Prejudice and Discrimination
The culture of South Africa is known for its ethnic and cultural diversity. The South African black majority still has a substantial number of rural populations who lead largely impoverished lives. It is among these people, however, that cultural traditions survive most strongly. African Americans are increasingly taking on urban characteristics and have been influenced with ideas; the aspects of traditional culture have declined. Urban blacks usually speak English or Afrikaans in addition to their native tongue. Indian South Africans preserve their cultural heritage, languages and religious beliefs, being either Christian, Hindu or Muslim and speaking English, with Indian languages like Hindi, Telugu, Tamil or Gujarati being spoken less frequently as second languages. There is a much smaller Chinese South African community, made up of early immigrants, apartheid-era immigrants from Taiwan, and post-apartheid immigrants from mainland China. In general, all racial and ethnic groups in South Africa have long-standing beliefs concerning gender roles, and most are based on the premise that women are less important, or less deserving of power, than men. Most African traditional social organizations are male centered and male dominated. Even in the 1990s, in some rural areas of South Africa, for example, wives walk a few paces behind their husbands in keeping with traditional practices. A minority of ultra-conservative Afrikaners’ religious beliefs, too, includes a strong emphasis on the theoretically biblically based notion that women's contributions to society should normally be approved by, or be on behalf of, men. English speaking whites tend to be the most liberal group, including on issues pertaining to gender roles. In the 20th century, economic and political developments presented South African women with both new obstacles and new opportunities to wield influence. For example, labor force requirements in cities and mining areas have often drawn men away from their homes for months at a time, and, as a result, women have borne many traditionally male responsibilities in the village and home. Women have had to guarantee the day-to-day survival of their families and to carry out financial and legal transactions that otherwise would have been reserved for men (material "Culture of South Africa", 2013). Race and ethnicity are terms used to categorize populations on the basis of shared characteristics. The differentiation between race and ethnicity is an ethnic group is a social category of people who share a common culture, such as a common language, a common religion, or common norms, customs, practices, and history. Ethnic groups have a consciousness of their common cultural bond. An ethnic group does not exist simply because of the common national or cultural origins of the group, however. They develop because of their unique historical and social experiences, which become the basis for the group’s ethnic identity. A race is a group that is treated as distinct in society based on certain characteristics. Because of their biological or cultural characteristics, which are labeled as inferior by powerful groups in society, a race is often singled out for differential and unfair treatment. It is not the biological characteristics that define racial groups, but how groups have been treated historically and socially. Society assigns people to racial categories (White, Black, etc.) not because of science or fact, but because of opinion and social experience. In other words, how racial groups are defined is a social process; it is socially constructed. The assumption that race reflects only biological distinctions is inaccurate. Categories based on race account for only 3–7% of total human genetic diversity, are not reliably measured, and are not always biologically meaningful. Furthermore, both race and ethnicity are constantly evolving concepts, making the task of comparing groups or following the...
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