Know plagiarism. APA Times New Roman. I have attached chapter 4Instructions:This week you will continue to work on the topic of choice to progress toward your Cultural Perspectives final paper. Select ONE of the diversity-related topics researched for your Week 3 written assignment, or select a new topic. write a 800- (not including title page) that addresses the following:Describe the diversity situation or cultural dilemma and the cultural groups impacted by this topic.Explain the types of power or privilege each group possesses. In what ways are members of each group aware (or not aware) of their power or privilege?Discuss the types of prejudice or discrimination applied to each group. Is the discrimination or prejudice overt or covert?How do these (prejudice, discrimination, power or privilege) impact each group’s access to goods, services, positions of power, education, or other societal structures?Support your claims with documentation from historical perspectives, recent news activities, scholarly articles, or course resources.
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4
Social Exclusion, Discrimination,
and Fairness
Exactostock/Superstock
Learning Objectives
By the end of this chapter, you should be able to:
• Discuss forms of social exclusion in American society.
• Differentiate between the concepts of bias, generalization, stereotype, prejudice, and profiling as well as
their meanings to scholars and diversity practitioners.
• Assess the usefulness of generalizations and stereotypes as tools for decision making.
• Evaluate whether prejudice or profiling is justifiable in certain circumstances.
• Debate the use of numerical data to discriminate in various situations.
• Categorize types of discriminatory practices and privilege and the means by which they work to retain the
status quo.
• Evaluate social discourse theory and other concepts such as ideology, conformity, and symbolism as means
of structuring our worldview and concepts of reality.
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Forms of Societal Exclusion
Section 4.1
Introduction
Cultural systems such as national cultures and subcultures attempt (consciously and unconsciously) to instill unity within their membership and to differentiate the group from the outside world. As a result, almost all cultures develop a sense of how different they are from “others” (Stearns, 2000)—an awareness that can often create sharp “us” and “them” distinctions
or opposition between the dominant culture and those outside it.
Additionally, within any culture, some groups of individuals are favored or enjoy higher social
class status, while others are disadvantaged and often disparaged. Thus, inequities exist
within the structure of the society itself, and members of some groups may not be able to
fully participate in the culture. What types of inequities and exclusions exist in societies? How
and why do these inequities develop? What processes, elements, and social constructs within
a society influence how members reflect on or respond to human diversity? These are some
of the questions this chapter explores.
4.1 Forms of Societal Exclusion
This text previously discussed how immigrants adopt the customs, values, and attitudes of
their new society and, over time, become assimilated into the new culture. However, for their
own reasons or for reasons beyond their control, some do not assimilate. Those who fail to
assimilate often do not have the same opportunities and advantages enjoyed by those who
do; the outsiders do not fully participate in the culture (Zellentin, Hinsch, & Wingert, 2012).
Because of dress, language, accent, or customs, they are still viewed as different. Immigrants
and the homeless are examples of such excluded populations.
When people immigrate to a new society and have needs, values, and attitudes
that differ from those of the majority population, does the host society have any
responsibility to try to accommodate immigrants’ needs, values, and attitudes?
Proponents of assimilation would say that a host country has no responsibility
whatsoever to make cultural changes to accommodate newcomers. “If they don’t like
it here, they can go back where they came from,” goes the argument. Yet the United
States in particular prides itself on being a nation of immigrants. Many social practices
in American culture have continually undergone change as a result of the
immigration of different groups of people into this country. For example,
ethnic restaurants abound in large and small cities around the country and
are frequented by people of varying nationalities. Public documents are
routinely printed in several different languages in addition to English;
Americans of all backgrounds routinely participate in Chinese New Year and
St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
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Forms of Societal Exclusion
Section 4.1
Many people, however, see these social practices as inconsequential when compared to
what they consider to be various ways in which minority groups are oppressed and
systematically excluded from mainstream American culture. The sections that follow
examine some of these views.
