Soc 120 - Introduction to Sociology
Social Inequality and Minorities in the United States
Before the United States was called the United States there were people that would be considered minorities here. In the late fifteenth century when the Europeans arrived here there were millions of people to be considered a “minority”. Being a minority in the United States brings many uphill battles for many different types of people. In the United States being a minority and achieving social inequality is just as easy as not being a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASPs) (Macionis, 2006).
A minority is any category of people distinguished by physical or cultural difference that a society sets apart and subordinates (Macionis, 2006). It can be based on race, ethnicity, or both (Macionis, 2006). There are two important characteristics of a minority: The first thing is that they share a distinct identity, which may be based on physical or cultural traits and the second is that Minorities experience subordination (Macionis, 2006). Minorities in the United States typically have a lower income, lower occupational prestige, and limited schooling (Macionis, 2006). Do not think that being a minority is always a disadvantage though, there are some members of minority groups who do much better than others, but even though they do pretty well they cannot escape the classification of being a minority. Native American Suppression
The Native American group refers to the hundreds of societies who first settled the Western Hemisphere including but not limited to the Aleuts, Cherokee, Zuni, Sioux, Mohawk, Aztec, and Inca (Macionis, 2006). White Americans had seen the Natives as savages and godless and therefore beneath them. Land was taken by was of “Manifest Destiny” or Gods will to usurp land and power. The Native Americans numbered in the millions when the first Europeans arrived here, but by the twentieth century they numbered only a quarter million. This population decrease was caused by the unequal rights of Native Americans versus the rights of the WASPs. The WASPs didn’t inhabit the United States first, but they did become the dominant group once English settlement began (Macionis, 2006). Even before the WASPs the Native American population was being killed and their land was being taken from them. The Native Americans were being killed off by a process called genocide. Genocide is the systematic killing of all people from a national, ethnic or religious group, or an attempt to do this. In the majority of people’s minds these days genocide is a barbaric act that would surely bring war, much like Nazi Germany’s starting of World War Two. Many countries went to war against Nazi Germany because of it committing large-scale crimes against humanity, such as the mass-murder and persecution of the Jewish community in what is now known as the Holocaust. Still though, we as a society did this from the very beginnings of this wonderful country we call the United States. In Kosovo, the world community charged into war on the very threat of genocide then termed “ethnic cleansing”. This is a far cry from the non-involvement mentality of the 1930’s. Native Americans are still around today, but the calm after the storm is here for them and they either stay on the land that has been reserved for them or they venture out into the American society to live. African Americans
The next group in United States history to be considered a minority is the African Americans. Although Africans were with Spanish explorers when they came to the New World in the fifteenth century, history marks the beginnings of African Americans in 1619 (Macionis, 2006). This was the year that a Dutch trading ship brought twenty Africans to Jamestown, Virginia. Victims of their own village leadership’s greed, they were sold as property by their own people to the white traders....