and wrong and also shows particular consequences of people’s actions.
There are two popular movies that deal with the problem of ethnic and racial discrimination. These are Mississippi Masala directed by Mira Nair and Crash directed by Paul Haggis. Both films depict situations that happen in the world, particularly in the USA, in everyday life. The film Mississippi Masala focuses viewers’ attention on the discrimination of Asians when initially they were forced by the government to build the railway and then were forcibly expelled from their places of residence in Uganda. The movie also deals with the issue of ethnocentrism, according to which a particular ethnic group regards itself as superior over the others or better than the others are. “Africa is for Africans, Black Africans,” – this is probably one of the highest levels of discrimination – depriving a person of the right to travel and move freely and find a place of comfort. Nowadays, it can be really hard for people to find peace and comfort in a foreign country since they are faced with prejudice and bias. Faulty generalizations about the whole nation negatively influence the opinion of a particular person. Asians, Hispanics, and African Americans are often viewed as people that pose danger, that may rob one in the street or commit a fraud. People are not generally communicative with such people because they already have different kinds of prejudice rooted deep in their minds. From my experience, I can state that I have felt some excessive cautiousness from the other people. I am an international student in the USA from the Middle East, and initially it was extremely hard to establish contact with some students. Most of them were friendly and open, but some of them were obviously influenced by their biases and personal opinions. The film Crash has vividly demonstrated a similar situation, when a Hispanic locksmith is regarded as a criminal by a lady. Just because he was a bald-headed Hispanic male with a tattoo, he was considered to be a dangerous person who could change the door-lock and take one key for himself in order to break into the house later. The movie provides a striking example of how people can be mistaken when they come to such conclusions. Thus, some minutes after this episode, the same Hispanic male is shown at home with his 8-year-old daughter, and one sees that he is a gentle and loving family man. The aforementioned facts are the most striking examples of how people treat the others unequally only by forming their opinion based on race, nationality or ethnicity.
The society is still full of racial stereotypes where the African Americans, Asians or Hispanics are viewed as villains and people who cannot be trusted. Discrimination and racism continue to be widespread in the society. According to the article by NPR staff, “Inequality is persistent or even increasing despite a measurable decline in prejudice.” There is ongoing tension between the whites and the blacks, and it seems it will never eradicate. Inequality and discrimination are present not only in political or social sphere, but also in the sphere of art and culture. When a particular work of art tells the story of a particular nation, for example Africans or Asians, it may face negative critical evaluation. An article in the New York Times “Race, the Remix” provides an example of how white critics limited the freedom of ‘black’ authorship by not letting to freely express thoughts and opinions because they may be disadvantageous for someone in the authority.
In conclusion, it is evident that inequality and discrimination are still thriving in the modern democratic society. Prejudice seems to be an inevitable part of people’s thinking since they are profoundly influenced by a multitude of stereotypes regarding different ethnic groups. The issue of racial and ethnic discrimination merges into different spheres of the society including the media and art. By illuminating the problem, film directors, writers and artists manage to convey a message of the importance of equal treatment and demonstrate possible negative consequences of the issue of inequality.