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Discuss how far sociologists would agree that ethnic inequality is the most important cause of social division in modern Britain?

Whilst some sociologists would agree that ethnic inequality is the most important cause of social division in modern Britain since discrimation against certain ethnicities marginalises them in situations such as the workplace, Other sociologists would disagree, and argue that there have been laws and acts put in place which means that ethnicities do not face social division in modern Britain.

Some sociologists would argue that certain ethnicities, such an African-Americans, are more likely to be discriminated against whilst applying for a job and in the workplace itself. This has been seen in the study that Brentrand and Mullainathan conducted: 'Are Emily and Brendan more employable than Lakisha and Jamal?'. During their study, the discovered that applicants with white sounding names were 50% more likely to get called for an interview, even if the African-American names had better resumes. This shows the inequality that certain ethnicities face, and how it reduces their life chances and makes it harder for them to achieve an upward social mobility. So therefore it can be seen that ethnic inequality is the most important cause of social division because it means that ethnicities such as the African-Americans are segregated in many ways.

Furthermore, because certain ethnicities have less life chances it means that they suffer from material deprivation. Material deprivation is where you dont have the necessary essentials to live e.g. Lack of food, shelter etc. Suffering from material deprivations means that particular ethnic groups, such as Bangladeshi's, are unable to afford good quality housing and stable jobs due to a lack of qualifications and this therefore directly influences their life chances as it makes it hard for them to better themselves, putting them in the poverty trap. Therefore, it can be seen that people experience social division in modern Britain because of their ethnic group, and its a cycle that continues throughout generations due to the inability to escape it.

However, some sociologists would argue that ethnic inequality is not the most important cause of social division in modern Britain because of the rules and laws that the governments have introduced. In 1965 the race relations act was introduced and it banned discrimination on the grounds of race, colour or ethnic groups in public places. However, because this act was brief and unfair in some cases, the government re-introduced this law in 1976 under the same name however, now it meant that employers couldnt set up 'blinds' to cover up racist policies. The government, then, went as far as introducing the equality act in 2010 which summed up and simplified all the previous laws in one legislation. It can be seen that many actions have taken place in order to stop the social division that takes place in modern Britain. So therefore, ethnic inequality is NOT the most important cause for the social division that occurs in Britain.

Moreover, some sociologists would argue that age inequality is more important than ethnic inequality because it is the main reason for social division. Age inequality, is where people are treated unfairly on the basis of age. For example, Carrigan and Szmigin (2000) argued that the advertising industry either ignores older people or stereotypes them to be physically ugly or mentally unstable. These labels mean that people of an older age are pushed away from the rest of society because the false and unfair representations that are projected to the audience lead to the self fulfilling prophecy. This is based on the grounds that we as an audience take in messages passively and dont think about them (hypodermic syringe model).

Therefore in weighing up the evidence, it can be seen that although there have been actions put in places to stop ethnic inequality it hasnt worked because we still see discrimination and segregation occuring against some ethnicities in modern Britain. This is seen in many places such as schools and jobs; therefore, is the reason why certain ethnic groups do not perform well in schools and are not as likely to get accepted to jobs compared to people with different ethnic groups.

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