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Explain The Manner In Which Irish People Have Been Racialized In Britian And Discuss The Impact On People Of Irish Ethnicty Living In That Country

1685 words - 7 pages

Over the course of the past few centuries the racialization and treatment of the Irish people in Britain has changed dramatically. This is due in part, to the paradigm surrounding the dynamic and fluctuating relationship between both nations. From the colonization, subjugation and simeonization of the Irish people, as British subjects, during the eighteenth and nineteenth century; through to the dichotomy created around the question for the British government of, ‘What to do with the Irish?’, arising from the formation of the Irish Free State and further compounded by the subsequent Irish withdrawal from the commonwealth, during the time surrounding the formation of the Irish Republic in ...view middle of the document...

By defining these characteristic as being different on a biological level, it affords the dominant group the ability to acquire and wield power over the constructed ‘other’, through a process of racialization, and by installing the ‘self’ in a hierarchical position of superiority over the inferior ‘other’ (Miles and Brown 2003). The idea of racial differences and racialization is historically premised on now defunct pseudo-sciences, designed to create a process by which the subjugation and segregation of a so called ‘lessor race’, is orchestrated to dehumanize the ‘other’ for the befit of the ‘self’ and the dominant group (Hickman 1998). This can be viewed historically by the vast economic wealth generated in the nineteenth century from the trade and brutal exploitation of black Africans, by the governing white Europeans during the slave trade. This process of dehumanization, allowed the ‘Whites’ the moral freedom to view the ‘Others’, Black African natives, as a source of free labour and economic gain. Thus sanctioning the powerful and dominant colonizing nations’ the grant to swell their economic coffers, safe in their moral freedom from considering the slaves as nothing more than atavistic beasts, placed there by God for the economic befit of the dominant ‘self’. The binary nature of the historical human creation of racialization, and the ensuing ‘Black - White’ dichotomy, through a further process of stereotyping and racism, has had far reaching consequences, continuously being endured to this day (Walter 1998); and its influence is still aiding and abetting the widening chasm of social stratification currently being experienced right across the western world (Punch et al. 2013). In a nut shell, racialization is the process of categorising different social and ethnic groups into a perceived and constructed hierarchy, internalized in and by the dominant group, with the purpose of exerting power over the inferior ‘other’ to sustain the superior status of the ‘self’.
The concept of ethnicity, like ‘race’, is a social construct. The divergence of the concepts manifests in the idea that a person’s cultural identity defines their ethnicity rather than the phonotypical superiority rooted and abound with the concept of ‘race’. A person’s cultural identity, according to Giddens, may or may not be exclusively determined by their biological indicators, but also and more importantly, by how they dress, the marriage customs they engage in, their family life, patterns of work, religious ceremonies, leisure pursuits and goods created, which for them become meaningful markers of ethnicity (Giddens 1993). Although, with the use of the anthropological element of the sociological imagination, it is easy to see the two concepts are not mutually exclusive. It is not very difficult to highlight cases of racism born out of differing cultural identities, for example the ongoing racialization of the Roma ethnicity right across Europe; and the perception of the...

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