Thursday, 21 May 2009

Juxtaprose 3 'In my father's small council house street in Blantyre, stood a sign saying "This is a social inclusion area". It was resurrected by the council. It was a perfectly normal street, with normal people, a few had bought their council houses, a few hadn't. My father had an active social life (with other residents of other streets where there was no signs stating the status of the street and it's residents) and was therefore far from socially excluded. Having spoken to the neighbours, none of them suffered chronic shyness. Why had the council felt the needed to declare this about his street? Who was socially excluding this street? Why, without the sign, would people assume the street and its residents were socially excluded? It shows that snobbery is often institutionalised, and not just a product of assumptions.' 1 (comment). 'A group at the bottom of a social hierarchy begins to get a special label stigmatizing it. Now that group is recognized everywhere and marked out for discriminatory treatment. Its members can no longer get ordinary employment and must survive through extraordinary measures. They resort more and more to activities outside the pale of normal society and have to survive by doing things which other folks do not need to do. Typically, several members of the pariah community may resort bootlegging or petty theft along with casual and irregular labour in fields and factories. When a society has turned against you, then life must be lived in whatever spaces you can find. As a result, the stereotype of that group as a bunch of criminals and with no respect for the law is reinforced. It becomes a vicious circle, with the use of the stereotype by the mainstream forcing a certain response from the pariah community and that response in turn driving deeper the stereotype into the imagination of the larger society.' 2.

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