Introduction To The Racial Discrimination Sociology Essay Example
Introduction To The Racial Discrimination Sociology Essay Example

Introduction To The Racial Discrimination Sociology Essay Example

Available Only on StudyHippo
  • Pages: 16 (4311 words)
  • Published: July 24, 2017
  • Type: Essay
View Entire Sample
Text preview

Argentina is currently commemorating 25 years of democracy, yet it still grapples with the enduring impact of oppression and injustice from the military rule in the 1970s and the Dirty War. During this dark period, approximately 30,000 individuals disappeared.

The country has a diverse population of about 40 million people. This population includes a significant number of European immigrants, notably from Italy and Spain. Minority groups such as Mestizo, Amerindian, and colored communities also exist.

Buenos Aires serves as Argentina's cultural and political capital. It is also a crucial hub for European migration and trade. The city represents 36% of the country's population.

In the past quarter-century, Argentina has witnessed relative growth and stabilization, propelling it to become the world's 23rd largest economy.

Argentina prides itself on its free public education system along with reasonably accessible healthcare services that have contribute


d to increased life expectancy and decreased infant mortality rates.

Despite its high literacy rate of 97% and reputation as one of the most educated nations in Latin America, country A continues to grapple with significant levels of illiteracy within marginalized communities. Recently, the country has acknowledged and embraced its multicultural and multiracial identity. The government has taken notable steps towards addressing racial discrimination during the last decade; however, these efforts are still in their early stages and have faced challenges such as limited funding, logistical issues, political complexities during the power transition in 1999, and a history of racism within Argentina. Discrimination based on cultural or national background is frequently observed and often linked to socio-economic and political factors.

In 1995, the National Institute against Discrimination, racial intolerance and Racism (INADI) was established in Argentina through Federal Law 24515. Th

View entire sample
Join StudyHippo to see entire essay

INADI is a strong opponent of favoritism in the South hemisphere and has positioned Argentina at the forefront of the fight against racism and favoritism. It works against discriminatory attitudes and behaviors that target certain segments of the population, particularly those referred to as "negros." This group is not specifically defined in Argentina but is generally associated with individuals who have dark skin or hair. They are often from the working class or lower class, economically disadvantaged, and increasingly linked to criminal activity in recent times.

Throughout the Argentine War of Independence, there was a notable exhibition of prejudice as Spaniards or monarchists derogatorily labeled the Argentine people as "Goths," insinuating they were uncivilized. Argentina also experiences instances of anti-Semitism due to a considerable influx of Jewish immigrants and their integration into other communities. This frequently results in extremism, and within the corporate realm, it is customary for those in authoritative roles to categorize their subordinates as "negros".

The ongoing discussion in Argentina revolves around the prevalence of racist behavior, specifically directed towards supporters of paeonies who are derogatorily referred to as "negros" by certain political groups. Some argue that these actions hold little significance and are rejected by the majority, while others believe racism is widespread and takes on various forms. Certain groups assert that Argentina's racism is comparable to other countries, while others argue its uniqueness stems from its history, culture, and interactions among diverse cultural groups. According to most sources, 97% of Argentina's population comprises white individuals (mainly Spanish and Italian descent), with the remaining 3% being mixed race individuals (including Indigenous and other non-white groups). An obstacle in addressing racial discrimination in Argentina

arises from insufficient information about the population, particularly concerning local and immigrant communities.

Argentina is often perceived to have a predominantly white population, but the official figures may not accurately represent the actual size of the white population. The country's founders in the 19th century aimed to establish a nation dominated by white individuals by marginalizing cultural minority groups and promoting immigration from Europe. As a result, indigenous peoples in Argentina face numerous challenges such as preserving their cultural and linguistic identity, securing land rights, accessing bilingual education, and gaining recognition. Current estimates suggest that the indigenous population varies significantly from 450,000 to 1.5 million people, making up approximately 1 to 4% of Argentina's total population of around 36 million.

The lack of accurate population data hinders the assessment of civic and political contributions by resident people. Despite acknowledging their rights to bilingual instruction, land ownership, and involvement in resource management, local people are rarely involved in organizing their natural resources. Additionally, they face marginalization through the use of derogatory language to belittle them. In the latter half of the 20th century, there was an increase in migration from other South American countries. This included a significant influx of Korean migrants during the 1970s. While statistics on the racial identity of Latin American migrants are unavailable, it is reasonable to assume that most are indigenous residents.

