Minoritarianism is a term that often does not come up in day-to-day conversations, though it is present in such situations; it is the “neologism for a political structure or process in which a minority segment of a population has a certain degree of primacy in that entity’s decision making” according to wordow.com. As such, its anti-thesis, majoritarianism, is the “rule by a majority, especially the belief that those constituting a simple majority should make the rules for all members of a group, nation, etc.” according to dictionary.com. Due to past grievances and afflictions inflicted upon the few in society, minoritarianism is slowly overtaking some modern-day cultures. This transition, which is not necessarily for the better, is occurring from India to America in everything from homes to governmental systems. Some forms of minoritarianism have always been in place. However, the concept is, sometimes ignorantly and sometimes deceptively, being played out more and more often despite recent public rejections of unfair and unequal treatment. In trying to remedy the past and buttress the claims of fairness and equality, minoritarianism is being snuck in through the back door and, if one is not wary, will come to dominate modern societies.
Minoritarianism in Homes
Minoritarianism is first and foremost clearly present and easily seen in many homes; the value of having such a constitution set up in such a place is slightly debatable. The concept is seen in the basic family structure of a family: one mother, one father, and two and half kids (average family size).
If majoritarianism were to claim this basic family unit, the children, by half a person, would have the majority of votes, assuming the children all wanted the same thing. For instance, in a Family Circus comic strip, Billy, the eldest of the four children drawn, said at one time, “It must be tough bein’ an only child. You’re outnumbered by parents.” However, in actuality, the parents, though they be the minority, make most of the final decisions. Even if they are overruled by their children, their decision still precedes all. As one can see, minoritarianism is very present in the typical family structure.
Nonetheless, many will rightfully argue that minoritarianism should be present in such a situation due to the consequences of not having such a system set up. Parents make the decision for young children because the children are not able to clearly distinguish right from wrong or the like until they are older. Afterall, the human brain does not stop fully developing until a person is twenty-five. Many argue that minoritarianism is the best process to apply in a situation with young children due to concerns regarding the child(ren)’s decisions.
Notwithstanding, there also are a few legitimate problems concerning minoritarianism in such a setting; namely, the concerns are about what occurs when the parent(s) does not make good choices for the child. At times, it can be said and proven that certain parents do not fulfill their parental duties and make poor decisions regarding themselves and their children. A divorce is a prime example of this. While a divorce may, unfortunately, improve the situation in select cases, divorces are usually seen as difficult and unhealthy for children. Again, this does not apply to all situations; it is simply an unfortunately common and easily applicable example. Whether or not the children wish for it or reject it, it will occur. The decision is out of their hands. In situations such as those, it is not necessarily for the better that minoritarianism roosts within the family infrastructure.
Regardless, minoritarianism is here to stay within the family unit, and it is for the best; the consequences and the difficulty involved going without it are too abundant to do otherwise. The common theme with reference to minoritarianism is that it only works well when the minority chooses or decides well. As it is, adults tend to be more experienced than children and should be the ones deciding in most scenarios. Even though the children who receive a veto over the proposition to sleepover at grandma’s would disagree, minoritarianism is an effective and essential strategy in the common household.
Minoritarianism in America
With shouts of ‘made equal’ and ‘democracy rules,’ many Americans would proudly agree that minoritarianism is not present any longer in their country; however, the sad truth would paint quite a different picture. Most assuredly, the form minoritarianism takes has morphed and evolved as time has gone on, but the concept is still very present in American culture and society. The problem that is particular to America is the inability to see the concept due to the compelling but mistaken belief that America is majoritarianism. However, as will be further expounded upon in this article, that is not the case.
Minoritarianism was not present for a short time in America, but, due to growing zeal about righting irremovable wrongs, the concept now is beginning to prevail in America though it has not infected every part of it. The short period of time when the U.S. was not minoritarianism in its social structure occurred somewhere between when blacks and women were both granted rights, supposedly given to all people, and the age of the new minoritarianism. This new mask of minoritarianism comes in the form of affirmative action and preferential admissions among others; it sneaks up on America through the news as seen most clearly in subjects such as police shootings. Though the words ‘made equal’ may fall from American mouths, it surely isn’t seen in some aspects of the nation.
Police shooting statistics and the media’s method of presenting the news are great examples of how present minoritarianism is in American society. According to the Washington Post, nearly 1,000 were shot and killed by police officers in 2015, yet just a few made it to National News. Of that 965, only 90 were unarmed and less than four percent of the entire amount represent unarmed black men shot by white officers. Almost all of the people who were shot were brandishing a weapon, suicidal (and/or had mental problems), or disobeyed a police officer and ran when told to halt. These aren’t statistics that are told in mainstream media. In fact, the diversity of the types of the shootings presented by the media is very limited; these limits on what the media presents and the unequal representation of police shootings empower the minority in society. For example, if all that was seen in the news were white officer shooting unarmed black men, one might think there was an epidemic of such cases when the situation is otherwise. The less than four percent are the minority here, and they are getting more sway and influence over the public than is fair when going by the numbers. Their influence makes a huge impact on for whom and what people vote and advocate for. That is not a fair influence when considering that there is over ninety-six percent who are not able to have their say. When juxtaposed, one can clearly see how minoritarianism is very prominent in mainstream media in America.
