What if any is the relationship between ethnicity and social exclusion in the UK

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Within this assignment I am going to be look at social exclusion in relation to ethnicity, I will start by defining what the terms ethnicity and social exclusion mean and then go on to talk about what social exclusion is and how it effects ethnic people in relation to housing, education and employment. What is ethnicity? Ethnicity is a social structure it can be defined as a group who share common cultural traits such as language, religion, and dress and are an identifiable minority within the larger nation-state.

The House of Lords defininition is that ‘an ‘ethnic group’ is a group that regards itself, or is regarded by others, as a distinct community by virtue of certain characteristics that will help to distinguish the group from the surrounding community. ‘(www. cre. gov. uk) it states that there are vital characteristics in which they posses which are: * A history, of which the group is aware of as it distinguish it from other groups A cultural tradition of its own which including family and social customs and manners, often but not necessarily associated with religious celebration Other significant characteristics may very well include common biological origin or ancestry for example a common language, a common religion and the status of either a minority or a leading group within a larger community.

Who are ethnic? Someone who is said to belong to an ‘ethnic minority’ is therefore anyone who would tick any box other than ‘White British’ box in response to an ethnicity question on a census form. This means that, across England and Wales, 12. 5% of the population are ethnic minorities, according to the 2001 census. (www. cre. gov. uk) Most people are not aware that gypsies and Irish travellers are apart of the ethnic group within the UK but they form part of this group along with Afro-Caribbean, Bangladeshis, Black Africans, Pakistanis, Chinese and others

What is social exclusion? The history of social exclusion is an interesting one ‘it originated from France in the 1970s to descried the condition of certain groups on the margins of society who were cut off both from regular sources of employment and the income safety nets of the welfare state’ (Pierson, 2002, p4) people who were in this bracket were asylum seekers and the disables who unfortunately for them were not able to access powerful institutions that might have helped them.

It is a know fact ‘the concept of exclusion has long been used in relation to racial discrimination’ (Somerville et al, 2002,p9) but it is not always the case and social exclusion means different things to different people, some simply state that ‘social exclusion is caused by people excluding themselves from society through their own actions and delinquent moral values that are different from the main stream’ (Pierson, 2002, p2) while others hold the view that ‘social exclusion is a process that deprives individuals and families, groups and neighbourhoods of the resources for participation in the social, economic and political activity of society as a whole.

This process is primarily a consequence of poverty and low income, but other factors such as discrimination, low educational attainment and depleted living environments also underpin it. Through this process people are cut off for a significant period in their lives from institutions and services, social networks and developmental opportunities that the great majority of society enjoys’ (Pierson, 2002. p7) ‘There is no single widely accepted definition of social exclusion’ (page, 2000, p4) Factors and reasons why some people can be socially excluded could be: * Poverty and low income.

There are two different types of poverty absolute and relative poverty. It has been said that ‘the most potent element in the process of social exclusion is poverty and low income’ (Pierson, 2002, p9) * Exclusion from services. These services can be anything from doctors and hospitals, transport to child care services. * Very little or no social support networks. ‘network poverty deprives users of social supports and informal help that we all need to participate in community life’ (Pierson, 2002, p12) having support is important weather it be family or friends that’s why social workers first look to place children with relatives rather than in a children’s home. Effect of the area in which you live.

This is often found in council housing estates were there is low income and lack of opportunities to better yourself. Refugees and asylum seekers which are ethnic minorities in the UK face many problems when entering the UK such as powerlessness, dislocation and discrimination with very little support. Part of the reason is due to section 115 of the immigration and asylum act 1999 which ‘removes entitlement to means tested benefits such as income support, income based job seekers allowance, housing benefit and council tax benefit, as well as a rang of family and disability benefits such as child benefit and disability living allowance. (Pierson, 2002, p205)

‘Many ethnically differentiated people are immigrants or the descendants of recent immigrants’ (Byrne, 1991, p90) and suffer greatly when it comes gaining employment Brine stated that ‘at all occupational levels there is a real disadvantage for ethnic minorities as compared with ‘whites’ in their own occupational category’ (byrne, 1991,p92) even though there are laws that are meant to prevent this kind of behaviour exclusion still exists within today’s society and as the UK is a very musty ethnic society it is of great concern especially as’ethnic minorities currently make up 8 per cent of the UK population. Between 1999 and 2009, they will account for half the growth in the working age population. ‘ (www. homeoffice. gov. uk) Not all minority groups experience the same type of social exclusion most ethnic minorities are less likely to find and sustain employment than their white counterparts and according to the national static’s this disadvantage has persisted for more than a decade.

