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Minority group

Minority group

Overview
A minority is a sociological group within a demographic. The demographic could be based on many factors from ethnicity, gender, wealth, power, etc. The term extends to numerous situations, and civilizations within history, despite the misnomer of minorities associated with a numerical statistic. Therefore the term causes confusion within the many definitions of a minority group.

The term "minority group" often occurs alongside a discourse of civil rights
Civil rights
Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' freedom from unwarranted infringement by governments and private organizations, and ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression.Civil rights include...

 and collective rights which gained prominence in the 20th century.
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Encyclopedia
A minority is a sociological group within a demographic. The demographic could be based on many factors from ethnicity, gender, wealth, power, etc. The term extends to numerous situations, and civilizations within history, despite the misnomer of minorities associated with a numerical statistic. Therefore the term causes confusion within the many definitions of a minority group.

The term "minority group" often occurs alongside a discourse of civil rights
Civil rights
Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' freedom from unwarranted infringement by governments and private organizations, and ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression.Civil rights include...

 and collective rights which gained prominence in the 20th century. Members of minority groups are prone to different treatment in the countries and societies in which they live. This discrimination
Discrimination
Discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of an individual based on their membership in a certain group or category. It involves the actual behaviors towards groups such as excluding or restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available to another group. The term began to be...

 may be directly based on an individual's perceived membership of a minority group, without consideration of that individual's personal achievement. It may also occur indirectly, due to social structures that are not equally accessible to all. Activists campaigning on a range of issues may use the language of minority rights
Minority rights
The term Minority Rights embodies two separate concepts: first, normal individual rights as applied to members of racial, ethnic, class, religious, linguistic or sexual minorities, and second, collective rights accorded to minority groups...

, including student rights
Student rights
Student rights are those rights which protect students, here meaning those persons attending schools, universities and other educational institutions...

, consumer rights and animal rights
Animal rights
Animal rights, also known as animal liberation, is the idea that the most basic interests of non-human animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings...

.

Controversial issues


Refers to members of minority groups. The term is used to address the controversy with the use of the word minority. Cultural diversity definitions can be as controversial as diversity projects and initiatives. The word minority is an example; it has an academic and colloquial usage. Academics refer to power differences among groups, rather than differences in population size among groups.
Barzilai (2003)
Feagin (1984)

states that a minority group has five characteristics: (1) suffering discrimination and subordination, (2) physical and/or cultural traits that set them apart, and which are disapproved by the dominant group, (3) a shared sense of collective identity and common burdens, (4) socially shared rules about who belongs and who does not determine minority status, and (5) tendency to marry within the group. In South Africa under apartheid, Caucasian-South Africans were a majority even though there were many more black
Black people
The term black people is used in systems of racial classification for humans of a dark skinned phenotype, relative to other racial groups.Different societies apply different criteria regarding who is classified as "black", and often social variables such as class, socio-economic status also plays a...

 South Africans.

In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, the term majority refers to a group that is larger in population size and controls economic, political, and social resources. Given the shift of people of color growing in size that trends indicate will make them a majority, some argue that Caucasian-Americans should no longer be considered the majority.

Historically excluded groups (HEGs) is a term that points out the differences among different groups based on the degree of experiencing oppression and domination. The Feagin defining features are maintained while overcoming the complication with using demographics.

Sociology of minority groups


Sociologist Louis Wirth
Louis Wirth
Louis Wirth was an American sociologist and member of the Chicago school of sociology.-Life:Louis Wirth was born in the small village of Gemünden in the Hunsrück, Germany. He was one of seven children born to Rosalie Lorig and Joseph Wirth. Gemünden was a pastoral community, and Joseph Wirth...

 defined a minority group as "a group of people who, because of their physical or cultural characteristics, are singled out from the others in the society
Society
A society, or a human society, is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations...

 in which they live for differential and unequal treatment, and who therefore regard themselves as objects of collective discrimination." This definition includes both objective and subjective criteria: membership of a minority group is objectively ascribed
Ascribed status
Ascribed status is the social status a person is assigned at birth or assumed involuntarily later in life. It is a position that is neither earned nor chosen but assigned...

 by society, based on an individual's physical or behavioral characteristics; it is also subjectively applied by its members, who may use their status as the basis of group identity or solidarity. In any case, minority group status is categorical in nature: an individual who exhibits the physical or behavioral characteristics of a given minority group will be accorded the status of that group and be subject to the same treatment as other members of that group.

