Democracy and Diversity
Discuss three factors that determine the outcomes of politics of social divisions.
The three factors which decide the outcomes of politics of social division are:
(a) Firstly, the outcome depends on how people perceive their identities. If they see their identities in singular and exclusive terms, it becomes very difficult to accommodate, for example, in Ireland. If people see their identities as multiple and are complementary with the national identity then it is much easier, e.g., in Belgium.
(b) Secondly, the outcome depends on how political leaders raise the 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. For example, in Sri Lanka the demand for ‘only Sinhala’ was at the cost of the interest and identity of Tamil community.
(c) Thirdly, the outcome depends on how the government reacts to demands of different groups. For example, in Belgium and in Sri Lanka, if the rulers are willing to share power and accommodate, the reasonable demands of minority community, social divisions become less threatening for the country. But if they try to suppress such a demand in the name of national unity, the end result is often quiet the opposite.
When does a social.difference become a social division?
Social differences are usually based on gender, race, religion and caste. A social difference becomes a social division when some social difference overlaps with other differences.
For r example, the difference between Blacks and Whites becomes a social division in the U.S. because the Blacks tend to be poor, homeless and discriminated against Whites.
How do social divisions affect politics ? Give two examples.
Social divisions can affect politics both in negative and positive ways.
Democracy involves competition among various political parties, which tends to divide any society. Their competition in terms of some existing social divisions can make social divisions into political divisions and lead to conflict, violence or even disintegration of a country.
For example, in Yugoslavia political competition along religious lines led to its disintegration into six independent countries.
But every expression of social divisions in politics does not lead to such disasters. In a democracy, it is natural that political parties would talk about these divisions, make different promises to different communities, look after due representation of various communities and make policies to redress the grievances of the disadvantaged communities.
Social divisions affect voting in most countries. People from one community tend to prefer some party more than others. In many countries, some parties focus only on one community. Yet all this does not lead to disintegration.
________ social differences create! possibilities of deep social divisions and tensions. ________ social differences do not usually lead to conflicts.
In dealing with social divisions which one o; the following statements is not correct about democracy?
(a) Due to political competition in aclemocracy, social divisions get reflected in politics,
(b) In a democracy, it is possible lor communities to voice their grievances in a peaceful manner
(c) Democracy is the best way to accommodate social diversity.
(d) Democracy always leads to disintegrations of society on the basis of social divisions.
Consider the following three statements.
A. Social divisions take place when social differences overlap.
B. It is possible that a person can have multiple identities.
C. Social divisions exist in only big countries like India.
Which of the statements is/are correct?
(a) A, B and C
(b) A and B
(c) B and C
(d) Only C
Arrange the following statements in a logical sequence and select the right answers by using ilie code given below.
A. But all political expression of social divisions need not be always dangerous.
B. Social divisions of one kind or the other exist in most countries.
C. Parties try to win political support by appealing to social divisions.
D. Some social differences may result in social divisions.
(a) D, B, C, A
(b) D, B, A, C
(c) D, A, C, B
(d) A, B, C, D
Among the following, which country suffered disintegration due to political fights on the basis of religious and ethnic identities?
Read the following passage from a famous speech by Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963. Which social division is he talking about. What are his aspirations and anxieties? Do you see a relationship between this speech and Ur incident in Mexico Olympics mentioned in tins chapter?
“I have a dream that my four little children wdi one day live in a nation where they will not tie judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring – when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children – black men and white men. lews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics – will he able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: ‘Free at last! Free at last ! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last i have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that Ml men are created equal
Martin Luther is talking about social division in the USA between Blacks and Whites. His aspiration was to free to all human beings from such discriminations. They should not be judged by their physical appearance, class, religion, castes, etc. He dreams that his children would live where all men are created equal.
Yes, there is a relationship between this speech and the incident in Mexico Olympics.