Social discrimination - Article Example

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Social discrimination can be defined as the prejudicial or unfair treatment of an individual, group or a minority section of the population based on their perceived or actual characteristics that make them belong to a particular group. Social discrimination demeans individuals…
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Social Discrimination Social Discrimination Social discrimination can be defined as the prejudicial or unfair treatment of an individual, group or a minority section of the population based on their perceived or actual characteristics that make them belong to a particular group. Social discrimination demeans individuals and treats them unfairly in a manner that can be considered worse than the usual way in which they ought to be treated. Discrimination is founded on a wide range of characteristics including age, gender, religion, disability, ethnicity or cultural background (Mingst, & Arreguín-Toft, 2011). It is one way of alienating individuals and groups to make them appear different from the majority group. Social discrimination is a major problem in international relations today since it affects communication among individuals from different backgrounds therefore acting as a barrier to globalization. International Relations as a discipline is concerned with cooperation with different countries as well as the roles of the various international organizations such as the United Nations, Intergovernmental agencies as well as Non-Governmental organizations. Social discrimination acts as a barrier to mutual coexistence of individuals from different backgrounds and creates social insecurity among the minority groups who feel discriminated against (Charlotte, 1999).
Various factors seem to promote social discrimination on the international scene today. These include stereotypes, extreme religious views, negative politics and unfair laws (Rubin, & Hewstone, 2004). Stereotypes refer to preconceived, exaggerated or oversimplified assumptions about individuals or minority groups that aim at demeaning them (Martin, 2010). Stereotypes make the cultures, traditions and religious views of other individuals look outdated and irrelevant and in some cases as the origins of conflicts. Extreme religious views and beliefs on the other hand also foster social discrimination in the sense that they completely disregard association with other individuals who hold different religious views (Gorman, 2008). Politics also has a role in promoting social discrimination in cases where politicians seem to favor the majority groups at the expense of the minority groups through allocation or resources. Unfair or unjust laws that disregard human rights act as bases for promoting social discrimination in many countries across the world. Laws such as anti-gay laws aim at promoting discrimination (Oluwafemi, 2012).
Social discrimination has a huge impact on international relations. First, it makes it difficult to promote peace and cohesiveness on the international scene. In cases where different nationalities clash on the basis of their religion, cultural views among other issues, there is likely to be a threat to international peace. Social discrimination also threatens the efforts of globalization, where societies are expected to disregard geographical boundaries and act as one. Social discrimination also makes it difficult to do business in the international market with more organizations encroaching in foreign markets. Discrimination also leads to international human rights violations as well as injuring the dignity of persons. The other major impact of social discrimination is the fact that in hinders communication across cultures as well as limiting diplomacy efforts that are aimed at promoting international cooperation (Cynthia, 2004).
There are a lot of theories international relations that are aimed at explaining social discrimination, and giving options on how to deal with it in the international realm. The labeling theory for instance considers social discrimination as a deviation from the norm where stereotypes are used to enforce social stigma against minority groups. Marxist theory of conflict explains discrimination as resulting from conflicting interests of majority and minority groups in the society (Joseph, 2004). The international society theory on the other hand seeks to eradicate social discrimination through focusing on shared values, norms and interests and disregarding differences in order to promote mutual coexistence (MacInnis, & Hodson, 2012).
Charlotte H. (1999). "Masculinities, IR and the Gender Variable: A Cost-Benefit Analysis for
(Sympathetic) Gender Sceptics." International Studies 25.3: 475-491.
Cynthia E. (2004). "Gender Is Not Enough: The Need for a Feminist Consciousness."
International Affairs 80.1: 95-97.
Gorman, L. (2008). "Discrimination". In David R. Henderson (ed.). Concise Encyclopedia of
Economics (2nd ed.). Indianapolis: Library of Economics and Liberty.
Hyde, J. S. (2005) “The Gender Similarities Hypothesis”, American Psychologist, 60(6): 581–
Joseph N. (2004).Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics, Public Affairs Ltd.
MacInnis, C. C. & Hodson, G. (2012). "Intergroup bias toward "Group X": Evidence of
prejudice, dehumanization, avoidance, and discrimination against asexuals". Group
Processes Intergroup Relations15 (6): 725–743.
Martin J. R. (2010).Fundamental Principles of International Relations. Westview Press.
Mingst, K. A., & Arreguín-Toft, I. M. (2011). Essentials of International Relations (5th ed.).
New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Oluwafemi N. M. (2012). "Globalization: The Politics of Global Economic Relations and
International Business." Durham: North Carolina Academic Press.
Rubin, M., & Hewstone, M. (2004). Social identity, system justification, and social dominance:
Commentary on Reicher, Jost et al., and Sidanius et al. Political Psychology, 25, 823-
844. Read More
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