Oppression
Historically, the term oppression has described unjust treatment by a powerful person
or government. Such treatment might include persecution, abuse, domination, brutality,
or tyranny, such as the oppression of slaves in the United States prior to the Civil War.
More recently, however, the term has been used to denote widespread or systemic social
inequity by those who wield power in a hierarchical social system that grants one group
(e.g., racial, gender, or socioeconomic) greater access to resources (social, economic,
political, cultural, and psychological) relative to other groups (Case & Hunter, 2012). Such
oppression, say some researchers, creates a minority group experience in which people feel
marginalized. Marginalization, also often referred to as social exclusion, relegates people
to the margins or fringes of mainstream society and places them at a social disadvantage.
Oppression, say some researchers, also has the potential to limit individuals in the
social, political, and economic domains of their lives, while taking a psychological toll on
them by creating a sense of demoralization, lowered self-esteem, and decreased quality of
life (Matthews & Adams, 2009). Oppression can be accompanied by discrimination—
actions, practices, traditions, policies, or laws that deny human rights or social
participation to categories of people based on their actual or perceived membership in a
certain group.
Discrimination
Broadly defined, the term discrimination refers to discernment—the ability to recognize
and understand the differences and fine distinctions between one thing and another.
However, in the latter part of the 1800s, the word acquired a meaning related to the unfair
or prejudicial treatment of or behavior toward a person or minority group. As its definition
above suggests, discrimination can take multiple forms. It can refer to unequal treatment
by one person; a community-wide ostracizing of certain people in specific neighborhoods; a
pervasive attitude demonstrated by unfair treatment in employment, housing, or education;
or a societal prejudice that is reflected in regulations or legislation that affect groups of
people.
For example, some Muslims have pointed to U.S. legislation, such as the 2001 Patriot Act
and travel restrictions implemented through the Transportation Security Administration
(TSA), as the impetus for increased discrimination toward them (Ghaffari & Çiftçi, 2010).
After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, many Muslims
felt stigmatized because of their religion and/or ethnicity. The word stigma derives
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Forms of Societal Exclusion
Section 4.1
from a 16th-century word meaning “to mark with a brand,” and it refers to singling out
someone or a group and condemning them or their behavior as wrong or disgraceful. This
stigmatization often becomes a rationale for various forms of discrimination.
On a 2007 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, a majority of Muslim Americans
surveyed said it has become more difficult to be a Muslim in the United States since the September 11 attacks. Many Muslims believe that the government “singles out” Muslims for
increased surveillance and monitoring, and they also report hate crimes, harassment, and
other forms of discrimination against them due to their ethnic and cultural identity and to
misconceptions regarding the religion of Islam (Ghaffari & Çiftçi, 2010).
In 2010 the Council on American–Islamic Relations estimated that approximately 7 million
Muslims lived in the United States. Approximately 65% to 75% of these people are immigrants, and they belong to a diverse population that originated from 80 different countries
around the world and whose members have different traditions, practices, languages, and
cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
The Muslim population varies widely in its religious affiliation and how its members observe
and practice their religion. A study conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2007 titled
“Muslim Americans: Middle Class and Mostly Mainstream” surveyed the identities of the Muslim American community and found that about half of the Muslim immigrant population and
their children identify as Sunni Muslims, 22% do not identify as a member of any particular
sect, and 16% identify as Shia (Shiite) Muslims.
Regardless of religious affiliation, overall, a third of Muslim Americans interviewed in the
2007 Pew survey reported that they experienced at least one of these hostile acts in the previous 12 months: being called offensive names, being singled out by law enforcement, or being
physically threatened or assaulted.
The example of discrimination against Muslims is not unique to the United States, and discrimination is not restricted to one religious group, nationality, skin color, or appearance.
Discrimination exists in many forms throughout the world.
Structural Inequities
History is replete with stories of discrimination against individuals and entire groups of people. This discrimination is not always sanctioned by the primary culture, and it is not always
obvious. But it can be reinforced, perpetuated, and even implicitly condoned when it exists
within the structures and systems of the society itself.
