Ethnicity And Employment Opportunity Of Iranians And Chechens Research Proposal Examples
The general topic for this essay is about the effects of being an ethnic minority on employment opportunities. It is generally understood that ethnic minorities have lesser job opportunities as compared to the majority population. In multi-racial societies, ethnicity has been observed to be a crucial factor for being hired. Studies have shown that social mobility or the ability to raise an individual’s social status is quite difficult to attain when one belong to an ethnic minority primarily because of discriminatory issues that prevail in multiracial societies. For minorities, education does not guarantee employment success. This predicament was observed even in Britain wherein several minorities also exists. As observed by researchers, “It's clear that ethnic minorities in Britain are – in many cases – outperforming their white peers in both secondary and higher education. However, very few of these gains in education have translated into employment outcomes”.
This paper would like to discuss how ethnicity affects job opportunity with Iranians and Chechens in focus. It is believed that the negative stereotyping of these specific minority groups has become an enormous barrier for their employment opportunities especially in the U.S. In the case of Iranians and Chechens, discrimination goes deeper than being an ethnic minority. In the United States, for example, Iranians or people who have Middle Eastern origins are discriminated upon for being ‘Arabs’, a name almost synonymous to being called terrorist. Chechens are experiencing a similar predicament as they share something in common with Iranians and Arabs because of their prevalent Muslim religion and the terror activities associated with Chechen militants. As observed in a research conducted in 2003 by PEW, “45 percent of Americans believed that Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence among its believers,” making Islam the religion that is most feared and discriminated against in the U.S..
Scholars admit that the relationship between ethnicity and employment has been under researched. As observed by Vesterberg, among the common themes that are studied are relationships between employability and education; employability and age; employability and skills; and other relationships that are somehow directly related with employability. Unfortunately, few studies have been devoted to employability and ethnicity; so much more on Iranians and Chechens in particular. However, this paper attempts to explain the relationship between employability and ethnicity from several theoretical frameworks that have been established in the field of sociology. It is generally accepted that racial discrimination is still prevalent in modern society. In fact, in a study conducted by Bertrand and Mullainathan, it was found that resumes with white-sounding names are getting a lot more call backs and invitations for interview than resume’s whose names are of colored or ethnic sounding. While racial discrimination can be a convincing explanation for disparities in employability between ethnic groups, it does not explain why people or the majority, in particular, tend to discriminate. Among the major theories offered by sociology to explain the relationship between employability and ethnicity are the social stratification theory, which states that socially desirable resources are distributed unequally among several social groups and the Marxist theory of racism and racial inequality, which states that “racism serves the interests of the capitalist or employer class” by reducing the potential unity of colored workers, which also reduces their bargaining power. The problem with social stratification theory though is that it focuses more on the economic disparities in society than the ethnic factor. On the other hand the focus of Marx’s theory of racism and racial inequality is on the struggle between employers and employees as they try to outdo each other in the labor market. Although these theoretical frameworks have their merits, in the context of understanding the employability status of Iranians and Chechens, the Group-position theory offers a more plausible explanation. The Group-position theory suggests that negative feelings towards a particular ethnic group is an indication of a struggle for control, power and status prevalent in a multi-racial society. According to this theory, conflict occurs because the majority population is afraid that they would lose their resources, privileges and status quo to competing racial groups. For the same reason, they impose barriers on other ethnic groups in order to deprive them of their needs or wants, which, in this case, is the need for employment. On the other hand, minority groups, such as the Iranians and Chechens in this context, believe that their groups’ interests will be enhanced by challenging the existing racial order.
Ethnicity and Employment Opportunity of Iranians:
Few studies have been dedicated to determine the actual experience of Iranians as a distinct minority group in the U.S. However, it is quite apparent that most Iranians are experiencing intense discrimination, which adversely affects their employment opportunities in the U.S. because of their ethnicity. American attitude towards Iranians reflect in their immigration preferences. Research has shown that Americans tend to favor some race from another. As observed by Moore, “the American public has favored the Irish, Polish, Chinese and Koreans as immigrants to the United States, while Mexicans and Vietnamese rank somewhat less favorably, and Iranians, Haitans and Cubans are viewed negatively”. Based on this observation, it is only logical to think that Iranians are not getting equal opportunities as what other immigrants are getting in the U.S. According to studies, this discriminative stance can be traced back to Iran’s troubled relationship with the United States. Iran, for example, have been in conflict with the United States for several instances; the most notable of which is the hostage crisis after the American embassy in Iran was ransacked in 1979. This troubled relationship somehow translated on how Iranians and Americans view each other and got even worse after the 9/11 terrorist attack. According to researchers, Americans view Iranians with skepticism and have very low opinion regarding Iranians. When asked what comes to mind when the name ‘Iran’ is mentioned, most cites hostage, anger, hatred, turmoil and troublesome country as the common American perception. With this prevalent negative stereotyping of Iranians, their chances of being employed have been severely affected.
Ethnicity and Employment Opportunity of Chechens:
Most Americans were unaware of Chechnya and Chechens until they come to the spotlight after the Boston bombing. Believed to have been committed by brothers who have been immigrants from war-ravaged Chechnya, the Boston bombing is one of the most serious terror attack on America since 9/11. If not for this incident, Chechens could have easily passed as Whites in a color conscious society such as the U.S. Unfortunately, the increasing connection of Islamic militants from Chechnya to known terror groups has placed Chechen minorities under scrutiny and skepticism. Just like Iran, majority of Chechnya’s population are Muslims and being a Muslim have negative connotation in Western societies. According to Moore, most Americans feel a deep social anxiety towards Islam, which she referred to as ‘Islamophobia,’.
Ethnic minorities struggle for recognition and status but they are further deterred by barriers such as lack of government support and social discrimination. For the same reason, employment opportunities are observed to be limited and scarce for ethnic minorities as explained by theories of social stratification, Marxist theory of racism and racial inequality and the group-position theory. Being ethnic minorities, Iranians and Chechens could not avoid discrimination that could adversely affect their employability. Furthermore, they are stereotyped as trouble makers and potential terrorists, and have been tagged with ‘Islamophobia’ or the fear of Islam that is prevalent in Western societies. Apparently, these negative perceptions severely affect their employability and have become an unseen but recognizable barrier to employment opportunities. It is also worth noting that literature has very little to offer with regards to the status of Iranian and Chechens in terms of employability. It is therefore recommended that further studies should be made on this topic if Iranian and Chechen employment focus is desired.
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