Marginalization can be referred to as a situation where a certain community has been abandoned and no one cares about what it needs or what it should have for it to cope-up with the challenges that it might be going through. Marginalization can be based on various ways: race, region, ethnicity and social classes (Eskridge 1).
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According to Healthy Teen Network, to marginalize is to deny or render someone or a community powerless; it is generally used in the US to identify groups that are not part of the dominant groups in the community. In this paper, the focus will be on marginalization and representation in regard to promotion of equality for sexual orientation and gender identity of minorities (Healthy Teen Network 1).
Formation of Justice
Young Marion in her book Justice and the Politics of Difference argues that instead of focusing on distribution, a formation of justice needs to begin with the concepts of domination and oppression. This is because such a shift highlights the issues of division of labor, decision-making and culture that bears social justice.
However, according to Young, domination and oppression are frequently ignored in philosophical debates. She argues that in some places where social group differences exist and some people are favored while others oppressed, social justice should be applied to undermine oppression by attending to those group differences and ensuring that justice is done to both groups (Young 4).
According to Young Marion, the theory of justice exhibits its own foundation, and it is intended to be independent; it aims to show justice without any bias from either side. It also arises from listening but not from looking in order to provide excellence justice.
Young states that rational reflection on justice starts in hearing and understanding in order to take heed to a call rather than declaring and mastering a state of affairs.
It is difficult to come-up with a theory that stands independent and, which measures its justice (Young 6). If a theory is universal and independent and assumes no certain social situations, practices or institutions, subsequently it is too abstract to be used in evaluating real institutions and practices.
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Marginalization and Representation
Critical theory supposes that normative ideals employed to criticize a society are deeply rooted in their experience and reflection in that particular society since norms can only come from a particular society.
Normative reflection, therefore, comes from hearing the cry and suffering, agony or even grief of oneself. Desire to be happy brings about the distance and contradiction that open a chance for criticism over what it is. The ideas of good and just comes from desiring negation that somebody’s action brings to what is given (Young 6).
Young, states that, the equal treatment principle originated as a formal guarantee of fair comprehensive treatment, she argues that this interpretation of fairness holds back differences. The political differences present a principle of equal treatment with the belief that groups’ differences should be acknowledged in public policy and also in economic institution policies.
The reason behind this is to reduce the present potential oppression in a community and instead encourage harmony that will ensure fair treatment to all. She later argues that there is one way of promoting full participation of these members in the society is through recognizing the particular rights that they have; this is the only way they can liberate themselves from whatever problems they might be undergoing through.
There are many organizations that are representing the marginalized groups. According to Strolovitch, such organizations are significant, and they are also noticeable in Washington’s politics since they fight for the right of the marginalized in the community.
They include organizations such “National Organization for Women (NOW), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)” (Strolovitch 894). Such institutions offer an institutionalized voice for the groups’ concerns, and they also struggle to fight for the groups that still lack sufficient formal representation and those that are still ill-treated (Strolovitch 894).
Representation of Marginalized Groups
According to Strolovitch, there are several ways to measure the effectiveness of representation of the marginalized people. This can well be done through asking such people how well these organizations empower them and lift the less powerful members in that particular community.
Some of these organizations are less interested in helping the oppressed or the marginalized in the community, but they have their own agenda that they seek to accomplish through claiming to be helpful; their aim is directed to other groups, and their target groups are compromised.
Out of the data that Strolovitch gathered from the National Advocacy Organizations, he found out that such advocacies are less active in issues that affect the disadvantaged groups than they are when they are addressing issues that affect the more advantaged sub-groups.
Organization officers are anxiety about representing the disadvantaged subgroups, but their concerns are overruled by the interest to help the advantaged groups hence there is no impact created on the side of the disadvantaged members in the community.
Organizations representing groups such as racial minorities, women and low-income earners exist to represent members and also advocate on behalf of them.
However, they do so while in a political environment, due to this they do not do much in respect of what they ought to instead they continue to marginalize and under represent the members. They continue to claim that their aim is to advocate for the voiceless and the marginalized and that they are motivated to advance social justice and equality to which they do not fulfill these promises (Strolovitch 895).
Strolovitch states that, many people argue that despite the fact that these organizations represent the marginalized groups in the society, they also duplicate the mobilization of bias initiated by Schattschneider. This is accomplished in a manner that the concerns of the marginalized are organized out of politics by leaders who manipulate the set agenda to suit their own interests.
According to Strolovitch, groups can be marginalized or can have inadequate power in various ways, such ways may include: they may be discriminated; they may lack enough financial resources; they may lack electoral power or have few elected representatives; their numbers might be less, and consequently, they may be discriminated against by the larger groups in the society or even the dominant ethnic group.
