Last Updated 31 Jan 2023

Marginalization: Exclusion Based on Race, Gender, and Other Characteristics in the United States

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Marginalization is a process that involves driving a specific group of individuals to the edge of society by denying them an identity, active voice, or place within the community. Through direct and indirect processes, marginalized groups are pushed to secondary positions or considered as having less importance compared to those with privilege or holding more power in society. Marginalized individuals can be targeted through judgments, behaviors or negative beliefs of other people. People can experience marginalization because of various characteristics of their identity such as religion, age, sexuality, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, ability, gender or race. Some people belong to more than one marginalized groups and may face more marginalization because of their intersecting identities.

It is important to note that discrimination that originates from certain distinctions founded on race and sex have throughout history overlapped in numerous and diverse ways. They have also taken specific forms in the course of particular crossroads in history including occurrences such as colonialism and slavery. The dominant framework of power was typically dependent on violence to ensure that the racial and patriarchal boundaries remained intact.

One such marginalized group is women. In patriarchal societies, women are typically considered as 'the other,' which means they are subjected to marginalization and discrimination. The focus on male dominance which is at the center of patriarchy innately confines women to the edges of the society. During the Victorian era, for example, women could not inherit property or make decisions for their children without their husband’s consent. Few women of the middle and upper class worked or rarely entered the public sphere. Without a doubt, this was a common occurrence in western culture before social interactions that were influenced by the feminist movement, which allowed women to access areas that had initially been unavailable.

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According to Beauvoir, it is important to strive towards sexual equality since it's the best way of exposing the manner in which masculine ideologies take advantage of some physical sexual differences. Discrimination based on sex is the most common kind of oppression since the gender criterion is freely used in the delineation of lines of social division. Such discrimination results in sexism and a patriarchal system, which involves half of the system that is female being controlled by the other half. This kind of dichotomization directly emanates from the dualistic thinking of the phallocentric society, where the structure of the system of is rooted oppositional binarism.

Another common form of marginalization comes in the form of racism, or discrimination based on race. Racism can be explained through the ideas of Frantz Fanon. Fanon was of the view that in a white world, people of color are faced with challenges as far as developing physical schema is concerned. As such, the consciousness of the body becomes a negating activity, which is thus considered as a third-person consciousness. Marginalization also creates a situation where some communities undergo and suffer social exclusion. Among such examples of populations is the Aboriginal community of Australia.

The marginalization of this community originated from colonization. Therefore, because of colonialism, the Aborigine people lost their lands, were driven into impoverished areas, lost their sources of income, and were not included in the labor market, thus could not get any form of employment. Furthermore, the communities lost their values and culture through being unwillingly assimilated and lost their liberties in the society. Presently, different Aboriginal communities are still marginalized from the rest of the nation because of development of programs, policies, and practices that satisfy the racial needs of white people and not those of marginalized groups such as the Aborigines. Our own nation has struggled fromn then effects of racism due to both colonialism and slavery.

On the other hand, degradation of the environment has negative ramifications for everyone in the society. Nevertheless, specific people continue to be affected more severely and faster compared to others. According to Leopold, the central principle of a land ethic is being concerned about the land and people, which is a moral code of conduct that emanates from these interrelated caring connections. This aspect has been ignored, and the populations in frontline countries have been the targets of imperialism, genocide, and colonialism as well as racism. These countries are also more severely affected by environmental degradation, climate changes, and pollution. They have continued to be the dumping grounds of toxins and waste, which including waste from wars.

Populations that reside in such frontline countries do not have sufficient resources to avoid harm or to acclimate to the damage that emanates from climatic changes. The nations that are internationally dominant have been colonizing and exploiting resources and labor from other countries. Therefore, they consume the most significant percentage of resources. They release the most amount of carbon into the atmosphere and are responsible for most of the pollution on the planet. Majority of these nations do want to finance endeavors to deal with and repair the damage that has resulted from their policies and negatively degraded frontline countries. This continues to this day and is only intensified by the constant need for certain minerals and metals used to create new technology upon which we have all become reliant.

The outlooks and perceptions of the people in frontline communities and countries have been mainly excluded or marginalized particularly in mainstream environmental movements by the nations that are more globally dominant. Unimpeded sexism and racism, as well as environmental aspects, make such organizations hostile to these populations. Women in the frontline nations have to deal with a more substantial burden associated with the effects of climate change.

As such, their communities are especially defenseless and vulnerable. They depend on natural resources to survive and typically live in areas that have inadequate infrastructure that cannot support their lives. Unpredictable temperatures, drought, and flooding make life too challenging for women in their endeavors to provide food, fuel, and water. Sexism has also forced them to bear the primary responsibility for caring for elders and children, who are other sections of the populations that are vulnerable.

In a less academic tone, the part of philosophy I love is how it connects to our world. All of these examples of marginalization are very real in history and today’s world. And as a way to finish up and tie together everything I’ve learned I will provide real examples of every marginalization covered. To start patriarchal societies are not just found in what our president describes as defecation hole countries to be polite; but also, America.

In America women make significantly less than their male counterparts. In fact, according to a study from The Major Lindsey and Africa “male lawyers can earn 53% more than their female partners.” (carpenter Julia, In high paying jobs) This is upsetting because it shows that even if women go through the same grueling school as men they still are oppressed and get more than half of their pay withheld. However due to the feminism movement it has been going down. For example, women now comprise more of the medical students in our nation than do men, proving that Beauvoir’s plan to expose this gap is helping.

Next up is racism in America. Although the Aboriginal communities is a great example I want to show an American one. Racism is sadly as old as this country. I even dare to say that our country was founded on racism. The first example is simply our pre industrial economy. Slaves were the back bone of essential labor picking the product of plants such as tobacco and cotton. In fact, it seems that as one group is liberated another become oppressed in a weird cultural Marxism type of way. First it was the Blacks who still haven’t fully become equals, then the Chinese and the building of the transcontinental railroad.

Then Mexicans were forced to live on horrible wages picking cabbage and other crops in California. You’re lying to yourself if you say they’re not the modern slaves. They take all the jobs no one else is willing to and get paid nothing despite hazards, extreme labor, and a government who doesn’t want them here. This proves that racism is in the USA and we haven’t been able to kick it. America is addicted to racism like cigarettes and isn’t willing to go through the withdrawal of stopping it. Racism allows us to justify the exploitation of these minority groups and helps us look past the lives lost building our country.

Lastly is Leopold’s land ethics. This is a prime example of triangle trade from Britain’s crown on the USA in its colonial days. Britain used all their natural resources so they came to America to use it as a mine. Exploiting the US by paying nothing for natural recourses then up selling it for crazy profit in the eastern world. This is a prime example of imperialism. Even worse is Africa which has been subject to genocide, for nothing more than diamonds.

Therefore, in the end all these philosophers have prime examples proving their theory. That’s why when kids in our class put their heads down and fall asleep, things I’m guilty of too, it makes me upset. Philosophy is much more than thought to me. Every philosopher has had their theories proven in time again and again. The only way to fix a nation is to think about it problems and the possible solutions.

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