Marginalization and what it means to be marginalized in the present American society   



This paper is a research essay on the question of what it means to be “marginalized” in the current U.S. society. Marginalized people represent the segment of the population which suffers from exclusion from the mainstream social, economic, political, and cultural benefits of the society (Lunsford, Ruszkiewicz, and Walters 52). It is shocking that there exists some U.S. citizens who are marginalized even though America is among the developed nations in the world, and is considered to be a global economic powerhouse. In essence, none of its citizens should be sidelined and pushed to the extreme margins of the society. Thus, in seeking the meaning of what it means to be marginalized in the U.S. society today, this paper aims to examine ways which can help solve the problem of marginalization so that there is inclusion and equal representation of all American citizens.

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Marginalization and what it means to be marginalized in the present American society

Marginalization refers to the relegation or singling out of a section of the population by a dominant class of people, to a lower or outer edge of the society. The dominant group consists of the well-privileged in the community and they portray the relegated group as less important or undeserving. The edging out could involve exclusion of that particular populace from what constitutes the social, cultural, economic, or political domains of the larger population mainly due to age, race, a socially disadvantaging demographic feature, gender, or religion. Usually, there are devastating impacts which occur as a result of marginalization because of the fact that it pushes people to the lowest precincts of the society.

Most often, marginalized people do not have the opportunity to enjoy rights and liberties through which they can fulfill and realize their potentials. Also, the well-represented people as well as those who have recognizable positions in the society have a tendency of ignoring the expectations, needs, and desires of the marginalized thereby rendering them devoid of the basic human necessities. In addition, their wanting state which is characterized by a ‘lack of value’ is the reason why they are frequently left out of vital matters pertaining to their communities, such as decision making and development projects. The meaning of being marginalized derives from the various forms of marginalization hence to be marginalized in the present U.S. society implies the following:

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Social relegation

This is a state of denial and exclusion of people from the full participation in the social, political, cultural and economic aspects of the society and even the process that leads to and sustenance of that state of exclusion. And so, to be marginalized in the present society of America means that a segment of the population is deprived of the opportunities for taking part in the societal social, economic, political and cultural matters (Frank and Rice 392). This disregards the concept of social inclusion as is stated in the Vision 2030 providing entitlement for all people to reaping from the gains of prosperity and enjoyment of the minimum welfare standards.

According to the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals, all persons and every segment of the society should be free from poverty and hunger. In essence, they ought to have healthy living standards and proper access to social amenities such as education, information and medical facilities. But it is shocking that such an inclusive focus of the development goals has not worked for the non-whites in America who languish in deep poverty and are vulnerable to numerous social injustices (Frank and Rice 394). The victims of these injustices are the people with low social status, whom the society has greatly alienated, made inferior and locked out of the societal benefits.

Lack of participation is a characteristic feature of social exclusion i.e. lacking the rights of access to social services such as medication and education which are the basics of human well-being (Foster and Hagan 45). It can also imply the inability to access material resources like employment, low incomes, land and housing. Now, the grounds on which social marginalization thrives in the present American society are the different levels of socio-economic status, sex, religion, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation and residential places. It is therefore imperative to note that social marginalization is more than material deficiency as it also comes with beliefs of isolation and subordination.

Social marginalization happens where there no accord for equal respect and protection of the rights, liberties and dignity of others. This is a very common occurrence in the present American society where race or color plays a major role in determining the entitlements of citizens. Thus to address the menace of social exclusion, the U.S. administration should develop a program which advocate for equal participation, representation and access to the social services (Frank and Rice 400). There is also need to ensure strict adherence to statutes which deal with abuses of the rights, freedoms and dignity of other citizens on the basis of race. It is also important to educate the public on the need for ensuring equal respect and protection of everyone’s rights regardless of their race, and eliminate the problems of social exclusion.

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Racial relegation

To be marginalized in the present American society also means to be relegated on the basis of race (racial relegation). This is evidenced by the numerous citizens who are downgraded and reduced in importance on the basis of their color. United States of America is a capitalist state meaning the control of trade and industry is in the hands of private owners (and not the state). The private owners are mostly whites, have the greatest influence in America and work for their own individual commercial gains (Bobo 87). They also majorly serve the interests of their fellow Whites and this causes a serious divide between them and people of other racial origins hence marginalization on the basis race.