It is clear that certain ethnic groups are being left behind, this becomes clear when looking at the employment rates and even those individuals who achieve academic success do not necessarily reap the rewards in the workplace that their qualifications desivers. But some ethnic groups are excelling as ‘those most likely to be employed in managerial or professional occupations were from the Chinese, Indian, White Irish, and other non-British White groups (between 32 and 38 per cent). But the groups with the lowest proportions of managers or professionals were the Black Caribbean’s, Black Africans and Bangladeshis (between 19 per cent and 22 per cent). ‘ (www. statistics. gov. k)

Again all ethnic, for some the most important barriers to achievement are poor schooling facing a great challenge with institutions, such as schools, which have most to offer in opening up opportunities for others the critical issues are lack of residential mobility or inadequate transport. The employment rates come as no surprise when considering that black pupils and those from Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds achieve poorer GCSE results than other groups and that ‘Schools are up to four times more likely to permanently exclude African Caribbean pupils, increasing the chances that they will be disengaged from education in the longer term’ (2002, commission for racial equality).

‘This waste of employment potential has both economic and social costs, contributing to social exclusion and damaging community cohesion. ‘(www. emetaskforce. gov. uk) nother problem in which ethnic minorities face are housing problems, ‘Households of African (or black) Caribbean origin are more likely to be found in social housing’ (Somerville et al, 2002, p26) although this is the case there are services available but the services available are not always thought to be for black minorities, Page looked at an estate in Thames Green and came up with some interesting findings stating that ‘black residents see many of the estate’s services as just for white people. ‘(Page, 2000, p41)

Gypsies and Irish Travellers have even less access to services not only do their children have ‘the lowest results of any ethnic minority group and are the group most at risk in the education system. (commission for racial equality, 2002) but they also ‘have the poorest life chances of any ethnic group today’ (commission for racial equality, 2002) with the life expectancy for men and women being ten years below the national average the commission for racial equality states that ‘Gypsy and Irish Traveller mothers are 20 times more likely than mothers in the rest of the population to have experienced the death of a child and less than a quarter of Gypsy children achieved five GCSEs at A* to C grades in 2003, compared to a national average of just over half. ‘ (commission for racial equality, 2002) the reason for these appoling static’s could relate to the shortage of authorized transit and permanent sites available for Gypsies and Irish Travellers.

The government has said that an ‘estimates 2,500 and 4,000 more pitches will be needed by 2007. ‘ (commission for racial equality, 2002) Another causative factor for the poor condition in which they live in could be because ‘around half of the authorised sites were located in areas poorly suited to residential use, often close to motorways or major roads, rubbish tips, industrial activity or sewage works. (commission for racial equality,2002) making them susceptible to illnesses which is why as stated above they have the poorest life chance of any ethnic group with ‘People from Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities are one-and-a-half times more likely to suffer ill health, and African Caribbean’s a third more likely than white people. ‘ (commission for racial equality, 2002)

Another problem in which ethnic minorities face are being stopped by police, it has been reported by the bbc that ‘African Caribbean’s are six times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people. ‘ (www. bbconline. co. uk) in relation to this they are ‘at greater risk of experiencing crime overall than the white majority for the 2002/03’ (www. homeoffice. gov. k) according to the British crime survey ‘The risk of racially motivated victimization was higher for people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds than for white people in general’ (www. homeoffice. go. uk)

Conclusion It is clear that people from ethnic minorities are some what social excluded as often people come to this country to seek refuges but are either have a delay in or are unable to access the service because of the language barrier which in turn isolates them making them less able to achieve good employment and be aware of what facilities are available to them. Although poverty is linked to social exclusion it is clear that not every one who is on the poverty line is social excluded, sometimes services are available but people from ethnic minorities do not feel that they are excluded from access these services.

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