Racial or ethnic minorities


Every large society
Society
A society, or a human society, is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations...

 contains ethnic minorities. Their style of life, language, culture and origin can differ from the majority. The minority status is conditioned not only by a clearly numerical relations but also by questions of political power. In some places, subordinate ethnic groups may constitute a numerical majority, such as e.g. Blacks in South Africa under apartheid. In addition to the "traditional" (long time resident) minorities they may be migrant
Human migration
Human migration is physical movement by humans from one area to another, sometimes over long distances or in large groups. Historically this movement was nomadic, often causing significant conflict with the indigenous population and their displacement or cultural assimilation. Only a few nomadic...

, indigenous
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 or landless nomad
Nomad
Nomadic people , commonly known as itinerants in modern-day contexts, are communities of people who move from one place to another, rather than settling permanently in one location. There are an estimated 30-40 million nomads in the world. Many cultures have traditionally been nomadic, but...

ic communities. There is no legal definition of national (ethnic) minorities in international law. Only in Europe is this exact definition (probably) provided by the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages is a European treaty adopted in 1992 under the auspices of the Council of Europe to protect and promote historical regional and minority languages in Europe...

 and by the Recommendation 1201 (1993) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
However, national minority can be theoretically (not legally) defined as a group of people within a given national state:
  1. which is numerically smaller than the rest of population of the state or a part of the state
  2. which is not in a dominant position
  3. which has culture, language, religion, race etc. distinct from that of the majority of the population
  4. whose members have a will to preserve their specificity
  5. whose members are citizens of the state where they have the status of a minority.
  6. which have a long-term presence on the territory where it has lived.


International criminal law can protect the rights of racial or ethnic minorities in a number of ways. The right to self-determination
Self-determination
Self-determination is the principle in international law that nations have the right to freely choose their sovereignty and international political status with no external compulsion or external interference...

 is a key issue.
The formal level of protection of national (ethnic) minorities is highest in European countries.

Gender and sexuality minorities


An understanding of lesbian
Lesbian
Lesbian is a term most widely used in the English language to describe sexual and romantic desire between females. The word may be used as a noun, to refer to women who identify themselves or who are characterized by others as having the primary attribute of female homosexuality, or as an...

, gay
Gay
Gay is a word that refers to a homosexual person, especially a homosexual male. For homosexual women the specific term is "lesbian"....

, bisexual
Bisexuality
Bisexuality is sexual behavior or an orientation involving physical or romantic attraction to both males and females, especially with regard to men and women. It is one of the three main classifications of sexual orientation, along with a heterosexual and a homosexual orientation, all a part of the...

 and transgender
Transgender
Transgender is a general term applied to a variety of individuals, behaviors, and groups involving tendencies to vary from culturally conventional gender roles....

 people as a minority group or groups has gained prominence in the Western world since the 19th century. The abbreviation LGBT
LGBT
LGBT is an initialism that collectively refers to "lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender" people. In use since the 1990s, the term "LGBT" is an adaptation of the initialism "LGB", which itself started replacing the phrase "gay community" beginning in the mid-to-late 1980s, which many within the...

 is currently used to group these identities together. The term queer
Queer
Queer is an umbrella term for sexual minorities that are not heterosexual, heteronormative, or gender-binary. In the context of Western identity politics the term also acts as a label setting queer-identifying people apart from discourse, ideologies, and lifestyles that typify mainstream LGBT ...

 is sometimes understood as an umbrella term for all non-normative sexualities and gender expressions, but does not always seek to be understood as a minority; rather, as with many Gay Liberation
Gay Liberation
Gay liberation is the name used to describe the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movement of the late 1960s and early to mid 1970s in North America, Western Europe, and Australia and New Zealand...

ists of the 1960s and '70s, it sometimes represents an attempt to uncover and embrace the sexual diversity in everyone.

While in most societies, numbers of men and women are roughly equal, the status of women as a "subordinate" group has led some (i.e. the feminist and Women's Rights
Women's rights
Women's rights are entitlements and freedoms claimed for women and girls of all ages in many societies.In some places these rights are institutionalized or supported by law, local custom, and behaviour, whereas in others they may be ignored or suppressed...

 movements) to equate them with minorities. In addition, various gender variant
Gender variance
Gender variance, or gender nonconformity, is behaviour or gender expression that does not conform to dominant gender norms of male and female...

 people can be seen as constituting a minority group or groups, such as intersex
Intersex
Intersex, in humans and other animals, is the presence of intermediate or atypical combinations of physical features that usually distinguish female from male...

uals, transsexuals, and gender nonconformists (i.e. metrosexual
Metrosexual
Metrosexual is a neologism derived from metropolitan and heterosexual coined in 1994 describing a man who spends a lot of time and money on shopping for his appearance...

s) — especially when such phenomena are understood as intrinsic characteristics of an identifiable group. (see The Yogyakarta Principles)

Religious minorities


Persons belonging to religious minorities have a faith which is different from that held by the majority. Most countries of the world have religious minorities. It is now widely accepted in the west that people should have the freedom to choose their own religion, including not having any religion (atheism
Atheism
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities...

 or agnosticism
Agnosticism
Agnosticism is the view that the truth value of certain claims—especially claims about the existence or non-existence of any deity, but also other religious and metaphysical claims—is unknown or unknowable....