Moreover, the issue of intersection of race and class in America has provided an avenue for subjecting other racial groups to piteous and miserable discourse. Usually, this deprived category of people is the African Americans (Blacks). As such, the white people have a higher ranking and enjoy superiority over the non-whites. This sidelining is attributed to the perception that the interests of the Whites override those of the undeserving, less fortunate and poor non-white citizens hence their edging out to the lowest extremes of the society (Bobo 89). The relegation signifies racial marginalization which is also the reason why there is high degree of poverty among these groups of Americans (the racially marginalized).

Racial marginalization is also evident in the education systems where race and ethnicity of students determines their access to education resources. This notion greatly disadvantages the ethnic and racial minorities who have a poor separate system due to the view that they cannot adopt the aesthetics of the dominant class (Bobo 92). The aesthetics include such things as poor modes of dressing, the inability to speak proper English, religion, cultural practices and beliefs and lacking knowledge of the history of the dominant group (Whites). The marginalized hence attend schools in low-income neighborhoods which are not consistent with the culture of the Whites. Thus this is a segregated school system which lacks good ethnic and racial composition.

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Now, the problem of racial marginalization continues to greatly affect most of the U.S. societies and is an issue that seems not to be ending soon. But the high level of racial relegation and its rampant impacts are due to the absence of community engagement and integration. Hence, to address the problem of racial marginalization, U.S. government should come up with a community engagement and integration plan to help in ensuring that people of different races embrace the diversity of their population in America (Vue, Haslerig and Allen 880). This would make it possible to foster a positive, institutional and structural inclusion of all races. There would therefore be no moral justification for having differential treatments by looking at the color of people since all are incorporated together.

Political relegation

Being marginalized in the current U.S. society means political relegation and which mainly affects the Black Americans. This is due to the more extreme oppression that these people face as compared to other racial cohorts in America. Political marginalization is more disadvantageous than other forms because it exposes the victims to a lot of injustices like infringement of individual freedoms and electoral injustice (Vue, Haslerig and Allen 870).  Even though there have been efforts by civil rights campaigners to eliminate cases of political marginalization, the efforts of such movements have faced serious hurdles to the point of stagnating. As a result, the total bottom place continues to be the feature that is synonymous with the African Americans.

Creation of the institutions such as criminal justice systems has not brought forth any hope for the politically marginalized. This is due to the fact that the establishments have aided in further pushing of the African Americans to the bottom position of the society. In the same breath, it is even easier for the institutions to remain with the negative impression which surrounds the marginalized while ensuring significant upward mobility of the dominant group. And it is shocking that any attempt by the black citizens to go up the political ladder meets tough resistance (Vue, Haslerig and Allen 871-872). In the event that such a vision is not impaired, there is a likelihood of reversal by the institutional implications.

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Therefore, there are conscious and unconscious impacts that this style of marginalization and the designs which institutions like the criminal justice system have on the relegated Blacks. That is, the systems exist to keep a race of people on a negative trend while striving to ensure sustained flow of privileges to the White Americans. Although the Blacks political, social and economic stand is beneficial to the conventional society in every aspect, the mainstream society has failed to advocate for a society with total justice and equality (Bobo 104). The lack of commitment is an indication of the unwillingness of the mainstream society to sacrifice for every citizen.

Therefore, a solution to the challenge of political marginalization is designing of a system to ensure there is no positioning of rights within certain confines where only the privileged Whites get the benefits. Also, there is need to empower the civil society organizations that are campaigning against the bottom societal positions of the African Americans so that these victims can rise. Moreover, White political domination should be discouraged by all means possible to give way for appreciating any Black citizen with a desire to develop the relegated African American communities. This can offer an escape route from the various injustices that are being meted on people as a result of political marginalization (Vue, Haslerig and Allen 872). Otherwise, the long wait for equality in the American political society will continue with its ravaging consequences on the marginalized.

