Racial Ethics Essay Samples
Social issues are considered to be similar in different communities and culture, yet they are looked at in a different perspective. The same issues of segregating and discrimination experienced in United States are also experienced in other parts of the world, however, due t changes in the environment and different cultural believes, they are expressed in different ways and forms. In this paper, we shall be looking at the issues of racial segregation with a special feature in the country of India. Comparisons will be made on how United States looks at the issue of racial segregation basing on its sociological strata with that of India. At the end of the paper, we shall realize that discrimination is a term that is not just defined in terms of skin color and biological background, but also through the issues of culture and economic status.
India is one of the biggest countries of the world with a large population. Beneath the size of the continent lies a rich culture that is composed of diversified communities. The country is majorly divided into tow parts, the north and the south with Hinduism being the main religion. Hindu is also the main language of communication though there are many other ethnic languages. In India, religion is the central aspect that defines the social and economic life of the people. Despite the availability of many other religions in India, most people are defined by the cultural beliefs of Hinduism (Silverberg, 1968). Even those who profess to belong to other religious sects cannot avoid or escape the cultural influences of the Hindu religion. The belief systems of the Hindu community are different from that of the United States where skin color and economic status defines the cultural beliefs. The Hindu community has a serious sociological strategy that defines people which is defined by their caste. A caste is a social group that naturally and biologically determines the value of a certain individual.
In as much as Americans are defined by their skin color and cultural background which in a way defines their economic status, Indians have a caste system that will shape the kind of life they live in. just like race and cultural background that is permanent in the American community, the issue of caste is determined biological background of the individual. There is nothing that can be done to alter of even change the caste of a person and therefore have to accept and appreciate what nature gives unto them. The caste system has become a natural way through which Indians are discriminated from accessing certain facilities or even living certain kind of lives. Each caste has a defined way of social life that includes their economic and social rank in the society. Irrespective of the kind of life they adopt or desire, they can never change from what has been defined by their caste (Beeghley, 2004). There are different ways through which the caste systems are divided which helps in striking a balance in the environment and yet denying some hard working fellows an opportunity to grow.
The issue of the caste system has become so deep that even a person who has not been born in such a cultural community can tell its definitions. For instance, there is a business class that can be distinguished by certain names; there is also the professional class of doctors that bear a particular surname. The list goes on even as children are molded to become, not what they want, but what their caste system requires for them. The caste system is a deep rooted cultural practice among the Indians that despite calls to scrape it, it remains and important defining feature among the Indians. The discriminative feature of the caste are mostly realized when a person from a lower caste is denied an opportunity to pursue their dreams, simply because their caste system has different requirements from them. Irrespective of how learned or hard work that a person from a lower caste puts in, they may never get employment in a career of their choice as the same is reserved for certain people.
The positive aspect of the discriminative aspect of the caste system is in helping to create balance through specialization. Despite the large population of the Indian community, there is less competition in terms of job opportunities and the distribution of basic resources. Compared to the American society where there environment is flooded with people of different professions fighting for certain opportunities, the discriminate aspect in the Indian society minimizes on such competition. For instance, there is a certain caste that is stereotyped with business. Their line of specialization is engaging in bigger business enterprises and will hence acquire skills that will enable them perfect in that area (Berreman, 1960). People born in this caste will marry and get married to people with similar aspirations and mentor their children to take after them or establish bigger business enterprises. The same also applies to farmers, who will never think of changing their economic lifestyles to another line. Farmers know that they were born farmers; they will therefore live as farmers and give birth to famers.
With such prior knowledge, the Indian society is saved from the crisis of resources due to people preferring a certain lifestyle and neglecting another that is equally important. The Indian community will therefore have enough doctors to take care of their patients, enough farmers to feed the nation, enough traders to supply their needs and enough causal workers to work for them. This has been culturally designed to make everybody to be satisfied in their line of business and lifestyle without the feelings of jealousy and dissatisfaction. To ensure perfection and content for everyone, the caste system also offers eternal promises to those who are diligent in their service. For instance, those in their lower class are promised to join a higher caste after their death when they are reborn. On the other hand, those in the higher caste who become arrogant in their profession will be born in a lower caste (Ogbu, 1978). Such religious promises that are included in their belief systems makes them more diligent and hard working in their lines of duty.
In United States, certain races and backgrounds are stereotyped which hinders them from accessing certain resources. For instance, African Americans and native Indians are stereotyped with poverty. The cultural background of African Americans make them to be undermined by the whites with the notion that they are desperate slaves who have to take in what they are given whether they like it or not. Native Indians are considered primitive and less knowledgeable. Irrespective of how such communities work to disapprove the society and prove their capabilities, their efforts are ignored and treated according to how the bigger society believes. This also works negatively for such communities, who give up on working harder, wit the belief that their lifestyles have been predetermines by their cultural backgrounds. The difference of the discriminative nature of race in United States and that of India is on the ability of an individual to change the beliefs. In India, an individual can do nothing about the stereotype, unless they get an opportunity to migrate from their land while in United States, an individual, irrespective of their race can live a credible life through hard work and perseverance.
The similarities in the discriminative culture of United States and India are that it is predetermined by birth. A person born in a lower caste can do nothing to change it, the same to a person who has been born of a black race in United States. There is also the aspect of hard work that may do little in changing the attitude that the society has towards such a community. The knowledge if their biological background makes them to be put in a certain category irrespective of the exemplary efforts they show. Even when a black man becomes the president of United States, it will not change his skin color, he will still be referred to a black American with a history of slavery (Sagar, 1975). One of the defensive features that have to be adopted by people from such social groups is to accept that there is little they can do to change other people’s perspectives towards them. They hence need to live a life that will improve them and give hope to their future generation, rather than feel sorry for being born in such a group.
