Ethnicity Research Paper Samples
Cultural Diversity occurs in a wide perspective, which can be studied and analyzed to enhance one’s understanding of a society’s cultural structural arrangement (Schmidt, 2006). The various perspectives of Cultural diversity are inclusive of; race, ethnicity, gender, social class et cetera. The United States is one of the countries characterized by an ethnically diverse population such as: White Americans, Hispanic, Latinos, and Black-Americans among other ethnic groups. In the perspective of Harris (2001), the corpus of ethnicity entails belonging to a socially defined category or group of people. This research will focus on ethnicity as an aspect of cultural diversity. It will explore the African-American/ Black-Americans as an ethnic group in the United States, political, economical and historical issues associated with them. Additionally, this research will attempt to highlight and explicate relevant legal aspects and programs that have denied or improved their access to support and care. Basically, an ethnic group entails a group of people that share certain common characteristics such as; national experience, ancestral origins and in some cases, cultural perspectives.
Socially, there have been debates and discussions concerning the difference between African living in the United States and African-American (Schmidt, 2006). These discussions have propagated confusion, with many people providing unique perspectives in relation to the difference between African-Americans. However, the most obvious difference between African-Americans and Africans living in the United States is the a significant number of African-Americans were taken to the United States during the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Era while majority of Africans living in the United States have voluntary moved to the United States to seek better living conditions and have traceable family lineage in Africa.
Being an ethnic minority in the United States, research has indicated that the African-American community is faced with similar economic challenges compared to other minority groups such as Hispanic-Latinos, Asian-Americans as well as Chinese-Americans. Moreover, the economic gap between African-Americans and White Americans has been considered relatively wide characterized by worse economic challenges during economic recessions for African-Americans compared to the White-Americans.
According to Chao & Otsuki‐Clutter (2011), African-Americans have been completely immersed in the Western Culture and apply it to guide the manner through, which they interact with other facets of the society. However, they are usually associated with certain unique cultures, mainly exhibited in their dressing styles and style of music. The most popular aspect of their cultural identify is their association with the Hip Hop Culture, a style of music that is also associated with a unique style of dressing. On the other hand, Africans living in the United States, specifically those that voluntary migrated to the United States to seek better living conditions have adopted the western culture partially, while attempting to continue with their African-traditional cultures in the United States. In addition, this group usually has a close relationship with their African-relatives compared to the African-American group, whose ancestral connections in African cannot be traced.
Theories of Developmental Models of Ethnicity
There are various theoretical perspectives that can be used to explain the process of developing ethnic identity as well as other issues ascribed to ethnic identity. One of these theories is the Phinney’s Model of Ethnic identity. According to Jean Phinney, the process of associating one’s self with an ethnic community or accepting to be identified with a specific ethnic community involves three fundamental stages. In her assertion, Phinney posits that the first stage is characterized by lack of exploration in that individuals at this stage show little or no interest in trying to identify themselves with a certain ethnicity. In the second, stage, referred as moratorium, individuals begins to engage themselves in exploration and encounter. Their efforts in this stage are mainly directed towards attempting to identify themselves with a certain ethnicity. However, Phinney claims that moratorium process is majorly initiated by indirect or harsh events and activities i.e. being called certain names associated with a certain ethnicity such as ‘nigga’. The last stage in Phinney’s model is the Achievement of Ethnic Identity, in this stage, individuals are fully aware of the ethnicity they are associated with i.e. African-Americans (Gaines et al, 2010). Phinney’s ethic developmental model portrays a typical scenario in the United States, where children at age 4 years to 10 years tend to show little or no concern on their ethnic identities, only to begin exploring their ethnic identities during adolescent period especially when they begin facing certain harsh realities i.e. being associated with certain cultures or being called names that are mainly used to refer to a particular ethnicity.
There is also the theory of social identity, which was pioneered and developed by Henri Tajfel; he posits that social identity is a person’s recognition or sense of their being and who they are. The basis of this identity emerges from group membership or a specific social category of which an individual belongs (Kidd, 2002). This theory can be used to explain ethnicity in the United States, where many people identify themselves with certain ethnic groups i.e. A black person will identify himself as an African-American, while a white person will refer to himself/herself as an American-White or White-American. Social identity has also played a major role within public administration where certain resources are allocated to the public on the basis of their ethnicity as well as economic status (Carrizales & Gaynor, 2013).
