The Theory And Politics Of Multiculturalism Sociology Essay Example
The Theory And Politics Of Multiculturalism Sociology Essay Example

The Theory And Politics Of Multiculturalism Sociology Essay Example

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  • Pages: 9 (2336 words)
  • Published: July 29, 2017
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The enrichment of financial stability is a vital aspect for many people, as they require monetary resources to sustain their livelihoods. Insufficient resources may lead to impoverishment, even if the needs are met within one's home country. Consequently, numerous individuals choose to seek better opportunities in other countries that can provide them with increased income and wealth. It should be noted that using terms such as "migrant" or "ethnic minority" must only be done with the approval of the receiving nation mostly found in North America and Western Europe. Despite claims of being liberal societies, inequality persists between rich and poor citizens in these affluent nations. This inequality primarily affects immigrant workers and native-born minorities who suffer from political rights limitations, along with economic disadvantages due to differences in nationality, skin color, culture, and religion compared to Caucasians - schola


rs refer to this phenomenon as a "cycle of cumulative disadvantage." This essay aims at exploring why some migrants and cultural groups excel in high-paying jobs while others are stuck in low-wage labor markets dominating lower-class enclaves in industrial capitalist states. The paper will analyze the root causes of economic disadvantage among these groups while examining policies aimed at addressing their challenges.The article is divided into five subdivisions. The first discusses the reasons why immigrants settle in Western countries and become ethnic minorities, while the second focuses on three indicators of economic inequality: unemployment, lack of suitable job opportunities, and low-income levels. In section three, sociologist Anthony Heath's concept of "ethnic punishment" is explained as a means to identify causes of economic disadvantages including human capital, social capital, and discrimination. Section four provides a case study

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on the United Kingdom (UK) to further illustrate immigration-related disadvantages. Finally, subdivision five tackles proposed laws and policies concerning immigration issues.

Throughout history, there has been a positive relationship between people from Third World countries and First World countries due to push-and-pull effects that benefit both sides since the Industrial Revolution. However, some factors perpetuate economic disadvantage for many migrants and cultural minorities today. Puglioso (1993: 515) explains that capitalist industrialized nations face a shortage of labor or high labor costs leading them to hire immigrants with lower pay but potentially higher skills to reduce costs and increase profits - this is known as the push effect. Conversely, individuals and families in immigrant-sending countries seek better lives with improved income and higher social status - this is referred to as the pull effect (Puglioso 1993:517). These trends have significantly influenced the demographic makeup of First World nations.The economic system in Western nations has undergone significant alterations due to globalization, flexible specialization, deindustrialization, and tertiarization. As a result of these changes, minority and immigrant laborers often face economic disadvantage in low-level job markets. According to Mingione (1999: 210), three crucial factors contribute to inequality for such employees that Heath (1995:10) describes as forms of "gross" disadvantage. The first critical factor is high levels of unemployment and underemployment which disproportionately affect minority workers where unemployment refers to job seekers while underemployment encompasses part-time work or being overqualified for positions(De Jong & Madamba, 2001:121). Third World labor markets are frequently impacted during economic downturns resulting in increased unemployment rates that primarily benefit the dominant group. This leads to a loss of income, status, and self-esteem for minorities who experience

distinct disadvantages as a consequence. Some critics argue that limited job opportunities and discrimination in the labor market contribute to underemployment among migrant and cultural minority groups including students or caregivers or those with disabilities who are not seeking employment. Long-term unemployment exacerbates societal divides regardless of their activity levels.Immigrants and cultural minorities often work lower skilled manual jobs, leading to occupational disparities and inequality. However, changes in industrial structures have created more non-manual employment opportunities, yet these groups remain vulnerable to job loss due to perceptions about their qualifications. They may also face less desirable job options compared to other groups. Occupational disadvantages result in individuals working in lower-level labor market sectors such as service industries or the informal economy, exacerbated by racial bias and discrimination in all employment sectors. This leads to wage differentials between white majorities and minority groups. Examining levels of unemployment, occupational advantage, and wage disparity for different cultural groups resulting from varying structural conditions and occupational mobility can measure inequality in occupational attainment. Economic disadvantages faced by migrants and cultural minorities can have differing effects on racial or cultural groups depending on individual circumstances according to Zhou (2005: 133).Heath's work reveals that certain cultural minorities and migrants experience "Ethnic Punishment", while some white cultural groups benefit from an "ethnic premium". This results in a net disadvantage for those who suffer from cultural punishment due to factors such as human capital, social capital, and discrimination. Unemployment rates, wage instability across different countries, and occupational level disparities drive this trend. In the labor market, organizations evaluate various parameters including age, gender, native language, educational qualifications, work experience, religion and race when

