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Race and ethnicity issues are prevalent in some multiethnic societies like America where people belonging from multiple ethnic groups are demanding justice for their rights. Racial and ethnic issues clash directly with the American constitution as no solid rules or policies are made to tackle this issue.
In the model of ethnic relations given by Aguirre and Turner (1998) multiple concepts are given and these concepts are interdependent and they form a cycle together. The first concept is Discrimination and the most important one as it sets the basis of other concepts. According to Agguire and Turner (1998), when people discriminate against each other, this results in the formation of a separate or different ethnic identity. Discrimination can be seen at the institutional level where people belonging from a dominant racial and ethnic group deny the basic rights of minority groups.
After Discrimination, the notion of “degree of identifiability” comes and this notion further studies the groups that are discriminated against because of their biological characteristics. They are identified through their physical features such as skin color and their cultural characteristics such as language and social behavior, further establishes this difference. Resource sharing is the third factor and it is highly influenced by the first two factors, discrimination and degree of identifiability. This very factor views the practice of unequal distributing the resources among the various ethnic groups. These concepts are highly interdependent and interrelated as they can be seen in the less privileged residential areas and schools where the teaching environment is not feasible for learning (Agguire & Turner, 1998).
All the above factors lead to the sense of threat that an ethnic group feels and such a threat occurs when this ethnic group contains a large number of people. If the socioeconomic status of a minority group increases and they also carry access to various entrepreneurial avenues, this threat manifests itself even more. However, the minority group does not challenge the majority group, the fear of losing power serves as a motivation for them to discriminate against the minority group and spread negative prejudices about them (Agguire & Turner, 1998).
The factors or concepts given in this model make the ethnic conflicts more understandable because these factors provide a reason for such conflicts. In the context of America, the White or Caucasian race is dominant over the Black or African American race. This issue has a burning history and it is one of the best-suited examples for studying this ethnic model because the categoric unit selected for the African race was of a slave. The White race ruled over the Black race and took over all their resources and lands. The former group used the latter's land and manpower to increase their economic gains and wealth. Moreover, this control also addressed the threat felt by the White dominant group and their treatment of the Black minority group further established it (The State of Homelessness in America).
In America, the African people are underrepresented and they are not given equal opportunities in the White dominant areas. For instance, the wage gap between African Americans and White Americans signifies the discriminatory attitude of the majority group in a multiethnic country. African-Americans face discrimination at the institutional level and due to this key factor, they cannot equate this wealth gap because of their level of identifiability. Other than the wealth gap, they also suffer from the loss of their representation such as culture and traditions.
The model of discrimination, resource sharing and stratification also enables us to study the ethnic disparities as discussed in the model concerning other ethnic identities or "population at risk". For instance, the Asian American population has increased in number over a few decades and it is continuing to increase. The factors of immigration and displacement have also contributed to their rise as the fastest growing ethnic community in America. They can be identified through their distinctive biological and cultural characteristics such as their skin color and diverse languages such as Chinese and Korean languages. These communities face various issues in a White dominant country because of the language differences as bilingualism is still not appreciated in the presence of English as a native language. Moreover, Asians are discriminated against for getting more opportunities as compared to the majority population. (The State of Homelessness in America). The Refugees are also considered as an added burden over the economy of the country. Asian Americans deal with the issues of language barrier, ethnic and racial discrimination because of their distinctiveness.
Women in America face the issues of the wage gap, inequality, and poor health conditions as a result of male dominance in society. Similarly, most of the administrative and executive jobs are dominated by White men in the government and corporate sector. On the other hand, lucrative jobs such as labor work is reserved for women. This unequal distribution of resources makes men top earners and the wage gap gets so big between both the genders. Moreover, women work more at the domestic level and are often not paid for their domestic services. They have to face workplace bullying and harassment more as compared to men.
The LGBT community is also one of the marginalized and most discriminated society in America because of their deviant behavior and different gender and sexual orientation. They are misrepresented and threatened in the society by the majority group having normative behavior.
The LGBTs have to face health risks, low wages, and identity issues due to discrimination and degree of identifiability. They suffer from the risk of developing HIV or AIDS as compared to the heterosexual population and they also face mental health issues. The LGBT women are underpaid at work because of social stigmas and added homosexual or queer behavior (The State of Homelessness in America). Moreover, they struggle to find a good job and live under poor health conditions because of their deviant behavior as an LGBT and gender as a woman. The model of ethnic minorities helps in understanding the threats posed towards various minority groups in a multiethnic American society.
The NASW Code of Ethics is formed to maintain equality and order for the social workers, this code of ethics shows professionalism and ensure ethical behavior by the workers collectively. It contains the following six core values: (Code of Ethics: English).
It categorizes the main values which contain the vision and mission of social work.
The code, position ethical values at the center and ensures that every social worker, works under the domain of ethical standards.
The code is formulated to overcome the work discrepancies and legally resolve conflicts.
It ensures that the general public can view social work as a great job due to its ethics.
It teaches new workers, various codes, briefs them about missions and ethical standards of their work.
The workers who commit to the NASW code of ethics are expected to follow all rules and regulations inside and outside of their professional space.
The different ethnic and minority groups play an important role in society and they face discrimination and unequal resource sharing because of their distinct cultural background and less number. This attitude results in social disruption and does not help in getting a shared community experience which such multicultural interactions can bring in American society (The State of Homelessness in America).
The model of ethnic relations by Aguirre and Turner (1998) pinpoints the main reasons for this social divide in American society that is discrimination, degree of identifiability and resource sharing. These factors affect the perception of diversity, gender, identity, and sexuality because of their being non-normative. Similarly, the core values as discussed in the NASW code of ethics ensure the creation of a just and equality-based community or communal practices (Code of Ethics: English). The ethnic and racial discrimination affect the society and the harmony of a combined community experience. Diversity does not mean difference; it promotes intercultural interactions and multiple diverse communities can learn from their shared experiences.
In a global age, the differences can be overcome through resolving conflict and distributing equal resources among the masses. The core values under the code of ethics identify these issues at multiple social settings and ensure the equal treatment of every individual within a social sphere. Moreover, African Americans and Asian American ethnicities can be treated on an equal basis like the majority group due to the NASW Code of ethics (Code of Ethics: English).
For instance, in a workplace environment, these ethical codes are based on professionalism, giving equal opportunities with minimizing the wage gap or the wealth gap. Women employees can work freely and in a safer environment, they can also get administrative or executive posts based on equality. These core values discourages gender discrimination and promote equality between both genders.
In the context of the LGBT community, the core values of the NASW code reject any discrimination against this highly threatened population at risk (The State of Homelessness in America). The core values assert that this group should be treated equally and on humanitarian grounds, this attitude gives this community the right to their identity and sexuality. Moreover, through the implementation of these values, the health risks and low wage issues can be resolved.
Turner, Jonathan H., and Adalberto Aguirre Jr. American Ethnicity: The Dynamics and Consequences of Discrimination. McGraw-Hill Education, 2010.
“Code of Ethics: English.” Accessed November 8, 2019. https://www.socialworkers.org/About/Ethics/Code-of-Ethics/Code-of-Ethics-English.
National Alliance to End Homelessness. “The State of Homelessness in America: Trends in Populations at Risk,” May 20, 2015. https://endhomelessness.org/the-state-of-homelessness-in-america-trends-in-populations-at-risk/.
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