Why Minority Groups Have Failed to Make Gains

Minority Groups: Why They Have Failed to Make Significant

Gains despite Having Lived in the U.S. For A Longer Time

The fact that minority groups have failed to make it up the ranks in the U.S. stratification system remains a query everyone has to battle with. One cannot stop to imagine how such old groups would fail to make the gains that the ordinary u.s citizens and the recent immigrants. It will be noted that the two major minority groups are African-Americans and Native Americans. The Native Americans, it is their land for all intends and purposes and still they are considered a minority group. For the African-Americans it is still a big headache for those who are studying the reasons why they have failed although there are several factors. Therefore in this topic there will be an in depth look into the reason why these groups have failed to make it in to the higher ranks of the social strata in the U.S. we will also look at reasons why the recent immigrants have overtaken the former despite having stayed long in the U.S.

Minority groups defined.

A minority group can have various definitions depending on the discipline under which it is being discussed, whether it is politically sociologically, ethnically, religiously or even according to gender. However they all relate to the same meaning referring a minority group as that has not gained recognition in the issue being discussed. Therefore, it is not always about numbers when it comes to minority groups since all the factors under which someone may term a group as minority will have to be considered. And in that case, there will be several criterions to be followed to determine a minority group.

According to Feagin (1984), in his book racial and ethnic relations, he gave such characteristics of minority groups. He deciphered that some minority groups suffered discrimination and subordination while at the same time they depicted some traits which set them apart from the other groups which are the minority groups. Thirdly they have the idea of protecting one another by the fact that they tend to share common ideologies and burdens and they are too conservative in their culture in that they tend to marry within their own.

In the United States of America the situation it’s the same with minority groups, the African-Americans being first on the list. There are several factors that have made their apparent stall in the ranks of their social strata beginning with ethnicity or in other words the race factor. The fact that the United States of America is has diverse ethnic setting, and according to statistics from population estimates in the census bureau (2008), the African-Americans make the largest minority group from among the six ethnic groups in the country.

Racism has been an issue from the colonial era. It was almost legal during those times therefore it has been carried on from generation to generation up to the current situation I the U.S. The situation was worse in the early years of the twentieth century until the issue of racial segregation was banned in the early 1960’s. A practical example is described by Southall (2010) whereby the department of agriculture was discriminating against African-American farmers in terms of providing loans while at the same time providing the whit e farmers with the same according to south Ashley which in an article claimed that the issue resulted in a law suit which cost the government over 2 billion $.

Racial segregation is always about the color of the individual; therefore as long as the issue of racial profiling occurs in the country, the African-Americans will always remain behind in terms of ownership of property and other sociological activities like education housing and governance. This is as according to the U.N’s special report on racism in 2008, which in the investigations observed that racism is still an issue in the United States as was extrapolated using the socio economic indicators. The special rapporteur while presenting the report linked the current prejudice to the heritage that was left by their fore father sin terms of slavery and segregation. He attributed the Native Americans segregation from the social strata as a result of the forceful resettlement by the U.S. In the early years of the civil rights movement. Therefore this made it very clear that they were a secluded lot and hence the legacy was carried on to the latter years (CERD, 2009 p. 44).

In the recent years, the U.S. has seen a few immigrants apart from the Native Americans and the African-Americans. There is the Arab world, the Asian-Americans, and the Latin Americans. However the type of racism depicted in this category is a whole different scene although they too face prejudice. This is because most of these people are almost recognized as white like in the case of the Arabs; studies have shown that they are widely accepted as a part of the white race although they (Arabs) dispute that fact. However the recent terrorist attacks on the U.S. especially 11/11 changed that picture. After the attacks, the U.S. changed the treatment of the Arab citizens in what is now termed as Islamphobia. This is as indicated by Netton, Ian Richard; Evelyn Alsultany (2006) in their book “from ambiguity to abjection: Iraqi-Americans negotiating race in the United States.”

As we progress on we see that a lot of African-Americans and Native Americans will still not be able to secure a place in the high recognition seats as racism has hindered the mobility. They will always be prejudiced against because of the legacy that has been set by the early activities. However the recent immigrants will continue to enjoy the fruits of the hard labor of the former since they represent the new generation of immigrants who had nothing to do with the uprising. Their mobility is easier in the United States social stratification and acceptance though they still face some form of racism.


CERD, Task Force of the U.S. Human Rights Network. (2010-08). “From Civil Rights to Human Rights: Implementing U.S. Obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).” Universal Periodic Review Joint Reports: United States of America, p. 44.

Fegin, J.R. (1984). Racial and Ethnic Relations: Universal Periodic Review Joint Reports: United States of America. Prentice Hall, pp. 10

Netton, Ian, R., Evelyn A. (2006). “From ambiguity to abjection: Iraqi-Americans negotiating race in the United States,” pp. 140-143.

Leonard, Karen, Irvine. (July 28, 2007). “American Muslims: South Asian Contributions to the Mix.” University of California: Western Knight Center

Southall, Ashley (2010-05-25). “Bias Payments Come Too Late for Some Farmers.” The New York Times: Retrieved 2010-05-26.

U.S. Census Bureau, (2010). “Detailed Tables – American FactFinder; T3-2008. Race [7]”: 2008 Population Estimates. Retrieved on, 2010-02-28.

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