Race and Local Community

Introduction

Living in this complicated world I always paid attention to people, to their inner world and personalities and I have understood that being so different and individual we all have much in common. We can feel and that is the most important feature that relates to people who live in different countries, eats different food, wear different clothes, have a different color of skin and like different things. My community is various but living together in this world we try to interact and understand each other in the best way we can.

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Main body

Every community is different. Some are large, and others are small. One community can be 200 years old and another may have been started just 10 years ago. But all communities have much in common. All communities have places where people live. Communities also have stores, schools, and places of worship. Most communities also have people who make laws and perform legislative functions. Communities are started for different reasons. Some are started where there is good farmland for growing crops. Many communities are started near the transportation centers. Communities also grow because of the jobs they offer.

Of course, many people in my country think that the ideal place to live is a village set in attractive countryside. To those living in towns, villages conjure up images of peace, a slow pace of life, pretty cottages, and a country bar. But living in a village may be inconvenient, especially for people without a car, as many village shops have been forced to close and public transport services are limited. Most people now live in towns, in city suburbs, or in larger villages, which have become dormitory communities for nearby towns.

I was always interested in my local community history that is made up of people who have lived here, important events that have happened there, and even old buildings. All these things helped to develop our community. There are two opposite points of view about community development. One of them says that everything is governed by ideas ( religion, revolutionary ideas, etc.) and it helps to organize the community life. The second point denies the considered plan and affirms just to start struggling.

My community is a small world with its laws and traditions. Living in the community I have understood that the most important thing is to feel that you are not only a member of the community but also an integral part of it. I must say that it is a great problem especially if you differ from other people and feel that they unusually treat you. I have never experienced this because I look like many members of my community.

But I met people who had problems because they were treated differently. Though to my mind, everything depends on breeding. It is a task of every parent to bring up a child in such a way so he can respect the people of other races, nations, and beliefs. The reason for the racial problem in the community I live in is public senescence and openness of country boundaries. It is a well-known fact that society is getting older.

With further developments in medicine more and more people can expect to live a long time. This means that senior citizens (people about 65) may become a more powerful group, but it also means that services for them will need to improve. I must say that the leaders of the community pay great attention to this. They take care of elder people and their well-being. For people who have enough money from their pension and who are in good health, the years of retirement may be an opportunity to do some of the things they did not have time for when they were working and bringing up a family.

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Some people take courses, some go on more vacation, others do voluntary work and continue to use the skills they learned for their job. Public transport, theatres, and sometimes restaurants give discounts to retired people to encourage them to go out. Usually, senior citizens are expected to be active, if their health permits, and the sight of 70-year-old lifting weights in a gym is not uncommon. Many elderly people, however, have a more difficult age. Those who rely on social security have to spend most of their money on food and heating and have little left for luxuries. Others have poor health and can not move around easily.

Many are lonely. Usually, such people get an apartment in a retirement community, where they are near people of their age and where there is somebody nearby to provide help if they need it, and it does not matter what color of skin they have. Formally the leader of the community treats everybody equally, but actually, the difference is vivid. People who differ from others can face some difficulties sometimes. We live in a society that is made up of people from many different racial and cultural backgrounds. The mainstream includes white people whose ancestors were from Europe. This mainstream group is of mixed origin but consists entirely of white people. Other racial or cultural groups that are present in smaller numbers are ethnic minorities. (Garwood, Gardani, Peris (1995).

The term mainstream and ethnic minority point out and reinforce divisions in society, whereas the phrase multicultural society suggests that the different groups are part of a whole. Society is divided with some groups receiving better treatment or having more opportunities than others, but many attempts have been made to reduce discrimination and to increase harmony and understanding between people from all cultural backgrounds.

Throughout history, minority groups have always faced prejudice. During the main period of immigration, each new group of immigrants was treated with suspicion by those already there. The groups that suffered most were those whose color or physical features were most distinctive. Black people, now widely called Africans, who had been brought as slaves, suffered both on the account of their color and because of their former status.

These people are still discriminated against and maybe under-represented in certain jobs. After World War II, considerable progress was made to improve the position of minorities. The civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s brought about changes in the law that improved social conditions for minority groups, especially black people. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was created in 1965 to make employers follow laws forbidding discrimination at work. (Garwood, Gardani, Peris (1995).

I must admit that minorities are in a much better position now than at the beginning of the century. There is also respect among many white people for the good things that cultural diversity brought. But discrimination is still present. Black people earn less money, on average, than Whites, and have shorter lives. It is a well-known fact that people of different races trust each other less than as if they belong to one. White people do not like the idea of social support because they see their destination as helping the minorities. Discrimination is a negative process that takes place not only in my community but all over the world as well.

The media sources state that the balance of multicultural societies is changing now. The African and Hispanic populations are growing faster than the white population. Ethnic minorities feel considerable pride in their cultural origin and keep alive their traditional festivals and practices. But, provided that there is no serious decline in the country’s economy, racial harmony amongst the majority of the population seems likely to continue.

