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Polity NCERT

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Lesson 6, Topic 3
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Chapter – 3 Democracy and Diversity

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Homogeneous Society:

A society that has similar kinds of people, especially where there are no significant ethnic differences, for example, Germany and Sweden.

‘Migrant’:

Anybody who shifts from one region or country to another region within a country or to another country, usually for work or other opportunities, is called migrant.

Civil Rights Movement:

Led by Martin Luther King Jr., this movement lasted from 1954-1968. The movement refers to a set of events and reform movements aimed at abolishing legal racial discrimination against African-Americans. This movement practiced nonviolent methods of civil disobedience against racially discriminatory laws and practices.

Black Power Movement:

This movement emerged in 1966 and lasted till 1975. It was a more militant and anti-racist movement. The Black Power Movement advocated even violence, if necessary, to end racism in the US.

Incident of two US athletes who protested at Mexico Olympics in 1968:

Tommie Smith and John Carlos, the US athletes received their medals wearing only a pair of black socks with no shoes to represent Black poverty. The black-gloved and raised clenched fists were meant to symbolize Black Power. They were responding to social divisions and social inequalities. With this gesture their intention was to draw international attention to racial discrimination in the United States. Peter Norman wore a human rights badge on his shirt during the ceremony to show his support to the two Americans. The medals were taken back from Tommie Smith and John Carlos because the International Olympic Association held both of them guilty of violating the Olympic spirit by making a political statement.

Origins of Social Differences:

Accident of birth: We don’t choose to belong to our community. We belong to it simply because we were born into it. We experience social differences based on accident of birth in our everyday lives.

Based on choices: Some of the differences are based on our choices. Some people are atheists. They don’t believe in God or any religion. Some people choose to follow a religion other than the one in which they were
born. Most of us choose to study a subject of our interest and an occupation where we can excel. All these lead to formation of social groups that are based on our choices.

Overlapping:

Overlapping social differences create possibilities of deep social divisions and tensions. In overlapping, one kind of social difference becomes more important than the other and the people start feeling that they belong to a different community.
For example, in Northern Ireland, class and religion overlap each other. If you are Catholic, you are likely to be poor, suffering a history of discrimination.
Catholics and Protestants have had conflicts in Northern Ireland.

Cross-Cutting:

Cross-cutting social differences are easier to accommodate. In cross-cutting, groups that share a common interest on one issue, are sometimes on different sides on different issues.
For example, in Netherlands, class and religion tend to cut across each other. Catholics and Protestants are about equally likely to be poor or rich. There are no conflicts in the Netherlands.

Factors Determining the outcome of politics of social divisions are:

How people perceive their identities. If people see their identities in exclusive terms, it becomes difficult to accommodate. As long as people in Northern Ireland saw themselves as only Catholic or Protestant, their
differences were difficult to reconcile. It is easier if identities are complimentary with national identity. This helps to stay together.

How political leaders raise demands of any community. It is easier to accommodate demands that are within the constitutional framework and are not at the cost of another community. The demand for ‘only Sinhala’ was at the cost of the interest and identity of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka.

How Government reacts to demands of different groups. If the rulers are willing to share power and accommodate the reasonable demands of minority community, as in Belgium, social divisions become less threatening for the country. But if the demand is suppressed in the name of national unity, as in Sri Lanka, the end result is quite opposite. Such attempts at forced integration sow the seeds of disintegration.

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