The Indian caste system has been condemned by various people, yet it has been accepted and appreciated by the Indians. There have been minimal cases of people or movements that are aimed it compelling the government to revise the cultural beliefs of the caste system and give each Indian an equal opportunity to excel. The caste system does not discriminate on the level of education that a person can go, but only on the duties and responsibilities they can take up in the society. The cultural believes of the Indians have become a central system through which its politics and economy run. Its acceptance is not just because of culture but the positive impact it has on the economy. This is contrary to the American society that is filled with court cases, human rights movements and other initiatives that will ensure that people are treated the same way, irrespective of their cultural or racial background. There is hope in the American society for a shift on how people from different races and cultural background will be treated and hence enhancing equality. The only hope that is there for those in the Indian society is their life after death where they can be reborn into more prestigious caste systems.
There is a sense of respect among both communities on how they handle each other despite their biological backgrounds. The stereotypes held against them may be permanent, yet there is a group of people in the privileged groups who show respect for those in the less privileged groups. For instance, the discrimination of blacks because of their race may be synonymous with the white community, yet there are a group of white people who hold the blacks in high esteem. This group of people does not judge them by their skin color but respect them for the value they add in the community. Such people have refused to think like the majority and appreciated the fact that people of other races have unique capabilities that they can learn from. Looking at a similar treatment in the Indian community, we realize that despite the stereotype, the people do not disrespect those in the lower castes (Coleman, Rainwater & McClelland, 1979). They in fact accept it as a nature they acquired through birth and not what they acquired because they failed to work hard.
Within the stereotypes, the people enjoy a good working relationship where they desire to benefit from each other. This is more especially in the Indian culture where by the higher caste will not haul any form of abuse to the lower caste but ensure they are well taken care of. In fact, being in the lower caste attracts some form of sympathy from the community which comes in to offer support. For instance, in India, people of the lower caste are given subsidies on goods and hence making life easier for them. They acquire their goods and services at a much lesser price compared to those in upper castes. The government has come up with rules and policies that protect the welfare of those in the lower caste, which is also a means through which they are shown love and respect. The kind of treatment that the people of different castes receive in India shows the general acceptability and respect they have for each other. This therefore makes them not feel less of human beings but simply appreciate the fact that they were born in a particular social group.
In United States, the stereotyping is rampart but not reflected on how the government treats the different social group. This could be the main reason why the country is filled with non governmental movements that protest for the rights of the less privileged. Despite the fact that some groups are looked down on, they are not accorded special privileges like in the case of India. The people hence have to go through painful battles to fight for their freedom. Communities associated with poverty are in fact neglected in terms of accessing important services. The government does not pump in more resources to such groups to ensure they feel respected and appreciated. Instead, they are exposed to an environment of poverty where the government cares less about their needs. They may have been given some medical insurance to access free services in government hospitals yet such hospitals remain under equipped with medicine, equipment and human resource (Huntington, 1996). The government concentrates on equipping hospitals that are frequently visited by the rich and whites while other social groups are neglected.
Ethnic stratification is a common feature in most countries, yet handled differently basing on the cultural believes of the community. As seen in the analysis of this paper, social stratification is accepted and appreciated in India due to its religious roots. Despite the open discrimination, the people live in harmony, with the acceptance that it is their biological root that determined their fate. In America, social stratification is also evident and most prominent due to the multiple cultures that the country hosts. However, there is a form of resistance among the people, who do not want to accept the stereotypes being held against them by the society. The fight has been on, and it will persist, with the hope that one day, there will be no stratification in United States. The Americans work hard, with the hope to se the change in their lifetime, while the Indians work hard to experience the change in their next world after they are reborn.
In conclusion, we realize how the western culture has influenced our general thinking and attitude towards racial stratification. Most of the issues being faced in the world today are because of the battle that exists between ethnic communities and modern civilization. Most cultures are loosing their traditional believes as they get exposed to other believes that define their way of life. What is happening in America is an example of a lost culture and diluted traditions. An Indian will feel comfortable being in a lower caste until when they are exposed and are told that they deserve to be treated the same way. United States had become the center of cultural degradation as the society makes them feel that their culture and cultural background is a hindrance to the growth. Once a person is outside their cultural cocoons, their eyes open up to the external world and they realize the privileges being enjoyed by other people. They no longer feel safe in their skins and hence expressing interests in being treated like people of a particular skin. As w live in a world of diversity, it is important to realize our cultural believes that define us, rather than allow a foreign culture to define our status.
Beeghley, L. (2004). Structure Of Social Stratification In The United States, The Author: Leonard Beeghley, Publisher: Allyn &am.
Berreman, G. D. (1960). Caste in India and the United States. American Journal of Sociology, 120-127.
Coleman, R. P., Rainwater, L., & McClelland, K. A. (1979). Social standing in America: New dimensions of class. Taylor & Francis.
Huntington, S. P. (1996). The class of civilizations and the remaking of world order. Penguin Books India.
Ogbu, J. U. (1978). Minority education and caste: The American system in cross-cultural perspective.
Sagar, S. L. (1975). Hindu culture and caste system in India. Uppal Book Store.
Silverberg, J. (1968). Social mobility in the caste system in India.