), and including the right to convert from one religion to another. However in many countries this freedom is constricted. For example in Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, a new system of identity cards requires all citizens to state their religion - and the only choices are Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 or Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 (See Egyptian identification card controversy
Egyptian identification card controversy
The Egyptian identification card controversy is a series of events, beginning in the 1990s, that created a de facto state of disenfranchisement for Egyptian Bahá'ís, atheists, agnostics, and other Egyptians who did not identify themselves as Muslim, Christian, or Jewish on government identity...

).

A 2006 study suggests that atheists
Atheism
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities...

 constitute a religious minority in the United States, with researchers concluding: "Americans rate atheists below Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in 'sharing their vision of American society.' Atheists are also the minority group most Americans are least willing to allow their children to marry."

Age minorities


The elderly, while traditionally influential or even (in a gerontocracy
Gerontocracy
A gerontocracy is a form of oligarchical rule in which an entity is ruled by leaders who are significantly older than most of the adult population. Often the political structure is such that political power within the ruling class accumulates with age, so that the oldest hold the most power...

) dominant in the past, have in the modern age usually been reduced to the minority role of economically 'non-active' groups. Children can also be understood as a minority group in these terms, and the discrimination faced by the young is known as adultism
Adultism
Adultism has been defined as "the power adults have over children". More narrowly, 'adultism is prejudice and accompanying systematic discrimination against young people'...

. Discrimination against the elderly is known as ageism
Ageism
Ageism, also called age discrimination is stereotyping of and discrimination against individuals or groups because of their age. It is a set of beliefs, attitudes, norms, and values used to justify age based prejudice, discrimination, and subordination...

.

Various local and international statutes
International human rights instruments
International human rights instruments are treaties and other international documents relevant to international human rights law and the protection of human rights in general...

 are in place to mitigate the exploitation of children, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child
Convention on the Rights of the Child
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is a human rights treaty setting out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children...

, as well as a number of organizations that make up the children's rights movement
Children's rights movement
The Children's Rights Movement is a historical and modern movement committed to the acknowledgment, expansion, and/or regression of the rights of children around the world...

. The youth rights
Youth rights
Youth rights refers to a set of philosophies intended to enhance civil rights for young people. They are a response to the oppression of young people, with advocates challenging ephebiphobia, adultism and ageism through youth participation, youth/adult partnerships, and promoting, ultimately,...

 movement campaigns for social empowerment for young people, and against the legal and social restrictions placed on legal minors
Minor (law)
In law, a minor is a person under a certain age — the age of majority — which legally demarcates childhood from adulthood; the age depends upon jurisdiction and application, but is typically 18...

. Groups that advocate the interests of senior citizen
Senior citizen
Senior citizen is a common polite designation for an elderly person in both UK and US English, and it implies or means that the person is retired. This in turn implies or in fact means that the person is over the retirement age, which varies according to country. Synonyms include pensioner in UK...

s range from the charitable (Help the Aged
Help the Aged
Help the Aged was a United Kingdom based, international charity, founded in 1961 by Cecil Jackson-Cole, to free disadvantaged older people from poverty, isolation and neglect. It merged with Age Concern in 2009 to form Age UK.-Organisation and campaigns:...

) to grass-roots activism (Gray Panthers
Gray Panthers
The Gray Panthers was an organization in the United States founded by Maggie Kuhn in 1970, in response to her forced retirement at age 65. The group focused on health and other issues....

), and often overlap with disability rights issues.

People with disabilities


The Disability rights movement
Disability rights movement
The disability rights movement is the movement to secure equal opportunities and equal rights for people with disabilities. The specific goals and demands of the movement are: accessibility and safety in transportation, architecture, and the physical environment, equal opportunities in independent...

 has contributed to an understanding of people with disabilities (including not to be called 'disabled') as a minority or a coalition of minorities who are disadvantaged by society, not just as people who are disadvantaged by their impairments. Advocates of disability rights emphasise difference in physical or psychological functioning, rather than inferiority — for example, some people with autism
Autism
Autism is a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. These signs all begin before a child is three years old. Autism affects information processing in the brain by altering how nerve cells and their...

 argue for acceptance of neurodiversity
Neurodiversity
Neurodiversity is a "controversial concept [that] ... regards atypical neurologicaldevelopment as a normal human difference". According to Jaarsma and Welin , the "neurodiversity movement was developed in the 1990s by online groups of autistic persons...

