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Ethnicity Still Influences the Equality of Minorities Despite the Laws ​Protecting Them


"The demonstrators called for an end to discrimination in work." Picture published by  Sky News on Sunday 04 March 2018.

Individuals belonging to majority groups can experience an informational gap regarding ethnic minorities, referred to as the limited knowledge about facts, where the only principle that is known mostly comes from the perspective of characters that mainly constitute a majority.  These can be writers, journalists, merchandises, politicians, and mass media. Thus, stories are prescribed by the way they are told, when and how many stories are told, and also, who tells them (Adichie, C. 2009).

As the world is too big to understand everything in detail, people tend to stereotype to help to classify and filter information (Samovar, et al., 2017, p.533). Although there are laws to protect the equality of individuals, ethnicity still influences their opportunities. The lack of information enhances stereotypes which introduce prejudice, whose levels can be high even in multicultural cities. Finally, this leads to ethnocentrism which is reflected unconsciously as a barrier for the ethnic minorities. Taking into consideration that the global civil society is heavily fixed in north-western Europe (Anheier, 2001, p.3), in this opportunity it is possible to take the U.K. as an example.

High levels of prejudice contradict the concept of equality when individuals generalize regarding different ethnic groups ''based on little or no factual experience,'' even though, they are based in multicultural cities (Samovar, et al., 2017, p.536). Approaches from an educational perspective often contribute to its avoidance: cultural diversity training and multicultural education curriculum, which seeks to ''uncover a particular truth that is confined to a single culture or social group'' (Banks, 2004, p.128).

Researchers affirm that countries with more links to global civil society were more likely to use a policy for multicultural education and curriculum standards (Cha and Ham, 2013). However, there are still levels of prejudice, ethnic inequalities, and cultural segregation, especially because London, Birmingham, and Manchester are the locations of half of all ethnic minorities in Britain (Casey, 2016).

The U.K. still has many underrepresented minorities in teaching (The Guardian, 2018). Also, Researchers of the Department of Education and Institute for Policy Research, at Bath University, tested each academy in the U.K. and it was found that ''students from ethnically diverse backgrounds worry about studying outside of London and the South-East on the grounds of racism they and others have experienced when leaving the capital'' (Gamsu et al., 2017).

Consequently, these factors have exposed signs of ethnocentrism, the belief that an individual's ethnicity is better. Repeatedly, even though individuals are based in multicultural societies they might fail to recognize that cultures are diverse (Newman, 2017, p.420). Measures have been taken to promote diversity and counteract ethnocentrism and racism by tackling discrimination, such as The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, The Equality Human Rights Commission, The European Convention on Human Rights, and the International Law settled by the UN Charter. Also, in the U.K. most of the laws related to equality have been created under the Equality Act 2010.

However, the percentages of job opportunities suggested that the laws are not always totally effective in truly encouraging equality in all fields. Up to 2010, jobs were mostly taken up by majority groups: in the Creative and Cultural field with a workforce of 95%; in the Energy and Utility field with 96%; in IT and Telecoms with 86%, in Justice with 93%, and in Process and Manufacturing with 95%. Also, in Adult Social Care the local authority was represented by 78% (University of Warwick, 2010).

Furthermore, in 2016 the UN committee on Economics, Social and Cultural Rights exposed recommendations regarding the Equality Law. Since the provisions relevant to the protection of Economics and Socio-cultural rights were not in force, and the Act was not applicable in Northern Ireland (United Nations, 2016).

The reality is, unconsciously—and consciously—the ethnic minorities still face barriers even in multicultural cities, they have issues related to social mobility, and also, the employment outcomes are not dependent on academic success (The Guardian, 2014). On the other hand, the legal framework of the U.K. as part of a global civil society consolidates equality into the core objectives and performance to eradicate discrimination, expand working relationships, and establish equal opportunities (GOV.UK, 2016).

As an example, institutions like Lloyds Bank demonstrate a commitment for the equality of the workforce, becoming in ''the first FTSE 100 firm to set ethnic diversity target'' Lloyds aims to increase its senior manager to 8% from ethnic minority groups (The Guardian, 2018). Although, to truly sustain equality a bigger process is required. Researchers found that there is an ethnicity pay gap, in London, the numbers indicate 9.8% gap in Transport for London, 16% in the Greater London Authority, 16.7% in the police, and 37.5% in the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (The Times, 2018).

In addition, university courses are highly segregated and have developed issues with the ethnic diversity, it means that ''certain professions inevitably end up being ethnically divided and have knock-on effects in terms of how certain jobs and professions are perceived'' (Times Higher Education, 2017).

The legal system acknowledges all individuals in their daily life, in determining policy, providing assistance and encouraging to treat everybody with equality. However, equality is not only dependent on the legal system. Thus, the lack of cultural information increases with prejudice and by the end leads to ethnocentrism. The latter creates division between people by demonstrating superiority, and it can be reflected unconsciously.

Finally, this matter limits the development of the minorities as if they did not have the same intelligence, skills or abilities. But, this reality could improve by applying a solid intercultural curriculum to provide trustworthy education about ethnicities and controlling cultural segregation. Also, it is vital that educational institutions and workplaces truly engage in the idea of equality. The legal framework of the U.K. as global civil society ''understands globalization from the perspective of ordinary people'' (LSE, 2011), and has been created to promote equality but it is also necessary to believe in it, otherwise, we cannot refer to it as legitimate.


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