It is evident that minoritarianism holds much of America, though not all, in its grasp. Since all in the nation are capable at making decisions, there is no reasonable justification for such unfair treatment and representation in a country which boasts of equality and equal opportunity. Quite plainly, there is no room for minoritarianism in the American ideal. One will have to go; it is up to the current society to choose.
Minoritarianism in Governmental Systems
Minoritarianism can be seen in even some of the largest constructs man has created: governmental systems. While some systems are plainly minoritarianism from their foundation up, others have it cleverly hidden in their support system. However, the majority of systems, including the two expounded upon here, have some form of minoritarianism in them.
Any type of monarchy inherently has minoritarianism as its foundation. Instead of having the majority decide what is best for the country, one or a few people do. The obvious problem with a monarchy of any sort occurs whenever an inadequate person or inadequate people are in charge. However, a few forms of monarchies, such as constitutional monarchies, limit the power of these people. This puts a cap on what those people are able to do, but they’re still getting the final say. Though monarchies or any governmental system that consists of one or a few people in charge have always held a bad connotation in most American mouths, “As Dio observed later, democracy sounded very well and good, “but its results are seen not to agree at all with its title. Monarchy, on the contrary, has an unpleasant sound, but is a most practical form of government to live under. For it is easier to find a single excellent man than many of them” (Stacy Schiff 165).
Democracies normally prolong business with the hopes of being fair; however, minoritarianism can be spotted even in those systems. There are two main types of democracies: direct democracies and indirect democracies. An indirect democracy is the system which is currently set up for the U.S. Instead of having every person vote on every issue, which would occur in a direct democracy society, every person is able to vote for someone who will, supposedly, vote on every issue in their stead. Those two types are similar in many ways, but there are levels of minoritarianism in both.
At first glance, an indirect democracy might not seem to have any minoritarianism in it; however, that sadly is not the case. Not all the issues that are decided upon are discussed before a person is elected and not everything the person will vote for is approved by the people who voted for the representative. While an indirect democracy limits minoritarianism, it has it in its support system. For instance, in the article “Majority, minority, authority,” Narayan Ramachandran states, in reference to a U.S. government shutdown, “Writing in The Atlantic magazine, James Fallows calls this constitutional coup an “8 million to 1 leverage ratio—the ability of certain individuals to inflict damage on their fellow citizens”.”
A direct democracy then, in theory, has no minoritarianism in it. There are no instances where one person or group gets to decide for multiple. Everyone’s vote counts the same. However, despite the fact that everyone’s vote is equal in a direct democracy, it is still possible to have minoritarianism present; there is no minoritarianism in direct democracies only in theory. Minoritarianism is made possible when not everyone is allowed to vote. In a lot of democratic countries, women were not allowed to vote at some point. In America, blacks were not able to vote. Non-citizens that live in the country and those who are underage are more examples of people who can not vote. Even direct democracies have minoritarianism in them.
As one can see, some form of minoritarianism is present in all governmental systems. Some level of minoritarianism is needed, after all; the problem is when minoritarianism snowballs and becomes too large. Governmental systems have to coexist with minoritarianism, all things do; the dilemma that is faced by those who advocate for fairness and equality is not being overrun by it.
Annotated Works Cited
“Affirmative Action.” Lawyers.com. Internet Brands, Inc., 2016. Web. 20 May 2016.
The expectant article, “Affirmative Action,” informs the general public of the basics of affirmative action, how affirmative action has evolved, and the outcomes of several court decisions relating to affirmative action. Refraining from actually defining affirmative action, the article simply states, “An employer or a school takes affirmative action when it puts in place programs, plans, and efforts designed to ensure that people who belong to minority groups receive equal opportunity and fair treatment and are not subject to discrimination” (1). Continuing with the theme of discrimination, the article mentions federal laws such as “the Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1991, which addresses illegal discrimination by employers, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination in several areas, including education and employment” (1). However, throughout the entire article, the focus stays on affirmative action in education and provides valuable legal information and history on affirmative action.
“Challenging Race Sensitive Admission Policies.” Frontline. WGBH Educational Foundation, 2014. Web. 20 May 2016.
