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Cultural Diversity - Essay Example

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Cultural Diversity

As Jane Elliott's "Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes" experiment teaches, there are many criteria of distinction like racism and prejudice. Racism and Classism which are inextricably tied together are the two most common criteria of conceptualization of social class. David Wellman defines racism as a "system of advantage based on race." (Wellman1977). Color is the other main criterion that determines the social class and this may well be defined as the diction made between people on the basis of the color of their skin. The power of the money that one owns also determines the social class of the person and thus we have the rich and the poor. In the modern society we see the rich becoming the richer and the poor the poorer. All these elements go into the making up of the social classes.
A. Two of the basic distinctions that we find in the social class system are that of race and ethnicity. These are the two major kinds of class discriminations that we face in the modern society, especially in the US. Racial group and ethnic group, often considered as the same, have many similarities as well as differences. Before we make the detailed distinction between the two, let it be remembered that any kind of distinction made on the basis of race and ethnicity is the most harmful situation in the world today. The "Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes" experiment of Jane Elliott teaches us how important it is to raise above the barriers of such distinctions made on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, and so on. Nobody is more privileged than others on the basis of the color of the skin, the ethnic group or the particular race or class one belongs to. Let us also remember the great voice of Martin Luther King who pleaded for the racial equality of all the people. "History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals who pursued [the] self-defeating path of hate." (Sklar 1997).
There are striking similarities between racism and ethnicity. A racial group is one that is distinguished from that of other groups on the basis of some well defined and salient features of its own. This type of classification is a general categorization on the basis of color and other types of distinction. On the other hand, when we speak about an ethnic group, we are particularly identifying the distinction based on the individual cultural aspect of that community or group. The members of an ethnic group identify themselves on the basis of their descent, ancestry and lineage. They have a distinction on the basis of the culture, religion, language and other characteristics. Thus, in the racial discrimination of the Blacks from the Whites, we see the racial group formula working out. In the case of particular ethnic group existing on its own to sideline the other cultural, national, and racial groups we find the distinction based on the individual ethnicity. The impact of these differences whether it is racial or ethnic begins even at a very young age. The racial caste system is a way of life that subjugates one race of the community to another. Jim Crow was such a racial caste system and under this system the Afro-Americans were treated as the second class citizens.
The racial group distinction makes a group ...Show more


A. A social class may be understood as a class of people who identify themselves as one on the basis of educational qualification, social position, class background, culture, race, color, sex, and other aspects of the society. This means some type of distinction and difference are made among the individuals of a society in their power positions…
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