When discrimination exists within social, political, and economic institutions or other structures within a society, structural inequities are rooted in the societal system. They can be
found, for example, in policies that give preference to immigrants from one country over
another, in university admission practices that privilege the children of alumni or other special classes of applicants, and in laws that deny voting rights to persons based on race or sex.
These structural inequities exclude some groups from full participation in the culture, relegating them to an inferior status in the society.
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Forms of Societal Exclusion
Section 4.1
Structural inequities can also be more subtle than explicit laws allowing or prohibiting
actions by certain groups. They can take the form of systemic cultural inequalities. These
could include the underrepresentation of minorities in positions of social, economic, and
political influence; unlawful practices within communities such as exploitation of immigrants
or other minority populations in low-wage or “sweatshop” employment; lack of input from
marginalized groups with regard to political decisions; or silent rejection or subtle forms of
exclusion from participation in the social structure.
In the 2009 book More than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City, Harvard professor William Julius Wilson explores the structural and cultural forces that contribute to racial
inequality in American inner cities. He explains that when people share similar place-based
circumstances such as living together in a poor, segregated neighborhood, they participate
in social networks and a particular way of understanding social life and cultural scripts that
guide their behavior. Thus, he argues, when they act according to their culture, “they are following inclinations developed from their exposure to the particular traditions, practices, and
beliefs among those who live and interact in the same physical and social environment” (Wilson, 2009, p. 4). These practices and beliefs are not the same as those of people whose living
circumstances are different.
Wilson (2009) identifies two types of structural forces that he calls social acts and social processes. Social acts refer to the behavior of individuals within the society, and Wilson includes
discrimination in hiring and job promotions, housing, and college admission as well as exclusion from unions, associations, or clubs—when these are the acts of an individual or group
exercising power over others.
Wilson (2009) defines social processes as the “machinery” of society: structural or institutional inequities. He includes policies and laws in this category. These social processes also
involve more indirect forms of discrimination such as school tracking, which purports to be
academic but often reproduces traditional segregation, and redlining (drawing boundaries
and excluding low-income areas where a financial institution will not make mortgage loans),
which purports to be about sound fiscal policy but in fact excludes Black people from home
ownership. Wilson believes it is important to understand not only the independent contributions of social structure and culture but also how they intersect to shape different group
outcomes. According to Wilson, those outcomes can result in inequality and prevent full integration of some minority groups into mainstream American society.
Exclusion Due to Differing Values
We may assume that the values that guide political decisions in the United States are the
basic rights and freedoms found in the nation’s Constitution. While these values might be the
underpinnings of government action, government cannot justify and guarantee that these
values will be upheld. Government depends on civil society to provide a moral foundation for
these values and to demonstrate them in social practices. These social practices, then, guarantee and protect these values over time.
This chapter previously asked the question, “Does a prevailing social group have any responsibility to try to accommodate the needs, values, and attitudes of those joining it from
another group?” If a particular country has no obligation to accommodate immigrants’ needs
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Bias, Generalization, Stereotype, Prejudice, and Profiling
Section 4.2
and values, how can people with different conceptions of what is right or wrong be treated
equally? And how does society ensure that cultural differences do not translate into political
disadvantages for members of minority groups?
Some claim that mainstream societies generally tolerate the cultural differences of minority
groups but do not consider their views in political debates that involve value judgments
such as those regarding abortion legislation or gay marriage. Value judgments are subjective
assessments about the quality or worth of something, or whether something is good or bad,
based on one’s own standards or priorities. Value judgments often implicitly involve issues of
whether something should or ought to be done. Because they are subjective, they often refer
to an individual’s opinion, which is formed to a certain degree by one’s belief system and
one’s culture.
