MINORITIES AND GHETTOISATION: COMMUNITY PERCEPTION, COPING MECHANISM AND EVERYDAY STRUGGLE
Minorities constitute religious minorities, racial minorities; sexual minorities so on and so forth. With the passage of time, the meaning of the term “minority” has undergone a change. In the past, the minority of mere number was rather the privileged class with full control over resources possessing material advantages and means of power against which the majority needed protection.
There is no authoritative definition of a minority, at times it has been identified as a community with a separate tradition, culture and history and sometimes being presented as a “numerical inferior” group in the total population of the country. According to the general definition of a minority given in the dictionary, a minority is considered to be a group differing especially in terms of race, religion, ethnic background from the majority population.
In a world where there are numerous races, cultures, traditions, religions etc. conflict is inevitable which often leads to discrimination and marginalization of the minority groups. However, Prof. Imtiaz Ahmed rightly argues that “minorities are not based on religious difference alone. They are based on social disadvantage and deprivation.” The word “ghettoisation” refers to the process whereby people belonging to minority groups are made to live in particular areas of cities and towns due to factors relating to their religious, ethnic or racial background.
Since the 1870s the Jews had been the object of a new wave of “demonization” and conspiracy theories. On the whole this wasn't taken too seriously in Germany, but in Austria anti-Jewish conspiracy theories were spread by extreme right-wing politicians and also by the Roman Catholic Church, which knew perfectly well that these theories were rubbish
In the 1930’s there was a lot of anti- Jewish feeling and resentment in the western world especially in Germany where Hitler gained power and started hatred propaganda against the Jews considering them to be of inferior race and fit to be eliminated from the face of the earth. On account of his theory, millions of innocent Jews were killed in the Holocaust. Hitler blatantly accused them of being responsible for Germany’s economic problems and the Treaty of Versailles. Anti Semitism has been rife throughout European history, largely because the Jews were a distinct, identifiable group, who refused to integrate.
Here is an example of Hitler's anti-Semitic racism from a speech given in Munich in July 1922: "His is no master people; he is an exploiter: the Jews are a people of robbers. He has never founded any civilization, though he has destroyed civilizations by the hundred...everything he has stolen. Foreign people, foreign workmen build him his temples, it is foreigners who create and work for him, it is foreigners who shed their blood for him."
Similar racial minorities were being created on the other side of the Atlantic by the European settlers in the new world rapidly acquiring domination against the natives of the country. The so called ‘Red Indian’ was hunted out of the pale civilization as unwelcomed and unwanted. The Negro, though wanted for labour was despised as a slave (considered inferior to the Whites) and therefore could not be admitted to any of the rights of citizenship.
The Negroes were brought to America as slaves and have remained so for hundreds of years without any status as citizens even when any of them were freed. The problem of the Negro still remains unsolved, even in the country calling itself the most civilized and liberty loving or God’s own country upon earth.
The Red Indians were the original inhabitants of the country, who had been extruded from their native soil taken possession of by force by the foreign invaders for their own use. The conquerors became...
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