Individual Prejudice and Discrimination Soc/120

The culture of South Africa is known for its ethnic and cultural diversity. The South African black majority still has a substantial number of rural populations who lead largely impoverished lives. It is among these people, however, that cultural traditions survive most strongly. African Americans are increasingly taking on urban characteristics and have been influenced with ideas; the aspects of traditional culture have declined. Urban blacks usually speak English or Afrikaans in addition to their native tongue.

Indian South Africans preserve their cultural heritage, languages and religious beliefs, being either Christian, Hindu or Muslim and speaking English, with Indian languages like Hindi, Telugu, Tamil or Gujarati being spoken less frequently as second languages. There is a much smaller Chinese South African community, made up of early immigrants, apartheid-era immigrants from Taiwan, and post-apartheid immigrants from mainland China. In general, all racial and ethnic groups in South Africa have long-standing beliefs concerning gender roles, and most are based on the premise that women are less important, or less deserving of power, than men.

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Most African traditional social organizations are male centered and male dominated. Even in the 1990s, in some rural areas of South Africa, for example, wives walk a few paces behind their husbands in keeping with traditional practices. A minority of ultra-conservative Afrikaners’ religious beliefs, too, includes a strong emphasis on the theoretically biblically based notion that women’s contributions to society should normally be approved by, or be on behalf of, men. English speaking whites tend to be the most liberal group, including on issues pertaining to gender roles.

In the 20th century, economic and political developments presented South African women with both new obstacles and new opportunities to wield influence. For example, labor force requirements in cities and mining areas have often drawn men away from their homes for months at a time, and, as a result, women have borne many traditionally male responsibilities in the village and home. Women have had to guarantee the day-to-day survival of their families and to carry out financial and legal transactions that otherwise would have been reserved for men (material “Culture of South Africa”, 2013).

Race and ethnicity are terms used to categorize populations on the basis of shared characteristics. The differentiation between race and ethnicity is an ethnic group is a social category of people who share a common culture, such as a common language, a common religion, or common norms, customs, practices, and history. Ethnic groups have a consciousness of their common cultural bond. An ethnic group does not exist simply because of the common national or cultural origins of the group, however.

They develop because of their unique historical and social experiences, which become the basis for the group’s ethnic identity. A race is a group that is treated as distinct in society based on certain characteristics. Because of their biological or cultural characteristics, which are labeled as inferior by powerful groups in society, a race is often singled out for differential and unfair treatment. It is not the biological characteristics that define racial groups, but how groups have been treated historically and socially.

Society assigns people to racial categories (White, Black, etc. ) not because of science or fact, but because of opinion and social experience. In other words, how racial groups are defined is a social process; it is socially constructed. The assumption that race reflects only biological distinctions is inaccurate. Categories based on race account for only 3–7% of total human genetic diversity, are not reliably measured, and are not always biologically meaningful.

Furthermore, both race and ethnicity are constantly evolving concepts, making the task of comparing groups or following the same group over time quite challenging. For instance, the increasing proportion of the U. S. population describing their race as “mixed” or “other,” as well as changes in ethnic self-identification across generations and occasionally even within the same generation, makes it difficult to assign individuals to invariant categories of race or ethnicity.

Nevertheless, the social importance given to these constructs to describe groups that have been treated in similar ways based on presumed biological characteristics, as well as the acknowledgment that such classifications themselves have contributed to inequalities in health and health care access, necessitates that we continue to use the terms race and ethnicity (material “Sociology of Race and Ethnicity”, 2013). The experiences of African American descendants throughout United States history have been difficult.

African American descendants have been subjected to American slavery from the earliest days in the 17th century. Slave owners strove to exercise control over their slaves by making an attempt to strip them of their African culture. Regardless of their father’s status, children of enslaved mothers followed the status of their mothers and were considered slaves as well. The physical isolation and societal downgrading of African slaves facilitated the withholding of significant elements of traditional culture among Africans in the U.

S. African American descendants have endured racial terrorism in many forms. One of the forms was the Ku Klux Klan, after its founding in 1867, the Ku Klux Klan, a secret vigilante organization dedicated to destroying the Republican Party in the South, especially by terrorizing Black leaders was formed. This vigilante organization hides behind masks and robes to conceal their identity while they carried out violence and property damage. The Klan used terrorism, especially murder and threats of murder, arson and intimidation.

