Sociology Index


Minority group is distinguished by being on the margins of social power, social status or the allocation of resources within the society.

‘Visible minority’ refer to those racial or ethnic groups in a society which are marginal from the power and economic structure of society, not to those which are few in number. In South Africa, Blacks are the statistical majority but were for countless decades a social minority. Women can also be identified as a social minority group.

A small group of people differing from the rest of a community in ethnic origin, religion, language, or culture; a member of such a group. In sociology the term minority is not necessarily a numerical minority. Minority is being on the margins of power, status or the allocation of resources within the society. Many writers suggest and use the terms "subordinate group" and "dominant group" rather than "minority group" and "majority Group".

Types of minorities and typical sources of minority conflict, the problems minorities experience, their grievances and demands form a major part of study regarding minority problems.

A Comparison of the Experiences of Dominant and Minority Group Members during an Intergroup Encounter - Laur'i L. Hyers, Janet K. Swim, Department of Psychology, Pennsylvania State Univ.
Focusing on the immediate effects of the intergroup situation on participants' anxiety, affect, cognitions, and task involvement, comparisons were made between the experiences of minority group members (African-Americans) and dominant group members (European-Americans) during intergroup encounters of varied group composition (i.e. participants held either solo or non-solo status). The group composition manipulation had very little effect overall. However, regardless of group composition, European-American participants were more adversely affected than African-American participants, as evidenced by cognitive and task involvement variables. African-American participants' experiences may have been less adverse due to their greater intergroup experience and more effective use of intergroup coping strategies such as mindfulness.

Interpersonal Concerns in Social Encounters between Majority and Minority Group Members - J. Nicole Shelton, Princeton University 
Dyadic interactions between Whites and Blacks were examined. Whites' concern about appearing prejudiced was manipulated by informing Whites that it was extremely important not to be prejudiced during the interaction. Blacks' concern about being the target of prejudice was manipulated by informing them that their dyadic partner was prejudiced against Blacks. The findings show that these two concerns differentially impacted individuals' own and their partner's experiences in the interaction. Specifically, Whites who tried not to be prejudiced experienced more anxiety and enjoyed the interaction less, but were liked more by their Black partner. Additionally, Blacks who believed their partner was prejudiced enjoyed the interaction more, and their White partner experienced less anxiety and enjoyed the interaction more.

Minority Group Status and Healthful Aging: Social Structure Still Matters 
Jacqueline L. Angel, PhD and Ronald J. Angel, PhD 
During the last 4 decades, a rapid increase has occurred in the number of survey-based and epidemiological studies of the health profiles of adults in general and of the causes of disparities between majority and minority Americans in particular. According to these studies, healthful aging consists of the absence of disease, or at least of the most serious preventable diseases and their consequences, and findings consistently reveal serious African American and Hispanic disadvantages in terms of healthful aging. 
We (1) briefly review conceptual and operational definitions of race and Hispanic ethnicity, (2) summarize how ethnicity-based differentials in health are related to social structures, and (3) emphasize the importance of attention to the economic, political, and institutional factors that perpetuate poverty and undermine healthful aging among certain groups.

Minority Group, Majority Space - Negotiating Jewish Identity in a Southern Christian Context - Marianne Cutler, East Stroudsburg University 
Based on an ethnographic study of young-adult Jews in a Southern community, this article examines strategies for the protection of self when minority groups navigate terrain that is perceived to be hostile. Although few of the participants of this study had experienced any explicitly anti-Jewish behavior directly, almost all experienced a feeling of unease living in an environment in which a public Christian identity was normative. This unease was grounded in the historical persecution of Jews (and the never-again credo with which many post-Holocaust generation Jews have been raised) and in direct experience with their neighbors' and coworkers' ignorance about Judaism and Jewish life. Study participants used a variety of emotion-work strategies, including compartmentalizing their Jewish identities, distancing themselves emotionally from coworkers, and using humor to deflect potential identity-based insults to sustain a sense of safety.

Minority Group Status of the Disabled - Ellen C. Wertlieb, State University of New York
An analysis of the definition of minority group indicated that the disabled can be considered as holding that status. Further exploration of the similarities and differences between the disabled and other minority groups yielded an array of factors which can have profound effects on every disabled person. The importance of using this information in a practical way was stressed.

A Framework for Investigating Minority Group Influence in Urban School Reform 
Toni Griego Jones, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 
Minority students in urban schools have the most to gain if efforts at reforming urban school systems work and the most to lose if nothing changes. Yet research on educational reform has not addressed how minority communities influence decisions about how to change their children's schools. Thus far, research has dealt only with how reform affects minority students and communities, not with how minority groups affect the planning of reform. This article offers a more active perspective. It investigates how a minority group might influence the conceptualization, planning, and implementation of urban school reform and suggests a framework for that influence.

Stages of Ethnic Identity Development in Minority Group Adolescents 
Jean S. Phinney, California State University, Los Angeles 
Stages of ethnic identity development were assessed through in-depth interviews with 91 Asian-American, Black, Hispanic, and White tenth-grade students, all American born, from integrated urban high schools. Subjects were also given questionnaire measures of ego identity and psychological adjustment. On the basis of the interviews, minority subjects were coded as being in one of three identity stages; White subjects could not be reliably coded. Among the minorities, about one-half of the subjects had not explored their ethnicity (diffusion/foreclosure); about one-quarter were involved in exploration (moratorium); and about one-quarter had explored and were committed to an ethnic identity (ethnic identity achieved). Ethnic-identity-achieved subjects had the highest scores on an independent measure of ego identity and on psychological adjustment. The process of identity development was similar across the three minority groups, but the particular issues faced by each group were different.

Minority Group Status, Health Transitions, and Community Living Arrangements among the Elderly - Ronald J. Angel, Jacqueline L. Angel, University of Texas at Austin 
Christine L. Himes, Pennsylvania State University 
This study examines patterns of change in functional capacity among Black and non-Latino White older persons over a 4-year period using the 1988 Longitudinal Study of Aging. The results reveal that among all three groups, improvements in functional capacity often follow declines, but they also show that Blacks are more likely than non-Latino Whites to suffer protracted declines in functional capacity, ultimately resulting in more serious incapacity. The central objective of the article is the development of a conceptual model to identify those factors that account for racial and ethnic group differences in health and functional capacity as well as the documented greater propensity of Black and Latino elderly to rely on informal sources of support in the community rather than on formal long-term care.

Characteristics of Minority Group Families Who Have Tried to Move Into White Neighborhoods - By S. Lynn Clark and James H. Kirk
Abstract.—In a survey of 686 minority group families, there were 97, or 14 pet cent of the total sample, who had tried to move into white neighborhoods. Some of these had been successful, while the efforts of others had been thwarted for various reasons. An analysis of the characteristics of this 14 pet cent shows many interesting social as well as economic traits. The attitude that members of minority groups want to be isolated with their own finds little justification. Of particular interest are the deviations from the total survey group that this 14 per cent revealed.