, much as opponents of racism
Racism
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

 argue for acceptance of ethnic diversity. The Deaf community is often regarded as a linguistic and cultural minority rather than a group with disabilities, and many Deaf people do not see themselves as having a disability at all. Rather, they are disadvantaged by technologies and social institutions that are designed to cater for the dominant group. (see the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is an international human rights instrument of the United Nations intended to protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities...

)

Minorities in law and government


In the politics
Politics
Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the...

 of some countries
Country
A country is a region legally identified as a distinct entity in political geography. A country may be an independent sovereign state or one that is occupied by another state, as a non-sovereign or formerly sovereign political division, or a geographic region associated with a previously...

, a minority is an ethnic group
Ethnic group
An ethnic group is a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, often consisting of a common language, a common culture and/or an ideology that stresses common ancestry or endogamy...

 that is recognized as such by respective laws of its country and therefore has some rights that other groups lack. Speakers of a legally-recognized minority language
Minority language
A minority language is a language spoken by a minority of the population of a territory. Such people are termed linguistic minorities or language minorities.-International politics:...

, for instance, might have the right to education or communication with the government in their mother tongue. Countries that have special provisions for minorities include Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

.

Differing minority groups often are not given identical treatment. Some groups are too small or too indistinct compared to the majority, that they either identify as part of the same nation as the members of the majority, or they identify as a separate nation but are ignored by the majority because of the costs or some other aspect of providing preferences. For example, a member of a particularly small ethnic group might be forced to check "Other" on a checklist of different backgrounds, and consequently might receive fewer privileges than a member of a more defined group.

Many contemporary governments prefer to assume the people they rule all belong to the same nationality rather than separate ones based on ethnicity. The United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 asks for race and ethnicity on its official census forms, which thus breaks up and organizes its population into different sub-groups, but primarily on racial origin rather than national one. Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 does not divide its nationals by ethnic group, although it does maintain an official notion of minority languages.

Some minorities are so relatively large or historically or otherwise important that the system is set up in a way to guarantee them comprehensive protection and political representation. As an example, the former Yugoslav republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

 recognizes the three main nations, none of which constitute a numerical majority, as constitutive
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

 nation
Nation
A nation may refer to a community of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, and/or history. In this definition, a nation has no physical borders. However, it can also refer to people who share a common territory and government irrespective of their ethnic make-up...

s, see nations of Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, other minorities such as Roma and Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

, are officially labelled as "others" and are excluded from many of these protections - for example they may not be elected to a range of high political positions including the presidency.

The issue of establishing minority groups, and determining the extent of privileges they might derive from their status, is controversial. There are some who argue that minorities are owed special recognition and rights, while others feel that minorities are unjustified in demanding special rights, as this amounts to preferential discrimination
Discrimination
Discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of an individual based on their membership in a certain group or category. It involves the actual behaviors towards groups such as excluding or restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available to another group. The term began to be...

 and could hamper the ability of the minority to integrate itself into mainstream society - perhaps to the point at which the minority follows a path to separatism
Separatism
Separatism is the advocacy of a state of cultural, ethnic, tribal, religious, racial, governmental or gender separation from the larger group. While it often refers to full political secession, separatist groups may seek nothing more than greater autonomy...

 or supremacism. In Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, some feel that the failure of the dominant English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

-speaking majority to integrate French Canadians has given rise to Quebec separatism.

Affirmative action



One particularly controversial issue is affirmative action
Affirmative action
Affirmative action refers to policies that take factors including "race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or national origin" into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group, usually as a means to counter the effects of a history of discrimination.-Origins:The term...

. This can be, for example, a government program to provide immigrant or minority groups who primarily speak a marginalized language with extra teaching in the majority language, so that they are better able to compete for places at university or for jobs. These may be considered necessary because the minority group in question is socially disadvantaged. Another form of affirmative action is quotas, where a percentage of places at university, or in employment in public services, are set aside for minority groups because a court has found that there has been a history of exclusion as it pertains to certain groups in certain sectors of society.

Opposing views from Objectivists


Adherents of Ayn Rand
Ayn Rand
Ayn Rand was a Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter. She is known for her two best-selling novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged and for developing a philosophical system she called Objectivism....

