In this essay I will be looking at reasons into why I think Britain is an unequal society. Firstly I will look at 4 concepts and give examples of these. The four concepts I will be looking at are Prejudices, Stereotyping, Marginalisation and Social exclusion. Prejudices – this term refers to people who have a fixed set of attitudes about a particular group of people in society that people are normally unwilling, unable or often uninterested in changing.
An example of a prejudice act would be if someone is walking in a secluded area at night, and a group of senior citizens who are walking with walking sticks, come from the opposite side of the road, the person will not feel threatened. However, if instead of senior citizens, three teenagers dressed in jeans and t-shirts with lots of metal chains around their neck are approaching from the other side, then the person might feel threatened a bit, even without any kind of provocation from their end.
Stereotyping – this term refers to someone who places characteristics on a group of people involving gender, ages, race, colour, national origin and any other factors which are oversimplified generalisations. An example of stereotyping would be if you met someone for the first time and they had blonde hair you may think that they are dumb because people stereotype blondes into being ditzy and not very smart. Marginalisation – this term refers to individuals who are pushed to the edge of society because of their age, gender, sexuality, colour, race etc and are unable to enjoy the way of life that others enjoy.
An example of marginalisation could be if a man or women within a society decided that they wanted to be a transsexual and dress up as the opposite sex, people who live alongside them in society may not be able to or want to cope with why a person would want to do that and instead of trying to understand that individuals points of views and beliefs then they would dismiss them and try to make them feel pushed out and unable to live alongside others within their society.
Social exclusion – this is the situation for people who suffer from a variety of problems for example unemployment, poor housing, bad health which causes them to be excluded from society. An example of social exclusion would be if an individual suffered from an illness such as AIDs or HIV and lived in poor housing then they could find themselves being socially excluded from their society due to the linking problems of poor health and poor living situation. I will now go onto look at life chances in society and why life chances are unequal.
A life chance is the chances that sections of society have of achieving the things that are valued by their society for example money, health, relationships and education. You are able to measure the inequality of life chances by calculating and comparing the life chances of different individuals. Some people would say that life chances are unequal as some people face discrimination, prejudice and stereotyping when trying to gain the life chances such as employment, housing and health.
For example if someone from a poor area of London went for a job interview they may not be given an equal chance as someone who is from a stable family life with a work history, which would show why some people feel that Britain is an unequal society. However some other may argue that Britain is not an unequal society because it offers free health care to everyone through the NHS, free education and with hard work everyone is able to make something of themselves because they have all the tools handed to them in order to do so, however this is a very controversial topic and depends of personal experience and opinions.
In my personal opinion I feel that Britain has always been an unequal society, class has ruled how people live their lives and who is accepted by other and who is not. Years ago people were judged on how much land they owned or how many cows grazed in their fields, although Britain’s way of life has moved on and changed the concept remains the same. Now people are judged on how good their job is, how big their house is or how expensive their cars are.
Although as some people argue that people of Britain are given free education and free health care I feel that schools in deprived areas do not have as much funding as schools from non deprived areas which shows that Britain still is not fully equal. If Britain wanted to be an equal society then all school all over Britain should be given the same amount of funding, supplies, resources and teaching staff in order to better the children who attend these schools. I also think that stereotyping is a massive part of why Britain is such an unequal society and have seen this first hand recently.
From my personal experience about 3 weeks ago my friend who lives in Scarborough, is 20 years of age and has recently become a single mum to a 9 month old baby boy. She had to move out of her house with her ex partner and find somewhere she was able to afford for her and her baby to move into. She has housing benefit from the government which means that they pay a fixed weekly amount into her bank account in order for her to be able to afford rent on a flat or house.
She applied for a flat that she had seen and the landlord personally rung her up to tell her he did not accept DSS, that she was un suitable and in an unreliable category because of her age and circumstance and that she should go looked for a property elsewhere. My friend was mostly angry because the landlord had judged her on her situation before he had even got to know her. From my personal experiences I think that Britain needs to accept people into society as equals and that they should remain that way until they give people a reason to treat them any differently.