Laws, Resources and Programs that enhanced Access or Denied Access and Support among African-Americans
Allocation of resources in the United States is guided by certain policies, rules and regulations that have enhanced their accessibility among the United States populace. On the other hand, some of these laws have led to restrictions in the manner through, which some of these resources can be accessed by certain ethnic groups i.e. African-American or Asian-Americans. There are also certain programs and initiatives that have been implemented to enhance resource and support accessibility among minority groups, African-American inclusive.
The Health and Human Services Action Plan 2011
This is an Action Plan that was implemented by the United States Department of Human Services in 2011. It was developed after determining that despite the fact that technology and medical advancement provided the American population with quality medical services, health disparities between different racial and ethnic groups is still a major problem. The U.S Department of Health and Human Services acknowledged that these disparities affect equity and equality in regard to health service provision. Taking these factors into consideration, the HHS Action Plan was formulated with a major focus to reduce the identified disparities to ensure that accessibility of quality and efficient health services are available to the United States populace, regardless of their ethnicity and racial affiliations. This is an action plan that has not only benefited other majority and minority communities, but also the African-American minority.
The Affordable Care Act 2010
Health is an important aspect in any nation, the Affordable Care Act of 2010 is one of the policies that have been implemented to benefit the American Population as a whole. However, economists and socialists have asserted that this Act seems to benefit the minority groups more compared to the manner at, which it benefits the White Majority (Greenworld, 2012). The minority groups in the case include African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Asian-Americans among other minority groups. The assertion that this law is more beneficial to minority groups is based on the purposes on which it was formulated and implemented. To begin with, the Affordable Care Act was meant to enhance the quality of healthcare service provision as well as its affordability, by lowering the costs of insurance rates. Lowering insurance rates through this act was to be achieved by expansion of private and public insurance coverage, while reducing costs of healthcare services for government and the entire United States population. Taking into consideration the fact that the African-American groups is rated among the worst economically performing minority groups in the United States, affordability of healthcare services is one of their major challenges. This means that the Affordable Care Act increases their chance to access high quality and efficient healthcare services in the United States.
“Stand Your Ground” Law
Societal stereotypes and prejudices have affected various minority groups in the United States; African-American is one of the minority groups that have been affected by social stereotypes as well as prejudices that affect legal structures and the judicial system (Carrizales, & Gaynor, 2013). These stereotypes have led to instances of discrimination, especially in issues ascribed to legal decision making. In most cases, a black person suspected to be guilty of a crime tends to be discriminated and subjected to brutal physical harassments from the White majority group. Additionally, a significant number of African-American live in areas that are prone to violent criminal activities, thus are susceptible to violent criminal acts. In this regard, most states are currently implementing the “Stand Your Ground” law, which gives authority to a person to apply self-defense when faced with a threat or in the event that they suspect they might be faced with a violent threat. This law is expected to boost security. In addition, taking into consideration that African-Americans and perceived as violent people and tend to be subject to violence from other ethnic groups, this law enhances their security by giving them the authority to defend themselves when wrongly accused.
The “Stand Your Ground Law” is also pertinent for a majority of African-American communities living in estates characterized by high level of violent criminal activities. The law ensures that they apply self-defense mechanisms when faced with imminent violent threats and attacks.
How Ethnicity and other Aspects of Diversity can lead to Certain Issues and Needs
Taking a case of a middle-aged African-American man walking the streets of a neighborhood that is dominated by the majority White-American ethnic community at night, a variety of issue might emerge. To begin with, there is a rate of stereotype among the White-Americans, associating middle-aged African American men with gang violence and other criminal activities. This stereotype may lead to a number of issues; the first issue is a high rate of suspicion directed towards the man walking alone in the streets at night: Suspicion that he could be a thug, thief or a robber. This might lead to immediate alert to the local police, whom out of this stereotype may decide to detain the man for further interrogation. The other issue that may arise in this case is harassment by a group of White-Americans, suspicious that the man could be a gangster and is out to rob them, in worst case scenarios, the man may be shot without any proof associating him with gang activities.