The prevailing belief in Argentina that the population is predominantly white has resulted in Argentines of Ladino, Indigenous, and African descent being viewed as foreign, regardless of their immigration status. Migrants are unfairly targeted by law enforcement, as acknowledged by the Minister of Justice, although the government denies any racial intolerance. The

general public also practices racial discrimination; for example, nightclubs in Buenos Aires have a reputation for discriminating against Latin American migrants and those who appear to be mixed race. Politicians in the metropolitan Buenos Aires region have exploited increasing crime rates to fuel racial intolerance and advocate for stricter immigration policies. They blame migrants for the rise in crime, disregarding government data that indicates migrants are not responsible for the majority of offenses.

The discrimination faced by Korean migrants has worsened after a sequence of intelligence probes in 1993. These investigations uncovered that Korean grocers were employing undocumented Bolivian migrant laborers and unlawfully acquiring electricity from the State. This incident depicted Koreans not as esteemed and diligent individuals, but rather as poorly assimilated, constrained, and unenthusiastic about learning Spanish. Consequently, their presence in esteemed schools and neighborhoods has been viewed as an intrusion. In contrast, the Jewish community in Argentina constitutes merely 2% of the population.

Argentina has a long history of antisemitism, which is evident in various incidents such as the terrorist bombings of the Israeli delegation and the Argentine Jewish Mutual Aid Association. Additionally, there have been instances of desecration of Jewish cemeteries and Hakenkreuz graffiti on buildings, including government ones, in Buenos Aires. The population's widespread antisemitic attitudes contribute to many not regarding Jewish people as truly Argentine. Despite efforts to address this issue, antisemitism still exists within security forces. It is worth noting that prior to 2000, a police manual contained racist and antisemitic expressions until it was changed due to public outcry. According to the Arab-Argentine Chamber of Commerce, Argentina currently has over 3.5 million descendants of Arabs, including former President Carlos


In spite of his Syrian heritage not posing a barrier to his election, he was required to convert to Catholicism during his 1989 campaign (this requirement is no longer in effect). However, throughout his term, he faced occasional and sometimes extreme criticisms. Although recent efforts have been made to address these abuses, Argentine society continues to struggle with violent behavior and prejudice against women. The main concerns revolve around the high levels of poverty and unemployment, which are particularly pronounced in the current economic crisis. Underemployment rates stand at 23.8% for women and 11.3% for men, while unemployment rates reach 14.2% for women and 11.4% for men. Women from local communities and minority ethnic groups face specific injustices regarding job opportunities. In terms of international trafficking, migrant women are enticed by deceptive job offers and coerced into participating in the sex trade within Argentina.

During President Carlos Menem's administration from 1989 to 1999, the Argentine government made significant strides in combatting discrimination and racial bias. Despite facing criticism from various parties, including human rights organizations, opposition parties, and the Catholic Church for their lack of tolerance towards different races and disregard for human rights agendas, official measures were taken to address these issues. The transfer of power to President Fernando de la Rua's Alianza alliance party in December 1999 further advanced the government's efforts against discrimination; however, it also caused a delay in implementing relevant policies due to the change in leadership. On August 24, 1994, amendments were made to the Argentine Constitution with the specific goal of tackling racial discrimination.

Recent changes to international human rights laws have made it illegal to display bias, ensuring that

both citizens and non-citizens receive the same civil liberties. Moreover, these amendments recognize local communities as valid entities and allow them to participate in relevant development projects. The National Institute of Local Affairs (INAT) has sponsored various initiatives aimed at promoting land redistribution, bilingual education, healthcare programs, and rural economic growth. Additionally, measures have been implemented to guarantee equal access to education while preserving cultural identities and diversity. These measures are in line with international human rights agreements such as the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Furthermore, recent years have seen the introduction of amendments and legislation targeting racial discrimination and other forms of prejudice by acknowledging their existence and providing a means for victims to seek justice.

The text discusses the various measures taken by INADI, a government agency in Argentina, to combat discrimination, racial intolerance, and racism. These measures include implementing laws that criminalize acts of prejudice based on race, signing international conventions to protect the rights of local and tribal people, and establishing the National Institute to Combat Discrimination, Racial intolerance, and Racism (INADI). INADI was legally recognized in 1995 with the aim of developing national policies and concrete actions against discrimination. They have conducted training sessions for educators and law enforcement officials as well as launched public education campaigns. Additionally, INADI has created a mechanism for receiving complaints and taking legal action when necessary. Unfortunately, both INADI and another government agency called INAI are facing budget constraints due to economic difficulties.

