Updated: Sep 15, 2021
Minorities will always be a fundamental part of nations in diverse contexts. Master in Chinese Economic Society and Culture, Mara Lisa Arizaga, describes how minorities have been vital in maintaining political stability in China. The Communist Government - established in 1949 - accounted for these groups' potential to maintain territorial cohesion. In recent presidential elections in the United States, we can see how the African-American and Latino vote has become a bastion for those who aspire to the White House.
For the North American nation, minorities have become essential: They have not only increased in population but have become transcendental in the decision-making of everyday affairs.
Understanding minorities as a group lacking a dominant posture and whose members have certain ethnic, religious, or lingüistic features, different from others, makes the preservation of traditions and culture fundamental. (Capotorti). We all take part in the nation's history, a heritage worth preserving over time.
In the U.S., the fight for minorities to have more prominent visibility has been a focus since the sixties. Campaigns such as Freedom Summer made it possible for the Civil Rights Law to pass, benefiting minorities and African-Americans who received incentives for businesses. They began their participation in politics, meaning Hispanics and Asians can also aspire to witness their rights in a country made up of immigrants.
According to the 2017 census, in the U.S., 73% of the population is White, Hispanics make up 17.6%, 12.7% are African-Americans, and Asians make up 5.5%. Even though this data focuses on dividing people, it directly correlates to income and social class indicators. For example, annually, a white home may earn almost $20,000 more than an African-American home and even $13,000 more than a Hispanic home. This fact raises poverty rates and is three times more significant for black people than for whites, as Mary Pattillo - Ph.D. in Philosophy - established in a study published by The University of Chicago.
All this is relevant to education: It has proven that white people have more probabilities of attaining a professional degree, generating disadvantages upon minorities. As described in the "Schooling and Social Class in the United States" essay, there are significant differences in curriculums and pedagogy for immigrants and natives. For example, in a middle school with many Mexican-American students whose parents work as meatpackers or in factories, kids received education oriented towards developing skills needed in those same local businesses, narrowing down the opportunity for growth and achieving a different future (Grinberg, Prince, Naiditch).
Changes for equality in education require working with transformative decision-making, focusing on fields where teaching and scholarship stop being a social class matter. "These decisions may either open or close opportunities and should not be 'neutral' because neutrality works in favor of the status quo" (Gringber and Saavedra). The Asiatic population in the U.S., for instance, has become an emerging minority in recent times thanks to schooling success that has enabled for higher job positions, as was expressed by the BBC.
At Tierra and Friends, we recognize the importance of minorities, and we contribute to building a world where equality is a protagonist. Changing these paradigms in all areas achieves a better society.
Organización de las Naciones Unidas. Derechos de las minorías: Normas internacionales y orientación para su aplicación.
González, M. (2002). Las minorías étnicas en Canadá, Estados Unidos y México. Comercio Exterior, 52(1), 80-90.
Grinberg, J., Price, J., & Naiditch, F. (2016). Escolarización y Clase Social en los Estados Unidos. Educação, 39(1), 46-55.
Pattillo, M. (2010). La posición intermediaria de los afroamericanos de clase social media en Estados Unidos. Palobra: Palabra que obra, (11), 104-121.
Cuál es el grupo étnico mejor pagado de Estados Unidos (... y no son los blancos) – BBC Mundo
Grinberg, J.; Saavedra, E. The Constitution of Bilingual/ ESL Education as a Disciplinary Practice: Genealogical Explorations. Review of Educational Research, v. 70, n. 4, p. 419-441, 2000