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Examine The Concept Of 'social Exclusion' Linked To Irish Identity

1897 words - 8 pages

Within this essay I am going to explore and examine the concept of social exclusion linked to Irish identity in Britain. I will be exploring the social conditions of the Irish people living in Britain because if first and second generation Irish people are taken together, the Irish form the largest ethnic group in Britain today. In fact, studies have shown that the size of the Irish-born population in Britain has remained stable overall since 1981 at about 845,000. (M, Hickman & B, Walter 1997). Significant experiences of prejudice and discrimination within Britain's Irish community is apparent according to a recent report from the Commission of Racial Equality (Hickman and Walter, 1997). This I will be discussing in more detail later on along with the concern that some Irish migrants have not fared that well and have experienced levels of disadvantages. For example, research suggests that Irish people in Britain experience disproportionately high levels of serious physical illness, accidents, suicides, premature deaths and admission rates to psychiatric hospital. Anti-Irish prejudice is deeply embedded in English culture; one only has to look at all the anti-Irish jokes that have been around for centuries. Successive waves of conquerors have tried to justify their ruthless ambitions by denigrating the Irish, just at they denigrated their other victims - native Americans, Africans, Indians, women, the working class ect. British imperial conceit has been fostered over eight centuries and is still alive and continues today by politicians, journalists, cartoonists and TV comedians which helps to obscure the truth of Britain's role in Ireland and sets back the prospect of a solution. Let it be known that this is a complex question, so therefore by providing specific evidence, also could be seen as arguable to others depending on individual beliefs. Therefore I have chosen to be selective, as no attempt will be made to be encyclopaedic, rather I have selected some of the cardinal strengths within the subject matter.So what is social exclusion? According to Barry, M & Hallet, C, "Social exclusion is defined as a multi-dimensional disadvantage which severs individuals and groups from the major social progresses and opportunity's in society. Such as housing, citizenship, employment and adequate living standards and may be manifested in various forms at various times and within various sections of the population."(1998, P1).The poor social condition of some Irish in Britain has been understood in a variety of ways, for example, some people have focused on the behaviour of Irish people themselves in terms of patterns of ill-health (for instance 'the Irish drink too much'), but this is a stereotypical view of the Irish and should be disregarded by knowing the actual true facts. Health tends to deteriorate with age, and inter-ethnic group differences are thus strongly influenced by the difference in age structure between ethnic groups. The Irish-born...

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