Despite commendable efforts by the current government against racial discrimination in Argentina, discriminatory attitudes and actions still persist towards immigrants, local populations, and other racial minorities. INADI, the agency responsible

for addressing this issue, faces challenges in covering the entire national district and lacks sufficient financial support to track statistics on racial discrimination and respond effectively to complaints. To address this issue, it is essential for the government to provide more assistance to anti-discrimination agencies like INADI, collect census data regarding marginalized populations, and implement public education programs. These measures will ensure that legal actions result in actual aid for marginalized populations in Argentina.

The Impact of Unemployment

Following the economic crisis of 2001 which caused a significant collapse in Argentina's economy, the country has been grappling with consistently increasing levels of unemployment. However, Buenos Aires stands out as a region where notable progress has been made in its recovery. This can be attributed to an upsurge in construction projects and affordable prices that have attracted a considerable number of international tourists.

Although the Argentine economy is growing quickly, unemployment continues to be a difficult problem for President Cristina Kirchner. The current unemployment rate is 8.7%, creating tension among lower and lower-middle-class citizens. This has resulted in issues like drug abuse and prostitution, although these problems may not be readily apparent to visitors. Poverty is most noticeable in rural regions, where there is prevalent racial discrimination towards local communities.

In Argentina, both unemployment and a scarcity of skilled workers are present.

Despite a shortage of skilled workers in various countries, there is a significant number of unqualified workers struggling to find jobs. Official statistics reveal that the GDP of this South American country, with a population of 40 million, grew by 9.2% last year. This growth followed the halt in economic expansion caused by the global financial crisis in 2009,

which had previously seen an average annual growth rate of over 7% since 2003. In contrast, GDP only increased by 0.9% in 2009.

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) had predicted substantial improvement for 2010; however, actual development exceeded expectations twofold. An article published by the Centre for National Studies on Alter Local Development (CENDA) highlights "the poor performance of the labour market in the face of economic recovery." Towards the end of 2010, the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INDEC) reported an unemployment rate similar to late-2008 levels before the United States experienced its mid-2008 international crisis hit - standing at 7.3%. The CENDA article portrays Argentina's economy making significant strides towards recovery in 2010 after enduring the impacts brought about by the global crisis.

Although the vibrant growth had a weak impact on the labor market, analysts consulted by IPS stated that unemployment has gradually decreased since late 2002, after Argentina's economic and societal downturn, when unemployment rose to 24%. However, they expressed concern that the government's economic policies are struggling to reduce the unemployment rate and achieve the goal of full employment set by the center-left governments of Nestor Kirchner (2003-2007) and his widow and successor, President Cristina Fernandez. Economist Ernesto Kritz, director of SEL Consultores, a labor consultancy group, explained to IPS that while there is a demand for skilled labor that remains unmet, a large portion of the labor market cannot find jobs. He noted, "Most of the unemployed come from the informal economy, and even if employment opportunities were available, they would be unlikely to be hired."

Since 2007, there has been no significant change in the

situation. In the last four years, the issue has become more sensitive due to the rise in labor costs, which has not been compensated by increased efficiency. According to Kritz, the March bulletin of his company states that although wages are improving, job opportunities are declining. Wages have increased since 2007 in line with rising prices, but labor costs have also gone up. This has led to a growing gap between wages and productivity, raising concerns about the sustainability of wages. Kritz also expressed concern about companies limiting their hiring in order to cope with the rising costs. He stated, "You can see this not only in industry but everywhere: companies are making do with the employees they already have."

According to Claudio Flores, the head of human resources company Agein, unemployment has been decreasing since 2002, but not at the same rate as the growing economy. In an interview with IPS, Flores stated that Agein receives requests from companies in various fields such as chemistry, oil, metal-working, mining, engineering, and software development. However, there are no available candidates to fill these positions. He pointed out that in the field of computer systems alone, there are an estimated 50,000 jobs available, but a large number of unemployed individuals lack the necessary skills. This disconnect between economic growth and unemployment levels is evident in the software industry where there is no unemployment, but a significant number of unskilled workers seeking employment.

In the past six years, the software industry has experienced a growth of around 280% and exports have also increased. However, there is a shortage of workers in this sector and companies are offering job

contracts to students even before they complete their studies.

Unemployment and Labor Protests

According to a recent survey, despite high economic growth, income distribution in Argentina has not improved. For instance, between 1992 and 1994, the country's GDP increase of 7.7% was mainly enjoyed by the top 10% wealthiest individuals. As a result, many Argentinians who initially supported Menem's economic policies have now lost trust in them. Economists believe that approximately 700,000 jobs have been lost since Menem took office, largely due to privatizations.