A collection of important court rulings relating to discrimination and racial quotas are plainly and impartially typed out for all to read in the article “Challenging Race Sensitive Admission Policies.” The informative article boasts of an impressive amount of information regarding “The battle to equalize education in America” (1) which, according to the article, “first erupted in the chambers of the U.S. Supreme Court on May 17, 1954” (1). Court cases such as “Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), which allowed for “separate but equal” public facilities” (1), “The “Powell Decision” [which] also stated that schools could no longer use racial quotas, though it left open the practice of considering race in admissions to promote diversity” (1), and “Hopwood v. Texas” (1) are helpfully discussed and explained at length throughout the article. Many other court cases and decisions, including some recent and controversial ones, are also discussed within the article.
Chokal-Ingam, Vijay J. “How Affirmative Action creates negative stereotypes about minority physicians.” Almost Black. Almost Black, 5 June 2015. Web. 20 May 2016.
Relying heavily on logos, Vijay Jojo Chokal-Ingam tries to persuade readers that “accepting less qualified medical school applicants produces less qualified doctors. In this way, affirmative action perpetuates negative stereotypes about minorities in medicine” (1) in his article “How Affirmative Action creates negative stereotypes about minority physicians.” Throughout the article, Chokal-Ingam refers to his own experience and buttresses his arguments with reasoning. Near the end of his article, Chokal-Ingam proposes a solution. He believes that “if medical schools 1) accepted students only based on merit and 2) set a universal licensing standard by determining the essential knowledge a physician should have and then allowing only students who passed the test based on those standards (no relative target) to become physicians . . . There would be no negative stereotypes because minority physicians would be every bit as qualified as any other physician” (1). Chokal-Ingam fluently informs the reader of a logic process which indicts affirmative action.
Chokal-Ingam, Vijay J. “Which One Got into Medical School?” Almost Black. Almost Black, 2015. Web. 20 May 2016.
Vijay Jojo Chokal-Ingam humorously summarizes his attempts to get into medical school as an Indian-American and as a black in his article, “Which One Got into Medical School?” Chokal-Ingam states that, even though he received interviews as a black man, “Not everything worked out as planned. Cops harassed me. Store clerks accused me of shoplifting. Women were either scared of me or found my bald power dome very attractive” (1). By the end of the deception, “What started as a devious ploy to gain admission to medical school turned into a twisted social experiment” (1). Chokal-Ingam explained that the experiences he had as a black man were different from what he expected and that he “came away changed” (1). His story highlights the differential treatment given to dissimilar races in both day-to-day life and in college application systems.
Fisher, Marc, Kimberly Kindy, Julie Tate, and Jennifer Jenkins. “A Year of Reckoning: Police Fatally Shoot Nearly 1,000.” The Washington Post. washingtonpost.com, 26 Dec. 2015. Web. 20 May 2016.
In their article “A Year of Reckoning: Police Fatally Shoot Nearly 1,000,” Marc Fisher, Kimberly Kindy, Julie Tate, and Jennifer Jenkins praise the availability of video-cameras (to record police action), explain the blueprints of multiple views on police shootings, provide statistics relating to the shootings, and go into extreme detail with one particular case, the shooting of Kassick by Officer Lisa Mearkle. Their effort points to their hope of a more educated public that knows how to deal with the issue of police shootings as well as condemning or justifying a police officer’s actions. Much of the information they provide in useful in that aspect. The authors sum up the predicament quite nicely with the words, “When the people hired to protect their communities end up killing someone, they can be called heroes or criminals — a judgment that has never come more quickly or searingly than in this era of viral video, body cameras and dash cams” (1).
Fund, John. “Smash the ‘Bamboo Ceiling’ of Racial Quotas.” National Review. NATIONAL REVIEW, 5 Apr. 2015. Web. 20 May 2016.
John Fund promotes the idea of equal opportunity education in his article, “Smash the ‘Bamboo Ceiling’ of Racial Quotas.” Fund recounts the story of an Indian-American who was not accepted into medical school, but was accepted when he checked black as his ethnicity. Relying on statistics and others’ testimonies, Fund describes the current situation regarding racial quotas, fairness in college admissions, and, overarching everything, the low number of Asian students in high-standard colleges. It is clear that Fund’s goal through his article is “to promote education opportunity for minorities but not at the expense of other minorities” (2). His article also contains valuable statistics and information.
Ramachandran, Narayan. “Majority, minority, authority.” live mint. HT Media Ltd., 6 Oct. 2013. Web. 20 May 2016.
Narayan Ramachandran indicts current societies of majoritarianism and minoritarianism in the article “Majority, minority, authority.” Ramachandran states that “Soft minoritarianism (putting certain interests of the minority above the majority for economic, vote bank or other reasons) has been an issue in many countries—in Sri Lanka (Tamils), US (African-Americans), Thailand (First Generation Chinese), Indonesia (Chinese businessmen) and debatably India (Muslims and backward classes)” (1). He cites several “bizarre example[s] of how a principle of majority can be hijacked by a minority with an extreme view” (1). Utilizing these examples and more, Ramachandran lends wonderful examples of minoritarianism while successfully buttressing his arguments.
Schiff, Stacy. Cleopatra A Life. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2010. Print.