Does Social Inequality Exist in Jamaica

Topics: Discrimination, Sociology, Social class Pages: 11 (3681 words) Published: April 15, 2010

“Social Inequality allows for the exclusion of individuals and the formation of prejudices and discrimination. Carefully analyze and discuss the validity of this statement based on current events in the Jamaican society.” Social Inequality is the existence of socially created inequalities; it occurs when ideology and power combine to make one group of people feel inferior to another. From a sociological perspective people are able to assess both opportunities and constraints that characterize their lives as it relates to age, sex, gender, race and class and based on this, many ills that the world faces today are derived from some person’s blatant disregard for differences. A prejudice is a preconceived belief toward a particular group while discrimination is a behavior (an action), with reference to unequal treatment of people because they are members of a particular group. Some theories suggest that racism is a characteristic of an abnormal minority of the population and that this abnormality is psychological. This prejudice may lead to racial discrimination. We may be familiar with this form of discrimination being more prevalent in recent times (Apartheid, Hitler vs. Jews) than now. In answering the question this report will outline the causes of social inequality and show that Social Inequality is prevalent in all societies including Jamaica.

Race & Ethnicity
Within sociology, the term ethnic, race, minority, and dominant group have very specific meanings, different from the meanings the terms have in common, their usage. These concepts are important in the development of a sociological perspective on race and ethnicity.

A race is a group of people treated as separate in society on the basis of certain characteristics, some of which may be biological, that have been assigned social importance. Because of presumed biologically or culturally inferior characteristics, a race is typically singled out for its uniqueness and unfortunately succumbs to unfair treatment. Therefore it is not biological characteristics per se that defines racial groups, but how groups have been treated historically and socially over the years. Societies assign people racial categories such as Black, White, and so on. Not by science, logic or fact, but by opinion and social experiences. In other words, how racial groups are defined is a social process. This is what is meant when we acknowledge that race is “socially constructed”. The use of biological differences to judge an individual seems some what arbitrary. For example we differentiate people based on skin color and not other characteristics such as personality traits or culture. Jamaica is made up of several races, but the majority is dark skinned. Most people interact with their own kind and do not get the opportunity to interface with others of a different race. However, for the ones who do, they may say that we are not a racist society but would more likely discriminate based on a persons’ socio-economic status. This may be true but there remains the irony that individuals with high socio-economic statuses are usually the light skinned (Caucasian, Indian, Chinese).

This refers to a social category of people who share a common culture, for example a common language or dialect; a common religion; and common norms, practices, customs and history. Ethnic groups have a consciousness of their common cultural bond. Jamaicans, Americans, Trinidadians, Japanese, Mexican Americans and so forth, are examples of ethnic groups. However ethnic groups are also found in other societies, such as Pashtuns in Afghanistan or Shiites and Sunnie in Iraq whose ethnicity is based on religious differences. An ethnic group does not exist simply because of the common national or cultural origins of the group. These groups develop because of their unique historical, cultural origins or social experiences. These experiences become the basis of the group’s...
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