The government implemented tax increases and reduced social spending at the same time. Menem's aggressive labor policies have angered many unions, particularly the Confederacion General del Trabajo, the main labor federation. These actions led to widespread protests, including general strikes in August and September 1996. In addition, a 5-minute "black-out" occurred, where 22 percent of homes turned off their lights and people took to the streets to protest the government's economic policy by beating pots and pans. The two general strikes caused a significant shutdown in the country, with 80 to 90 percent of workers staying home.

The September work stoppage in Argentina was the biggest union-backed protest in the past 20 years. The protests were sparked by anger against employment reforms imposed or threatened by the government. These reforms include reducing union control over health benefits, loosening regulations on hiring and firing, reducing severance pay, making it easier for companies to lay off workers, increasing the work shift from eight to twelve hours, and limiting collective bargaining rights. A former union leader stated that if the government continues on its current path, workers may lose even their constitutional right to strike. The government has

implemented many of these changes through executive orders, bypassing the legislative process. Argentina emerged from a repressive dictatorship just a decade ago, where over 30,000 people disappeared. President Menem's tendency to rule by decree has not been calming. In September 1996, Menem warned that if Congress did not quickly pass his healthcare proposal, he would have no choice but to enact the law through executive order.

On 7 October 1996, Menem privatized Argentina's healthcare, receiving support from the IMF and foreign investors who consider these measures crucial for economic reforms and resolving the country's debt crisis. Despite public dissent, Menem has followed his advisors and accused left-of-center groups of inciting protests. He remains unfazed by the opposition, stating that this economic model is irreversible and not open for negotiation. Menem asserts that the one chosen by the people is the one who gives orders and governs, disregarding the number of strikes or protests. Nevertheless, his popularity has drastically declined from 80 percent to less than twenty percent in just two years.

According to a Gallup survey in August 1996, 80% of the population lacks faith in Menem's ability to resolve their country's issues.


Despite being a comparatively wealthy nation, Argentina also faces a relatively high poverty rate. Since 1991, the country has undergone a period of adjustment which has resulted in a significant decrease in inflation rates, the privatization of state-owned industries, and the opening of the economy to international trade. These adjustments have primarily impacted the impoverished population through their influence on labor demand.

The return of economic crises in 1995 and 1998 also contributed to

these challenges. However, progress has been made in terms of reducing poverty and improving welfare. In 1990, the poverty rate was 40%, but it decreased to a low of 22% in 1994. Unfortunately, since 1995, poverty has slightly increased as a percentage of the population, and income distribution has worsened. This decline in income distribution highlights that although there has been overall growth and an increase in average per capita income, most of the benefits have gone to the more skilled and educated individuals in the labor force, rather than the poor.

Additionally, there has been an increase in unemployment, particularly among the poor and extremely poor populations. The unemployment rate is higher for these groups compared to the general population. Many individuals living in poverty are either underemployed or work in temporary positions, often involving unstable creative activities. As a means to sustain family income, women, especially poor women, have increasingly joined the workforce. However, the lack of steady and secure full-time employment is considered one of the most pressing needs for those living in poverty.

The text highlights that impoverished households generally have lower levels of education, a larger number of dependents, and are typically younger than non-poor households. The main factor contributing to larger family sizes among the poor is the higher fertility rates among impoverished women, which often leads to poverty. These households reside in areas that frequently lack access to water and hygiene services, roads, and other public facilities. Additionally, they live in regions prone to flooding and experience overcrowded living conditions. Furthermore, they often lack land ownership titles, which hinders their motivation and ability to invest in their housing. Urban areas

exhibit unequal distribution of essential services, with certain regions better equipped to meet these basic needs than others. The government allocates approximately 18% of the GDP toward social programs; however, not all of these initiatives were specifically designed to alleviate poverty.

The majority of government spending is allocated to social insurance, which includes pensions and some unemployment benefits for formal sector workers. However, informal sector workers, who are often more disadvantaged, do not receive these benefits. While formal sector workers enjoy benefits and job security, informal sector workers lack both. Unemployment rates are highest in the informal sector, particularly among younger workers. It is important to note that poverty is not exclusive to the informal sector; it exists in both the formal and informal sectors, and individuals can transition between these sectors.