The Klan’s excesses led to the passage of legislation against it, and with Federal enforcement, it was destroyed by 1871 (material “African-American History”, 2013). African American descendants have been deprived of their civil rights and have been discriminated against as well. They have been stripped of their rights to vote and racial segregation at the workplace, in schools and by facilities that served the general public where enforced upon them. Anti-miscegenation laws prohibited marriages of European-Americans with people of African descent, even if of mixed race.

African American communities have suffered from extremely high incarceration rates. They have the highest imprisonment rate of any major ethnic group in the world. The southern states, which historically had been involved in slavery and post-Reconstruction oppression, now produce the highest rates of incarceration and the death penalty (material “African-American History”, 2013). Residential segregation has taken various forms. Limited contracts in deeds had prohibited minorities from buying properties from any consequent owner.

Some of the state constitutions, had sections giving local authorities the right to control where members of particular “races” could live. In the 1950s-1960s, legislation enacting racial segregation was finally overturned, because of the population being morally confronted and educated by advocates of the Civil Rights Movement. The United States Supreme Court ruled that “separate but equal” was essentially discriminatory and engaged integration of public schools in 1954 with Brown v. Board of Education (material “Judicial Aspects of

Race in the United States”, 2013). One of many significant pieces of civil rights legislation ever proposed that Congress passed is referred to as the civil rights act of 1964. The civil rights act made Congress an equal partner with the Supreme Court in establishing civil rights. The act banned discrimination in all residences of public lodging, such as restaurants, hotels, gas stations, theaters etc. ,. It also permitted the department of justice to bring suit in order to accomplish desegregation in public schools.

In the mid-1950s to late 1960s during the civil rights movement it was a exertion for African Americans to succeed in having civil rights equal to those of Whites, including the opportunity for equal employment, housing, and education, along with the right to vote, the right of equal access to public amenities, and the right to be free of racial discrimination. The movement of the twentieth century has had such an intense effect on the legal and political establishments of the United States that no other social or political effect has had.

Assured by the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments this movement attempted to restore to African Americans the rights of residency, which had been abused by segregationist Jim Crow laws in the South (material “Judicial Aspects of Race in the United States”, 2013). The federal government was forced numerous times to enforce its laws and protect the rights of African American citizens which essentially altered relations between the federal government and the states.

The civil rights movement also provoked the relapse of the judiciary, including the Supreme Court, in its role as defender of individual liberties against majority power. Furthermore, Martin Luther King Jr. , and other leaders of the movement anticipated, this movement to encouraged advantages not only for African Americans but also for women, individuals with disabilities, and several others. Congress passed another significant piece of legislation; the voting rights act of 1965 was passed the following year.

This act excluded the voting qualifications, including literacy tests, that whites have used in the past to prevent African Americans from voting. It also enabled the federal government to oversee rules regarding changes in state voting laws. These laws together with federal actions displayed that no amount of resistance, no matter how violent, by white southerners would encumber the cause and the civil rights movement had the back-up of the powers of the federal government. The culture of South Africa is known for its ethnic and cultural diversity.

Both race and ethnicity are, in fact, social constructs. Race has traditionally been used to categorize populations on the basis of shared biological characteristics such as genes, skin color, and other observable features. Ethnicity is used to categorize on the basis of cultural characteristics such as shared language, ancestry, religious traditions, dietary preferences, and history. Although ethnic groups can share a range of phenotypic characteristics due to their shared ancestry, the term is typically used to highlight cultural and social characteristics instead of biological ones.

The experiences of African American descendants throughout United States history have been difficult. The federal government was forced numerous times to enforce its laws and protect the rights of African American citizens which essentially altered relations between the federal government and the states. The effects of prejudice and discrimination for South African individuals have been devastating and will continue to have a negative impact for many years to come.

Reference Frenkel, R. (2008). Feminism and Contemporary Culture in South Africa. , (). Adams, B. G. , Fons J. R. , Van d. Vijvera. ; De Bruin, G. P. (2011). . Identity in South Africa: Examining self-descriptions across ethnic groups, (). Culture of South Africa. (2013). Retrieved from http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Culture_of_South_Africa African-American history. (2013). Retrieved from http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Black_American_History Sociology Of Race And Ethnicity. (2013). Retrieved from http://sociology. about. com/od/Disciplines/a/Sociology-Of-Race-Ethnicity. htm? p=1 Judicial aspects of race in the United States. (2013). Retrieved from http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Judicial_aspects_of_race_in_the_United_States