This chapter opened with the statement that all cultures develop a pronounced sense of how
different they are from “others.” A society that compares itself to another can develop an ethnocentric view: that “we” are superior to “them” or in some way better than “they” are. These
perceptions of others, particularly those whose values are considered inferior, can lead to
prejudice and various other forms of discrimination against nonfavored groups.
4.2 Bias, Generalization, Stereotype, Prejudice,
and Profiling
Defining bias, generalization, stereotype, prejudice, and profiling can be a challenge. These
terms often contradict one another, are used synonymously, and may include value judgments—fair and unfair—when applied to a person or situation. Consequently, any study of
these concepts must develop a shared definition of terms that will enable students to communicate clearly with one another and with scholars in the diversity field.
The manner in which these terms are commonly used is often different from their meaning
in the academic arena and among diversity practitioners. This text will examine these terms
from the standpoint of the literature concerning culture and diversity, which may require
adjusting some preconceived notions of the meaning of each term.
Bias as a Critical Element in Decision Making
In his book The Anatomy of Bias: How Neural Circuits Weigh the Options, neuroscientist Jan
Lauwereyns (2010) suggests that the word bias should be “exonerated, polished, and used
properly” (p. 14). For many, the term bias has a negative connotation: a form of evil and a
synonym for prejudice that leads to discrimination. In fact, bias is a crucial element in discernment and plays a basic role in decision making. It can be viewed as a preference for or
a leaning toward something based on one’s values, beliefs, or experiences. From a scientific
perspective, bias is the anticipatory processing of information—a prediction of an outcome
on either the positive or negative side of neutral. As such, it is an important element in weighing options and analyzing the risks and rewards of certain behaviors.
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Bias, Generalization, Stereotype, Prejudice, and Profiling
Section 4.2
Everyone has biases. Mechanisms of bias are a fundamental element in organizing an individual’s perceptions and are so ingrained in human thought that it is possible to encounter
them in many different guises and in a wide variety of contexts and situations, as a person
tries to anticipate future results (Lauwereyns, 2010). Thoughts are an intrinsic part of human
identity, a personal perspective that has been molded by genetics, environment, personality,
culture, and language, and these thoughts are inevitably biased by a person’s limited experiences. The biases each person holds help order the world and predict outcomes. According
to Lauwereyns (2010), they represent rational, critical thinking and extensive information
processing, often based on past experiences.
Suppose that you are at a crossroads where you have only limited time to make a decision.
You must choose whether to continue your education or take a new career position that will
require you to live in an isolated area without an Internet connection to continue your studies.
You may have beliefs, expectations, values, hopes, and desires that factor into your thoughts
about which path to choose, and these mental activities provide different degrees of meaning
and truth to aid you in making a decision.
However, rational, critical thinking, in which you compare one belief or one value against
another, balance one emotion against another, weigh your dreams and hopes for the future,
and calculate the risks and rewards of the two options, represents the more extensive information processing that Lauwereyns (2010) describes. This type of rational thought enables
you to evaluate positive or negative outcomes. It contributes to decision making by employing
complex and more explicit forms of computation and strategies of informed choice. And, in
Lauwereyns’s words, “It is governed by the orientation—yes, bias—toward happiness, as all
other forms of mental or behavioral activity” (p. 86).
Lauwereyns is not alone in his belief that happiness is a primary human goal. Other researchers have also found that happiness as a state of mind may be universal, though its meaning
is subjective and culturally bound. “Cultural values can be a major force in determining the
conception of happiness and, consequently, in constricting its subjective experiences” (Luo,
Gilmour, & Kao, 2001, p. 480).
Consider the differences between Eastern (Asian) and Western (European/North American)
concepts of happiness. Researchers have found that Western happiness correlates consistently with the Western value of individualism, whereas collective welfare, social integration,
and human-heartedness—reflecting interpersonal benevolence, group harmony, hierarchy,
stability, and homeostasis—are paramount in the Eastern concept of happiness and represent a more collectivist viewpoint (Luo et al., 2001).
Sound and Unsound Generalizations
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