In the case of s single middle-aged African-American man seeking a white woman to marry, could lead to various issues. This issues, as aforementioned are majorly based on social stereotypes that are majorly directed towards African-American men. The first stereotype is that they are known for impregnating women and failing to support their children, therefore a significant number of White parents might reject their bids or proposals to marry their daughters. On the other hand, African-American men are generally perceived as violent and usually resort to violence in case of any domestic disagreements between them and their partners. This might affect the decisions White parents or judicial systems make in case violence erupts between an African-American man married to a white woman.
Resources Available for an Ethnic Minority seeking Services
My area is South East Kansas, in this region; various institutions have set up programs geared towards improving the well-being of minority communities. The first resource is the Kansas Ethnic Minority Scholarship Program; this program is supported by the Kansas State Government which provides support in form of financial award to any ethnic minority scholar, especially those who have shown exemplary performance in their academic work. The Kansas State government defines an ethnic minority as any person who is a: African-American, Alaskan-Native, Asian-American et cetera. This program can be explored by seeking support from the Kansas state government by a minority group i.e. African-American interested in furthering his/her education, but does not have any financial support. These scholarship programs are also offered by certain learning institutions such as the University of Kansas Medical center that offers up to $1, 850 for ethnic minority to support their education, based on their needs.
Apart from the Kansas Ethnic Minority Scholarship Programs, there is also Federal and State of Kansas Financial Aid Programs; this program is not only offered to support educational programs, but also to provide financial support to needy ethnic minority students within Kansas. The programs also support college students as well as those that are undertaking their research i.e. thesis and dissertations. This program plays a significant role in supporting ethnic minorities, African-Americans inclusive and can be used as a source of support for educational purposes.
Personal Characteristics and Ethnicity
Personally, I possess a high sense of appreciation to the existence of diverse of ethnic communities. I have to acknowledge that this personal characteristic has enhanced my interactions, not only with ethnic African-Americans, but also other ethnic minority groups such as Hispanic-Americans, Mexican Americans among other ethnic groups. On the other hand, my capacity to appreciate and live with other ethnic communities has improved my understanding of the issues associated with certain ethnic communities in South East Kansas and other parts of the United States. However, I must admit that in some cases, my perspectives towards life at some point tend to conflict with the perspectives of my age-mates especially, those from other ethnic minorities. This is mainly as a result of the different cultural perspectives existing between me and other communities.
As a young White female, living in Kansas, I have to admit that my parents have certain stereotypes usually associated with other ethnic groups i.e. African-American men are not hardworking et cetera. This is a normal perception among most adult White in South East Kansas. According to Harris 2001, ethnicity is an aspect of social identity; however, instances of prejudices’ may occur towards certain ethnic groups.
In conclusion, it is apparent that that there are various historical, social, economic and political facets that affect ethnicity as an aspect of diversity. Additionally, ethnicity is an aspect of social identity and is usually associated with stereotypes that affect decision making processes. Ethnic diversity is an important aspect of any society, it is crucial that concerned stakeholders i.e. governments promote a culture of appreciating each other’s diversity, thus promoting social cohesion (Armony, 2014).
Armony, V. (2014). Latin American Communities in Canada: Trends in Diversity and Integration. American Ethnic Studies, 46(3), 7-34.
Carrizales, T., & Gaynor, T. S. (2013). Diversity in Public Administration Research: A Review of Journal Publications. Public Administration Quarterly, 37(3), 306-330.
Chao, R. K., & Otsuki‐Clutter, M. (2011). Racial and ethnic differences: Sociocultural and contextual explanations. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 21(1), 47-60.
Gaines Jr, S. O. et al. (2010). Evaluating the psychometric properties of the Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure (MEIM) within the United States. Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research, 10(1), 1-19.
Greenwald, R. A. (2012). Exploring America's past: A reader in social, political, and cultural history, 1865-present. Lanham, Md: University Press of America.
Harris, H. (2001). The perceived influence of culture and ethnicity on the communicative dynamics of the United Nations Secretariat. Business Communication Quarterly, 64(2), 105-13.
Kidd, W. (2002). Culture and identity. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
Schmidt, J. (2006). Social and cultural foundations of counseling and human services multiple influences on self-concept development. Boston: Pearson Learning Solutions
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