Economic marginalization

Moreover, to be marginalized in the U.S. society today means to be subjected to economic exclusion. This form of marginalization is characterized by the divide between the working and non-working classes because of race. Visser et al. (246) notes that numerous groups of people are economically marginalized resulting in an ever increasing level of inequality and unequal economic growth patterns. It is worth noting that the effects of economic relegation are more common in the labor markets where the race and ethnic factors play a significantly role. In other words, the racial and ethnic origin of a person determines their chances of landing a job.

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There is a high level of unemployment rates among the economically marginalized people who are also known to have very little incomes. These people are the minorities who are majorly the African Americans and those of the Muslim and Asian origins. As a result of the economic relegation, they are victims of exclusion from the labor force, an issue which is also becoming untenable and unbearable for many. This is because despite a good number of them only managing to get menial jobs, they still suffer from greater uninsured rates and struggle to climb the economic ladder. This is in spite of the fact that the United States of America has reportedly made huge economic gains over the last decade (Visser et al. 251).

Although the working class mainly comprises of the White Americans, there are some of them who continue to suffer from economical marginalization. This category of workers is the young Americans who are below the age of twenty four years and their exclusion from job opportunities is formed from the opinion of their lack of experience. The statistics of joblessness among these American youths is dramatically worse owing since the economic mobility is not attainable to many of them (Frank and Rice 395). Because of this, they are faced with the challenge of trying to maintain their relevance and strengthening their competitive potentials to secure job opportunities in the ever growing economy of the U.S.

There is therefore need for structural changes and developments in the economy of America to address the problem of the ever growing inequality (Foster and Hagan 47-48). In addition, the government of America should involve economic policy makers in formulating an economic recovery plan which will see creation of jobs and growth of businesses where the young jobless people can get an opportunity. But most importantly, is economic inclusion. This is a policy which ought to be advocated by all stakeholders so as to bridge the gap between the working and non-working class. As such, the country will be on the road to solving the plight of the economically marginalized people in the society.

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The U.S. has greater statistics of the marginalized people in its present society. Such people are either economically, politically, racially or socially relegated with the main cause of this being difference in race, socio-economic status and ethnicity. The marginalization has had a host of negative impacts to the victims for example poor-living standards, illiteracy, low incomes and unemployment. The government of the United States of America should therefore not put a blind eye to the cry of these disadvantaged groups of people. Instead, it should initiate development projects to have the bottom strata of the society (the relegated or marginalized people) incorporated in the social development and empowerment projects with the rest of the other people. Inclusion and integration of people from every race is a benchmark for the equal and sustainable economic development, if it is particularly adopted with both short-term and long-term focuses.

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  1. Bobo, Lawrence D. “Racism in Trump’s America: reflections on culture, sociology, and the 2016 US presidential election.” The British Journal of Sociology, vol. 68, no. 1, pp. 85-104. http://10.1111/1468-4446.12324. Accessed 15 October, 2017.
  2. Foster, H. and John Hagan. “Maternal imprisonment, economic marginality, and unmet health needs in early adulthood.” Elsevier, vol. 99, pp. 43-48. Accessed 14 October, 2017.
  3. Frank, J.M. and Karen Rice. “Perceptions of poverty in America: using social empathy to reframe students’ attitudes.” Journal of Social Work Education, vol. 36, no. 4, pp. 391-402. Accessed 15 October 2017
  4. Lunsford, A.A., John J. Ruszkiewicz, ‎and Keith Walters. Everything’s an argument, 7th ed. New York: Bedford, 2017. Print.
  5. Visser et al. “From economic integration to socioeconomic inclusion: day labor worker centers as social intermediaries.” Journal of Urban Geography, vol. 38, no. 2, pp. 243-265. Accessed 14 October, 2017.
  6. Vue, R., Siduri Jayaram Haslerig, and Walter R. Allen. “Affirming race, diversity, and equity through Black and Latinx students’ lived experiences.” American Educational Research Journal, vol. 54, no. 5, pp. 868-903. Accessed 15 October, 2017
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