A minority group is made up of people who share a
common set of cultural or physical characteristics that marks them as different from the powerful dominant group and for which they often suffer social disadvantages, because of their lack of power. As in the case of race and ethnicity, minority group membership is given by society. The most common minority groups are African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Women.
Low status jobs
In 1997 African Americans were considered 12.5% of the U.S. population and 64.7% of their race participated in the labor force. African Americans were also considered for 21.6% of all guards, 21.5% of all service occupation, cleaning, and building. Also 30.8% of all health service occupation (Macionis 1998).
A mere of 75% have graduated high school, and 38% of all African Americans have completed at least one year of college. On the other hand 84% of European Americans have graduated high school , and 51% of them complete at least one year of college.(Macionis 1998).
Less Medical Care
In 1996 there was 19% of African Americans who didn’t receive health coverage under the age of 65, while only 15% of all the European Americans had not received it as well. Over the age of 65 with members of their population 30.1% had Medicare only. The European Americans had a low of 16.9% of Medicare. (Horner 1999).
Crime infested ghettos
Almost one third of all African Americans live in crime infested ghettos three times that of European Americans. An approximate percentage of African Americans that live in ghettos in 1997 was 80%. (Robertson).
Large percent of prison population
In 1997 African Americans were considered 42% of all jail inmates. In 1998 African Americans were considered 12.5% of the U.S. population, yet they were 32.4%of those arrested.(Macionis 1998).
Low status jobs
They have been considered that 98.4% of all women are secretaries. Household and child care workers is 86.5%, and 94.3% of all private household cleaners or maids are women. (Macionis 1998).
In 1970 women had earned only 17% of a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering computer science, and natural sciences. In 1995 though, the proportion was still low but it increased to 31%. (Macionis 1998).
Unequal Pay for Equal Work
In 1998 women had earned 66% of men’s salary , working as managers, executives, administrative, working in sales, here women had earned 60% of men’s salary. (Macionis 1998).
Submitted to Excessive Physical Sexual Abuse
In a survey done in 1995, 430,000 sex assaults on women have been reported. 316,000 of those sex assaults were attempted rapes and rapes. (Macionis 1998).
Underrepresented in Political Office
It has been stated that there were only 3 women out of 50 state governors. That only 9% of all state senators were women, and 13% of all the members of the House of Representatives were women.
Low Status Jobs
In 1997 66.9% of all Hispanic Americans from the age 16 and over participated in the labor force. They were considered 20.6% fishing, farming and forestry jobs. 21.3% of all building service occupation, and cleaning.26.6% of all work in private and household occupations, and also 17.9% of all assembles, inspectors, and machine operates. (Horner 1999).
While a mere of 56% of Hispanic Americans graduated high school, and only 27% of Hispanic American males received at least one year of college education, 84%of European Americans graduated high school, and 51% of them are successful in college. (Macionis 1998).
Less Medical Care
In 1997 government or private health insurance did not cover 34.2% of Hispanic Americans under the age of 18. Only 15% of European Americans were not covered as well. (Hornor 1999).
Crime Infested Ghettos
In 1998 approximately 43.8% of all Puerto Ricans lined below the poverty level, and 80% of all Hispanic Americans lived in barrios. (Robertson 1989)
Large Percent of Prison Population
In 1997 Hispanic Americans were considered 10% of the U.S. population, yet 15.5% of all jail inmates. (Hornor).
Hispanic Americans who are confined in prison are made up of 72% of all gang members. (Hornor).
A Functionalist sees society as a whole structure made up of a number of institutions which influence an individual action through their function. Also they see a complex system whose parts work together to promote solidarity and stability. (Macionis).
Functionalists claim that stratification is beneficial to society as it helps it survive through the functions of various groups. Sociologists have compared society to an organism made up with various parts, each part with a various function which they are able to perform. This has brought the society to a level of meritocracy where one’s position in the social world is based wholly on personal merit. They go on to say that society is made up of a system of roles and rewards. Those with higher social status are those who receive greater rewards.
A Conflict sociologist sees society as a whole, which is highly stratified, and to each level of stratification is a class, which competes with another. In the American society these groups are seen as men and women , whites, blacks, and Hispanics, and upper class, middle class, and lower class.
Conflict perspectives are three classes that are divided into society. Such classes are upper class, middle class, and lower class. One factor, which significantly distinguishes these three classes with clear boundaries, is the socioeconomic status; the amount of wealth earned by each class after a period of time. The upper class attempts to keep the lower class down in order to avoid them from overpowering them in a competition for resources, but the lower class detests a third status and endeavors to move to the middle class and ultimately to the upper class.
As a result to the higher level of social stratification in our society in equality among groups arises as a painful factor, which poses many problems. Women, African Americans,and Hispanic Americans are the three main low status groups that have been proven to be subject to inequality.
There are numerous false explanations surrounding African American inequality. Few of these are: African Americans are Academically Challenged and that they are violent. European Americans perpetuate this ideology which attempts to justify in society’s they would like to retain dominance in society. They believed that educated slaves would rebel if they knew that they were created equal, and this is what happened in the past.
Many African Americans believed these explanations as they have been hearing them and brought up to believing that this was the way of nature. This allowed the self-fulfilling prophecy to be easily established.
Alike African Americans, Hispanic Americans have received numerous explanations as well, in attempts to clarify the reason for their inequality in society is that Hispanic Americans are unequal because they have a low capacity to coordinate standard English communication.
European Americans perpetuate this belief in order to minimize Hispanic American competition over resources. Minimizing competition over the resources would help them maintain their level of dominance.
Many Hispanic Americans have repeatedly heard these false explanations and so they have began to see life in the view. They allow themselves into fulfilling the prophecy to take place, as they see it as an uncontrollable variable in their lives.
Women in society have been said to be weak, sensitive, and home making, in that they are better suited in the house. False explanation gives that views of women are physically inadequate to do the job of the man.
A numerous amount of men still perpetuate this explanation as they would like to maintain their status as the head of the house. They believe that women’s equality would diminish their dominance, especially in the catholic society. Many women still believe this ideology because of the strong religious belief, ethnic or cultural backgrounds and the personal perspective.
People are not created equal, and some races are not considered with respect. As you can see if there is no inequality then there cannot be a society.
Black Americans: A Statistical Source book ; Hispanic Americans: A Statistical Source book . By Louise L. Hornor published 1999.
Society: The Basics 1998-00 by John J. Macionis
Society: A brief Introduction 1989 by Ian Robertson
Gangs In America 2nd ED. 1996 by Ronald C. Huff