Racial inequality is a persistent characteristic of the United States that must be eradicated. These inequalities are deep, systemic, isolated, and cumulative in American society. Civil servants and government agencies are, at least in part, responsible for promoting and sustaining these inequalities. The actions of the public sector indirectly influence the historical and contemporary consequences of racial inequality. Racial inequality in the United States is exceptionally high and extends to various areas of the social life of discriminated people (Gooden, 2015). For example, education is an essential factor in understanding social inequality. There is a strong positive relationship between education and economic well-being. In many ways, advances in higher education are seen as the most promising investments in combating racial discrimination.
The structure of racial distribution is mutually aggravated and permeates many aspects of public policy that significantly affect a person’s life chances. Environmental inequalities affect health inequities, which affect educational disparities, and so on. Before 1949, the FHA (Federal Housing Administration) also encouraged the use of restrictive agreements to prevent African Americans from living in certain areas and refused to insure mortgages in integrated neighborhoods (Gooden, 2015). Government-sponsored housing models in the United States were deliberately designed to support the spread of racial inequality.
Throughout U.S. history, there have been attempts to combat racism, the most memorable of which was the failed Civil War. Regardless of the reasons for the failure, Reconstruction aimed to improve the lives and civil liberties of freedmen. At the same time, it put many black Americans in conditions that could hardly be improved over slavery. For example, the political disenfranchisement of state constitutions from 1890 to 1908 effectively prohibited most blacks and many poor whites from voting. Although legally equal in the south, black Americans were subject to segregation laws, violence from white supremacists.
People from all over the world consider the United States of America as their home country. As the scale of national diversity continues to expand, it is also necessary to support the development of the state apparatus. Various organizations, including state and local governments, will need to ensure that their institutions can communicate, provide services to an increasingly diverse and linguistically diverse population. The Hispanic community has a long and varied history in the United States. Many Hispanics can trace their ancestry back to Texas in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
The United States Congress, through the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended, required a U.S. census for defining bilingual elections. The 1970 U.S. Census provided an insight into the nation’s growing diversity for the first time, as it included the ability for respondents to indicate Spanish ancestry in an extended U.S. census form (Norman-Major & Gooden, 2015). However, the implications of public policies for a growing and changing population required greater accuracy in reporting. Government administrators during the Nixon administration adopted the term Hispanic in 1973 (Norman-Major & Gooden, 2015). As a result of the census, the country’s population was divided into five different groups, including the Hispanic.
Despite the desire to support the indigenous population, the resolution noted racial, economic, and political discrimination. A group of Hispanics have also been targeted and denied their essential opportunities as American citizens. In addition, an improved assessment of Hispanic Americans’ economic and social status would assist state and federal governments in identifying the needs of this population. This fact, however, was ignored by both local and state authorities, which also put the Hispanic population at a disadvantage.
The efforts of the police department should be aimed at building trust and establishing a working relationship with the Hispanic community. For example, a number of Hispanic residents did not report crime-related incidents due to a lack of faith in the police department. In Latin America, many police officers are corrupt, and, in general, citizens lack confidence in their ability to carry out their duties. This lack of trust that came with new immigrants to the United States has become a cultural barrier. The government’s goal is to give those whose mother tongue is Spanish equal access to government and city councils and timely protection. Exercising cultural competence will help local government leaders better understand the people they serve, as lack of understanding is not an excuse for neglect.
Historically, federal Indian policy has been implemented primarily through the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). For many years, indigenous peoples have been assimilating into the dominant English-speaking (European and American) culture to remove indigenous cultures from the United States. Examples include the forcible placement of Indian children in BIA boarding schools and their termination by the Indigenous Congress (Norman-Major & Gooden, 2015). Cultural conflict and the aftermath of other similar assimilationist policies have had a devastating impact on the mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being of Native Americans since First Contact. Politicians assumed that cultural genocide would lead to the complete absorption of Native American peoples into mainstream America. The government also believed that native languages and traditions would practically disappear, as most immigrants did, but this did not happen.
Due to cultural factors, a person’s life with GLBT develops differently than that of a not GLBT person. The development process, coupled with cultural and location characteristics, results in vastly different ways GLBT people interact with the public sector. Government officials should be aware that, unlike most other minorities, LGBTQIA+ individuals may or may not have legal protections. To a large extent, this depends on the state jurisdiction in which they work or live.
At the federal level, people with GLBT do not have the legal protection of spousal rights due to the adoption of the Law on the Protection of Marriage (1996). People with LGBTQIA+ also often face discrimination in hiring and promotion. For example, a 1995 study of employment factors in one large county found that there were no GLBT executives in the H.R. agency (Norman-Major & Gooden, 2015). Discrimination in recruitment and promotion points to the need to enhance cultural competence in government practice and work.
There are many laws at the state and local levels that protect LGBTQIA+ in some states, but this is not common. Thirteen states plus the District of Columbia do not discriminate based on gender identity/expression or sexual orientation, according to a study by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Eight more states prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, thereby supporting LGBTQIA+ (Norman-Major & Gooden, 2015). On the other hand, three states restrict the adoption of children by same-sex couples, and four states completely prohibit parental adoption of GLBT. Many states still oppose GLBT marriages or other forms of legally recognized relationships.
The specificity of studying the problem of social inequality within the framework of political science research is associated not with the existence of inequality but with the analysis of the activities of the state. The policy pursued by the ruling elite to minimize inequality, reflecting it in the public consciousness, is subjected to a moral assessment of imbalance as just or unjust. I realized that it is the assessment of how unfair treatment leads to the formation of various socio-political ideas, movements, organizations, institutions. In the future, these organizations will support and spread discrimination against different social groups like LGBTQIA+ and national minorities.
An unfair assessment actualizes specific political processes, often activates illegitimate ways of presenting and defending their interests by actors of political life. The study of the political aspects of social inequality has a pronounced applied value in my future professional activities. The authorities and society’s superficial perception of this problem can lead to the disintegration of social space, a significant increase in tension, and the risk of political upheavals.
1) During the semester, we read a large amount of informative literature related to the topic of Social Equality and Public Administration. I was incredibly impressed by Susan T. Gooden’s book Race and social equity. A nervous area of government. I like how much the topic of racial discrimination is covered and that the issue is covered from different angles. In addition to this book, I would also recommend Swan and French’s article Cultural Competency Around Sexual and Gender Orientation and Identity, which talks about the problems of the LGBT community that still exist today.
2) I am more interested in topics that are currently on the agenda, such as racism and homophobia. During the course, we studied various historical aspects of the emergence of discrimination in different communities in detail. I liked it, and I consider it helpful knowledge for a modern person. In addition to the above topics, I would also like to study the issue of equality between women and men, that is, the problems and development of feminism.
Gooden, S. (2015). Race and social equity: A nervous area of government. Routledge.
Norman-Major, K. A., & Gooden, S. (2015). Cultural competency for public administrators. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.