Social Inequality

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All that a good government aims at, is to add no social constructs to the force of its own unavoidable consequences, and to abstain from strengthening social inequality as a means of increasing political inequalities. With that said, in this paper I will briefly address the race, class, gender debate with greater emphasis on diversity and social development policies taken up by post apartheid South Africa to redress inequality. It is imperative that we define key concepts in order to fully grasp the notion of this paper. Firstly inequality is defined as the unequal distribution of power, wealth, income and social status. But what creates structural inequalities in societies? Race, class and gender! Hence the term “social inequality”, it refers to the ways in which socially-defined categories of persons (according to characteristics such as gender, age, ‘class’ and ethnicity) are differentially positioned with regard to access to a variety of social ‘goods’, such as the labour market and other sources of income, the education and healthcare systems, and forms of political representation and participation (Web 1). Creating inclusive organisations that welcome diversity and meet needs of different social groups is termed as diversity management (Beall 1997:3).Social development policies refer to the social relations necessary for human wellbeing and the systems by which wellbeing may be promoted. Social inequality as mentioned above was created through power struggles on which colonialism, apartheid and segregation were based (Terreblanche 2002:26). We live in a country where our worth has been minimized to a social construct , where individuals identities are shaped by these factors which decide if one is a “have or have-not” and are denied the same level of access to rewards and resources as other groups. As a result many participants in the workplace experience discrimination. Discrimination in the workplace is based on the “so called differences” of workers in an organisation relating to the “evil triplets (race, class and gender) of South Africa as described by Cebekhulu in (Simon, Madimeng & Khan 2011:31). Discrimination is largely influenced by the power of one class over the other in the context of South Africa we are talking about the capitalists over the working class. In South Africa exclusion has gone beyond inter racial inequalities and now it is intra racial(within one race group) hence the development of black elites created by Black Economic Empowerment(which we will discuss in the latter part of this paper) and the poor black. This gap between the haves and the have-nots originates from the apartheid regime due to the impact of institutionalized discrimination which saw the advent of extraction of cheap labour therefore leading to the exclusion of majority of South Africa to fall under “elite class”. However companies have adopted diversity management to try mending the cracks between individuals in an organisation. Firstly what is diversity? According to Beall it is variation and modification according to wealth, race and gender issues, education and occupational level (1997:9). We understand that our differences create conflict amidst social identities therefore the need for diversity management is crucial. Diversity management assists members of an organization to embrace the fact that we are not the same therefore differences in opinions and views may arise(Web 2) therefore members are encouraged to be tolerant and accepting of others and their ways of doing things because it brings a variety of “ingredients”( interests, values, physical and emotional characteristics to the “pot” (workplace). The crux of this paper is on the social development policies which are concerned with meeting the needs of individuals by redistributing resources to the most needy, however we find that by targeting a certain “deserving group” further creates more problems. Why is this so? Because the...
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