Workers in the informal sector are more at risk of losing their jobs and experiencing a decrease in salaries. They are also less protected against these occurrences compared to other groups. Societal plans that focus on education and healthcare benefit everyone, with the poor typically benefiting more than the majority. Primary education is particularly beneficial for the poor, partially due to larger family sizes. However, the cost of higher education is regressive. Public universities mainly serve non-poor students who essentially receive free education.

Government plans targeted specifically to the hapless generally work well and are effectively aimed. The main challenge lies in ensuring comprehensive coverage. Only around 25% of impoverished households receive some form of direct public assistance, such as cash or food. Nonetheless, it is believed that both public and private transportation combined are likely to decrease overall poverty by 4%, with a particular impact

on the elderly. Government programs have a tendency to follow economic cycles and are typically reduced during downturns, precisely when they are most essential.

Several authorities plans, such as lodging and labour preparation, have limited value and could be reduced or redirected. The demand for labour has shifted significantly, placing a strong emphasis on education. Although the rates of return for primary instruction are quite low (approximately 3%), returns for tertiary education are as high as 29%. Despite the potential benefits, many individuals from low-income backgrounds fail to complete secondary school and are underrepresented in higher education.

High repeat rates and dropouts are common, particularly among the unfortunate. Only 24% of those aged 18-24 from an unfortunate background have completed secondary education. The quality of education is low, especially in poorer nations, and the need to work hinders school completion. Rural areas are often overlooked in research, partly due to Argentina's urban concentration. Nevertheless, limited data indicates that rural populations, particularly in the Northwest and Northeast, face significant poverty.

Most of the individuals in this unfortunate situation are not farmers, but rather both farm and non-farm workers who often face unemployment and lack skills and education. The indigenous people residing in rural areas are particularly disadvantaged, as they live in remote areas with limited access to public services.


Firstly, there is a need for reforms and policies that promote a more rapid and employment-intensive pattern of economic growth. Secondly, improving the access of the poor to essential services would not only enhance their overall well-being, but also increase their human capital, improving productivity and enabling them to compete in an increasingly globalized economy. Thirdly, measures must be taken to

reduce the vulnerability of the poor to economic shocks and income losses. This can be achieved by enhancing safety nets to safeguard them during economic downturns and preventing them from making short-term adjustments that would have long-term negative consequences on their poverty reduction efforts.

Promoting Labor-Intensive Growth

Implementing macro-economic policies that facilitate rapid and stable economic growth without causing inflation is a crucial initial step towards significantly reducing poverty.

A changeless growing rate of 1.8% in per capita income could reduce poverty by 35% within ten years if the benefits are distributed evenly across the economy. Achieving this outcome is more likely if Argentina's labor markets operate efficiently. However, the labor market in Argentina is known for being highly regulated and inflexible, hindering adjustments to wages. Some key short-term reforms that could improve the functioning of the labor market include: eliminating centralized or sectoral collective bargaining agreements that automatically apply to all workers in a sector, even without signatures or after expiration; reducing the high cost of labor by lowering labor taxes, division payments, and transitioning to a fully-funded unemployment insurance system based on individual accounts; allowing for temporary employment that is exempt from payroll taxes, similar to the former modalidades promovidas; and expanding programs like PYMES that provide exceptions for small-scale enterprises. In the long term, a major issue remains the lack of retirement funds or unemployment insurance coverage for a significant portion of the informal sector workforce.A significant change in labor laws, aimed at reducing their current excessive level of protection, should be combined with an extension of at least basic coverage to small businesses.

Increasing Access to Service

One of the main

goals should be to improve the availability and quality of education for the underprivileged, and enhance their access to secondary and higher education. A significant issue is that children from poor households are more likely to quit school for various reasons. The impact of recent recessions in 1995 and 1999 appears to have worsened the situation, as employment rates for the poor have declined. An effective education strategy would involve: Greater investments in secondary schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods, such as through the current Plan Social Educativo; Providing cash grants to poor families on the condition that they keep their children in school, especially at the secondary level, to counteract economic incentives to drop out of school and the effects of unemployment; Implementing a system where students at public universities, who mostly come from non-poor households, contribute partially towards their education costs, and establishing a nationwide scholarship system for students from poor households.

The text suggests improving the current public university system and making further investments to increase its capacity. Additionally, it suggests enhancing efficiency in the healthcare sector to improve the quality of service for the less fortunate. Specifically, the government should prioritize healthcare spending for those without insurance by enhancing cost recovery from insured individuals and those who can afford it.

Get an explanation on any task
Get unstuck with the help of our AI assistant in seconds