Strolovitch argues that the minority status should not be a basis on which people should be discriminated or marginalized since this is not necessary, and everybody should advocate for social justice to all at whatever levels. The issue of superiority or inferiority should not be seen in a society but instead peace and unity should prevail throughout.
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When marginalization comes from various forms, it can well be analyzed through theories of intersection, which states that many disadvantages are not static or even do not function along single aspects, but they are dynamic and bound to change.
When marginalization occurs along several intersections such as race, gender and poverty, the political response in regard to disadvantage and oppression in the United States is the formation of interest groups, which can follow policies that are geared to addressing a single aspect of oppression such as race or gender or poverty (Strolovitch 896).
According to Strolovitch, organizing through the use of one axis means that common interests are those that affect the more privileged members in the group. Therefore, the policy issue addressed by organizations has high possibility to be only those that affect the more privileged.
On the other hand, the needs and the claims of intersectionally disadvantaged groups are constructed and outlined as being out of the set single-axis organization. Strolovitch also argues that despite the extensive interest in intersectionality, it has been difficult to measure empirically and also the effects of these organizations.
Strolovitch came up with four-part policy typology which he draws from the insights and strengths of both intersectional and Downsian paradigms. The four-part policy that Strolovitch presents touches on universal issues, majority issues, disadvantaged sub-group issues and the advantaged sub-group issues. He argues that the universal issues theoretically affect the community as a whole and not only the marginalized group in the society.
They are affected regardless of their “ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, class, disability or any other identity” (Strolovitch 896). An example of a universal issue is social security; Strolovitch highlights that such an issue affects everybody in the same way and has an equal opportunity to everyone in the society.
It is impossible for advocacy organizations to speak on behalf of every one, but they can speak on behalf of the marginalized persons in the community. Strolovitch highlights that organizations cannot speak for every member at all times or focuses on the disadvantaged sub-groups at the expense of the majorities.
The concept that it is not selfish to work on behalf of the disadvantaged sub-groups of a society is laid on reasoning that they are not part of the dominant group, and this is considered as an act of charity rather than a common interest and also a responsibility to advocate for these people.
Same Sex Marriage
Gerstmann points out that the issue of same-sex marriage is one of the critical constitutional factors facing Americans today. He continues to say that majority of people felt that the idea of same-sex marriage was not popular, and its arguments were also too radical.
Therefore, they argued that it was better for them to advocate for the marriage of the same-sex in order for them to set their goals such as domestic partnership or civil union. The argument continues over the issue of this group of few people; Gerstmann argued that since same-sex marriage cannot legally be sexually consummated then it is not a real marriage.
According to Gerstmann, even people who seem to be sympathetic and tolerant to equal rights for lesbians and gays are uncertain to support same-sex marriage due to their overwhelming perception that marriage has always been between a man and a woman and that same-sex marriage has been widely condemned.
He argues that equal treatment when deciding whether the same-sex marriage should be legalized or not should guarantee liberty, which is linked in important respect to both sides.
Gerstmann states that same-sex marriage is an issue that challenges our commitment to genuine legal equality and even though many people disagree on the specifics, it is widely agreed with the American legal and academic communities that everybody ought to be treated equally irrespective of their national origin, ethnicity, gender, race or religion.
However, when it comes to the issue related to gays and lesbians, many people are unable to decide or support since the questions as to whether being gay or lesbian is equal to being from a different race or ethnic (Gerstmann 1). Another question that troubles those people who are devoted to legal equality for all is as to whether gays and lesbians are seeking special rights instead of equal rights that all people should have.
Gerstmann argues that America should leave alone the issue of gays and lesbians and focus more on the legal rights that are shared by all the American people and also think of what these rights entail. He argues this on the basis of stating that there are nothing like gays’ rights but instead there are the legal and constitutional rights that should be protected and enjoyed by everybody in a nation.
Currah in his discussion of the international bill of gender rights refers to the right to sexual expression which states that, the right to a self-defined gender identity and every consenting adult has an equivalent right to free sexual expression (Currah 1). The argument in his case is that every person has a right of expression in regard to sexual orientation and this should never be a ground for discrimination.
Currah, Paisley. Transgender Rights. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2006. Print.
Strolovitch, Dara. “Do Interest Groups Represent the Disadvantaged? Advocacy at the Intersections of Race, Class and Gender.” Journal of Politics 68.4 (2008): 894-910. Print.
Eskridge, William. Dishonorable Passions: Sodomy Laws in America, 1861-2003. New
York: Routledge, 2008. Print.
Gerstmann, Evan. Same-Sex Marriage and the Constitution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. Print.
Healthy Teen Network. Preventing Teen Pregnancy among Marginalized Youth. Healthy Teen Network, 2008.
Young, Iris Marion. Justice and the Politics of Difference. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990. Print.