's laissez-faire
Laissez-faire
In economics, laissez-faire describes an environment in which transactions between private parties are free from state intervention, including restrictive regulations, taxes, tariffs and enforced monopolies....

 philosophy of Objectivism
Objectivism (Ayn Rand)
Objectivism is a philosophy created by the Russian-American philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand . Objectivism holds that reality exists independent of consciousness, that human beings have direct contact with reality through sense perception, that one can attain objective knowledge from perception...

 regard people every person as an independent, sovereign entity who possesses an inalienable right to one's life, a right derived from his/her nature as a rational being. Objectivism holds that a civilized society, or any form of association, cooperation or peaceful coexistence among people, can be achieved only on the basis of the recognition of individual rights
Individual rights
Group rights are rights held by a group rather than by its members separately, or rights held only by individuals within the specified group; in contrast, individual rights are rights held by individual people regardless of their group membership or lack thereof...

 and that a group, as such, has no rights other than the individual rights of its members. The principle of individual rights is the only moral base of all groups or associations. Since only an individual person can possess rights, the expression "individual rights" is a redundancy (which one has to use for purposes of clarification in today’s intellectual chaos), but the expression "collective rights" is a contradiction in terms. Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority
Tyranny of the majority
The phrase "tyranny of the majority" , used in discussing systems of democracy and majority rule, is a criticism of the scenario in which decisions made by a majority under that system would place that majority's interests so far above a dissenting individual's interest that the individual would be...

 has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual).

See also


  • Cultural diversity in the media in Europe
  • Dominant minority
    Dominant minority
    A dominant minority, also known as alien elites if they are recent immigrants, is a group that has overwhelming political, economic or cultural dominance in a country or region despite representing a small fraction of the overall population...

  • Ethnic elite
    Ethnic elite
    An ethnic elite refers to an ethnic group which in a local context has gained a position of economic and power over that of other groups. Ethnic elites may also foster ideologies and beliefs which serve to sustain their relative power....

  • Ethnic group
    Ethnic group
    An ethnic group is a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, often consisting of a common language, a common culture and/or an ideology that stresses common ancestry or endogamy...

  • Ethnic minorities in Northern Ireland
    Ethnic minorities in Northern Ireland
    During The Troubles, the levels of immigration to Northern Ireland were low. However, there has been an increase since the power sharing agreement brought an end to official terrorist activity....

  • Intangible Cultural Heritage
    Intangible Cultural Heritage
    The concept of intangible cultural heritage emerged in the 1990s, as a counterpart to the World Heritage that focuses mainly on tangible aspects of culture...

  • Interminority racism
    Interminority racism
    Interminority racism is prejudice or discrimination between social subordinate groups. It is controversial to call it racism because of theories of power in society. However, prejudiced thinking does occur between minority groups. There are examples on public and personal levels...

  • List of minority political parties
  • Majority
    Majority
    A majority is a subset of a group consisting of more than half of its members. This can be compared to a plurality, which is a subset larger than any other subset; i.e. a plurality is not necessarily a majority as the largest subset may consist of less than half the group's population...

  • Marginalization
    Marginalization
    In sociology, marginalisation , or marginalization , is the social process of becoming or being made marginal or relegated to the fringe of society e.g.; "the marginalization of the underclass", "marginalisation of intellect", etc.-Individual:Marginalization at the individual level results in an...

  • Middleman Minority
    Middleman minority
    Middleman minority, also known as 'market-dominant minorities', is a term used to describe minority populations that while victim to discrimination do not hold an "extreme subordinate" status in society....

  • Minority influence
  • Minority religion
    Minority religion
    A minority religion is a religion held by a minority of the population of a country, state, or region. Minority religions may be subject to stigma or discrimination. An example of a stigma is using the term cult with its extremely negative connotations for certain new religious movements...

  • Minority rights
    Minority rights
    The term Minority Rights embodies two separate concepts: first, normal individual rights as applied to members of racial, ethnic, class, religious, linguistic or sexual minorities, and second, collective rights accorded to minority groups...

  • Minority Rights Group International
    Minority Rights Group International
    Minority Rights Group International is an organisation founded with the objective of promoting respect for the human rights of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities and indigenous peoples around the world...

  • Model minority
    Model minority
    Model minority refers to a minority ethnic, racial, or religious group whose members achieve a higher degree of success than the population average. It is most commonly used to label one ethnic minority higher achieving than another ethnic minority...

  • Social stratification
    Social stratification
    In sociology the social stratification is a concept of class, involving the "classification of persons into groups based on shared socio-economic conditions ... a relational set of inequalities with economic, social, political and ideological dimensions."...


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