selecting new employees. Despite their level of expertise, immigrants and cultural minorities often face barriers to job attainment. Although higher education is believed to offer greater opportunities for better pay levels; minority groups still struggle due to biased hiring practices and discrimination regardless of their qualifications. Even highly skilled immigrant workers face difficulties performing equally compared to their native counterparts in the labor market because of prevailing inequality within the system. Therefore discriminatory policies result in unsuitable placements for individuals with ideal skill sets for certain roles.Minorities face challenges in accessing capital for professional and managerial positions or starting businesses. Third-world immigrants experience financial hardships and difficulties entering first-world job markets due to limited education and skill sets. Those with inadequate language abilities, especially in English, unequal preparation, and lower levels of education suffer from high unemployment rates, low-level occupations, and lower earnings (Berthoud, 2000:391). Some ethnic minorities rely on social capital or network to overcome structural barriers to economic survival. They build group solidarity based on community ties and shared national, religious, and cultural identities to combat discrimination and anti-immigrant movements (Zhou, 2005:137; Puglioso, 1993:521).The social norms and trust within certain networks serve as the foundation for social capital, which enhances the efficiency of minority societies (Putnam, 1993:167). This sector is commonly referred to as the "Informal economy" and consists primarily of self-employment and co-ethnic entrepreneurship (Kloosterman et al., 1998:251). Self-employment can provide an alternative for those facing marginalization in mainstream society, particularly during economic downturns when traditional industries are unable to offer suitable occupational and social opportunities to migrants and ethnic minorities. Starting their own businesses allows individuals to become less reliant on

mainstream society and can be found in private sector industries like manufacturing or even in the third sector (Puglioso, 1993:518). However, cultural and racist barriers could impede some minority groups from developing their businesses. Nonetheless, forming co-ethnic groups or "cultural economy employment" or "enclave economy" has helped some reduce such obstacles (Heath and Cheung, 2006:4). The level of interethnic relationships varies based on historical and ongoing circumstances. Informal chains or social networks have benefited some minorities while others living in strong cultural enclaves have fared better than those working with whites within smaller entities (Zhou, 2005:140).Insufficient resources to sustain a business, limited knowledge about local job opportunities and restricted space within broader society are all disadvantages resulting from a lack of social capital (Heath and Cheung, 2006:19). Similarly, "ghettoisation" is often associated with self-employment in enclaves or ghettos within the informal economy due to the absence of social capital. This can cause misunderstandings and tensions between proprietors, clients and workers from different ethnic backgrounds (Zhou, 2005:139).

Discrimination based on factors such as nationality, race, skin color, religion or cultural background causes economic inequality for minorities and migrants in the labor market in industrialized countries. Such discrimination can be direct or indirect through unequal intervention and stereotyped bias from employers towards non-native employees leading to socio-economic adversities for individual victims while also impacting multicultural society at large (Pelovangu, 2010).

As stated by McLaren (2003:915), the dominant group may react negatively towards cultural minorities due to their insecurity about losing resources and opportunities.Human capital, social networking, and discrimination all play a role in the racial and cultural inequality present within advanced economic systems. However, recent academic studies and statistics

(1) challenge the common belief that immigrants and minorities experience low labor market success in the UK. These individuals often originate from earlier colonies or Commonwealth territories (Puglioso, 1993: 520), and face government immigration policies which favor controlled non-European immigration with a limit on skilled workers from outside Europe as stated by Prime Minister David Cameron (BBC, 2011). Studies reveal that non-white employees encounter higher rates of joblessness and discrimination due to lower qualifications or unrecognized credentials, unfamiliarity with society and culture, lack of social networks (Berthoud, 2000: 405), which extends across Caribbean, African, Pakistani, Bangladeshi minority groups whose unemployment rates exceed those of white counterparts. Heath and Cheung's research in 2006 found high unemployment rates among various ethnic groups during the period between 2001-2004; Black Mixed communities experienced the highest rate at 17%, followed by Bangladeshi at 17.3%, Black Caribbean at15.1%, Black African at13.9%and Pakistaniat12.9%.The average unemployment rate for British and other Whites was only 4.8%, but it is unclear if discrimination based on skin color can explain white employers' attitudes towards job seekers as Indians and African Asians have been more successful in securing employment despite similar stereotypical characteristics as Pakistanis and Bangladeshis (Model, 1999:968). Negative stereotypes have also affected the unemployment rates of both Muslims and white Irish Catholics, with the 'chill factor' referring to the higher unemployment rates experienced by the white Irish Catholic community compared to white British Protestants (Heath and Cheung, 2006:7). Ethnic minorities are overrepresented in lower supervisory or technical roles, routine work, and blue-collar jobs which further highlights their occupational divide from British citizens who mostly hold managerial and professional positions. For instance, approximately half of the