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Many members of my community have ancestors who were immigrants. Usually the word immigrant has a positive meaning here. People are proud to say that their ancestors were immigrants who came with very little and built a better life for themselves. Though immigration is a very important problem now. It is strictly controlled. Normally, only people from European Union and certain Commonwealth citizens can get permission to live here.

The right to stay may also be given to people from other countries who have special skills, and to asylum seekers and refugees. From time to time reports immigrants are entering the country illegally hidden in lorries or ships. Many are deported, and though it is possible to appeal against deportation it may take several years for a case to be decided. (Oxford Guide to British and American Culture) It is a fact that there are a lot of people in the area I live in who have illegal status and they are really afraid to be deported because they earn here much more in comparison they earned in their country.

Though some of them have relatives and children who stayed in the country they came from. Illegal immigrants cause a great problem for citizens because sometimes they agree to work for lower wages than citizens do. Of course, it is very profitable for the employer but bad for the citizens who stay unemployed. The members of my community are not very consistent in their attitudes towards immigration.

They are proud of their ancestors who were immigrants but want to keep other people out. The mainstream culture is still that of white people whose ancestors came from northern Europe. There is a fear that people from other cultures may change our country in ways we do not want. Many people believed that immigrants should not cling to their original culture but should become part of our culture. (Project on Structural Racism and Community Revitalization)

More recently, there have been great efforts to integrate people from ethnic minorities into local communities and to develop a multicultural society based on equality and acceptance.

Many people in my community say with pride that there are no class differences here, but it is not true, to my mind. Class differences exist but social mobility is possible with hard work. Here people consider that everything is based on people’s ability, provided they use enough effort, to reach any goal is not to reach the upper classes, and most people like to think that they are middle-class. The key to the class system is money.

Anyone can live in a pleasant house in a good area of town and send their children to a top university if they have enough money. Money is obtained through hard work, and so high social class is seen as a reward for effort. People who improve their social position are proud of being self-made men or women, but those who come from rich families are thought to have an unfair advantage. Sometimes it can be difficult to know what social class a person belongs to.

A person’s accent does not usually indicate class, merely the part of the country they come from. Even people with a lot of money send their children to state-run schools, and people who do blue-collar jobs encourage their children to get a good education and to become lawyers, doctors, etc. During the 1980s differences between rich and poor became greater, and in some very poor areas, the quality of education is low, making it more difficult for people to move into a higher class. Social mobility is easiest for whites. People of other ethnic origins, particularly Africans and Hispanics, still experience strong discrimination and are treated worse, and are given fewer opportunities than other people of similar ability.

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Gender problem is very important and current nowadays. Women are becoming more and more independent today. They take part in all spheres of life and sometimes they are more successful than men are. Sometimes women gamble on discrimination now and it helps them to occupy good positions in life and at work. Women were always struggling for their rights and now they begin to get everything they wanted. It does not give positive results often.

The number of divorces increases every day and one of the reasons for this is that women are not satisfied with their family life. They want to be more independent and they don’t want to stand for anything that they don’t like. It is often the case when a woman does not take care of her children, usually, her goal is to be independent and strong. Women are not family-oriented anymore and besides, they are losing their feminity. To my mind, it is a result of gender discrimination.

Women were discriminated against for many years and now they want to be equal with men and have the same rights and responsibilities. Very often we see a man living with his two children and taking care of them. He brings them to school, then he goes to work and picks them up on his way home. He cooks dinner for them and helps to do their homework. I have a neighbor who has such a way of life, and I must say that looking at him I think that men seem to be discriminated against by women.

My community seems to be very peaceful during the religious holidays. Such great religious holidays as Christmas and Easter keep people together. The church is the only place where nobody is discriminated against in my community, even if you have other beliefs. We are all equal before God. We are all created by God and must have equal rights. (Diversity and Community)

If I had enough power to change something in my community I would make changes at school. Racial and gender discrimination starts in childhood. It is very important to pay attention to breeding. We should do our best for our children to understand that all people are equal and it does not matter what color of skin they have. Very often children take their parents’ opinion and view to a problem. That is why school teachers have a great mission – to help the child to understand that friends are not chosen by the color of skin or gender. I would suggest teachers explain the importance of the inner world of any person. We are human beings and there can not be any contradiction between us.

It is human nature to be a part of a family (I mean a group of people), big or small. Everybody lives in a group the whole life and it is very important to feel that you are a part of this group.

I would say that my community is rather friendly and we don’t have some big problems with racial character. Life seems to be peaceful here. We don’t have any incidents of racial or gender character here. On the contrary, we have many mixed marriages and I must say that such marriages are very stable and live a long time. Though some people consider mixed marriages to be intolerable.

Conclusion

Researching the problem of racial influence in my community I have understood that this problem will always exist and it is very difficult to solve it. Though we must do our best to contribute to friendship and peace between people of different colors and gender.

References cited

Christopher Garwood, Guglielmo Gardani, Edda Peris. Aspects of Britain and the USA. Oxford University Press. 1995.

Diversity and Community: A Multi-Religious Statement on Social Responsibility in the Context of Ethnic, Cultural, Racial and Religious Diversity in the United States. Web.

Oxford Guide to British and American Culture. Oxford University Press. 2000.

Project on Structural Racism and Community Revitalization. Web.

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