Bangladeshi workforce is disadvantaged (Heath & Cheung, 2006:16). Despite having higher educational qualifications than equally qualified White individuals in the labor market (Heath & Cheung, 2006:19), ethnic minorities earn less while experiencing higher unemployment rates, participation in more routine work, and lower wages relative to their White British counterparts across several ethnic groups.In the UK, economic inequality can disadvantage even second-generation immigrants who were born and educated there. To address these disparities, a range of policies is necessary. However, anti-immigration policies enacted by host countries make an already challenging situation worse. According to Ogbonna (1998:35), host country governments need to fight discriminatory employer practices while immigrants and cultural minorities should improve their qualifications and employment status. The government needs to implement pre-labor and active labor market policies that prioritize vocational education and training programs for migrants and cultural minorities to achieve this goal. These initiatives aim to reduce competitive disadvantages by increasing opportunities within the labor market or "human capital outwardness." To provide better job opportunities, Heath and Cheung (2006:66) emphasize addressing the lack of knowledge about job openings in minority communities. The government should focus on providing extended learning opportunities through training strategies that acquire market-relevant skills to increase employment prospects for skilled minorities (Ogbonna, 1998:31). Members of minority groups with low levels of education can expand their employment options beyond routine or semi-routine work by gaining access to higher education through career services at schools, colleges, and universities.Minority groups may prefer self-employment to escape limitations in inferior roles. Modood (1998: 70) suggests that self-employment programs should adopt a business-like approach, provide better initial support, and develop more comprehensive business plans for greater success.

Cultural economic disadvantage may result from bias by white employers and managers. Policy interventions such as Affirmative Action in the USA or Positive Action in the UK aim to promote equal opportunities and fairness, protecting immigrants and ethnic minorities against exploitation (Kulke, 1996: 86). While evidence supporting Affirmative Action policy's effectiveness is unclear, its anti-discrimination provisions are significant for preventing exploitation. Kraal et al.(2010: 69) argue that these policies should apply to all businesses and employers. To address direct and indirect discrimination, information gathering or statistical collection may be necessary. The desired policy must produce non-discriminatory outcomes to ensure equal employment opportunities and compensation mechanisms for victims of discrimination by monitoring recruitment processes including job advertisements, job allocation, and training to promote minority group interests (Wrench, 1995:115). Collecting statistics can aid in evaluating job positions and the progress of minority and Native employees or trainees.To address biased outcomes, standard practices should be reviewed and specific training courses conducted to increase awareness, promoting fair results (Wrench, 1995:128). It is crucial for organizations to change their culture regarding bias while addressing the effects of racial bias on Native workers. Employer responsibility includes actively working towards equality through anti-discrimination policies. Improving diversity among employees is a critical step towards this goal (Kraal et al., 2010:71). Despite contemporary immigrants and cultural minorities having the opportunity to become citizens within their host countries, they still face negative attitudes and unequal treatment in the labor market. Their economic prospects are significantly worse than those of white counterparts due to higher rates of unemployment, lower occupational attainment, and reduced incomes - known as cultural penalties. These disadvantages may arise from a lack

of human capital such as inappropriate employment for highly skilled minority workers or higher rates of unemployment and lower positions for unskilled members of minority groups. Social capital barriers such as the inadequacy of informal economies, culture, and ghetto economies prevent immigrants from becoming self-employed. Additionally, ongoing discrimination in the workplace creates negative circumstances for immigrants and their communities.According to de Jong and Madamba's (2001: 127) case study on Britain's immigration and minority community policies, cultural minority groups have overcome numerous obstacles but are unlikely to achieve socio-economic rights comparable to those of white citizens due to British employers' bias against hiring based on minority group status. Although governments should establish policies suitable for immigrants to alleviate economic struggles, they must not impose discriminatory limitations or requirements towards any minority group. For these laws and policies to succeed, all legal requirements must remain unbiased towards all groups. Collaboration between governments, white employers, immigrants, and minority groups is crucial for attaining a better future in the long-term.

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