Respect and Rights: Class, Race, and Gender Today
Despite great improvements in recent years, group respect is increasingly the key issue of class, race-ethnicity, and gender. It is a central promoter of today's inequalities. Disrespect appears in modes of speech, prejudice and discrimination, inattention, everyday treatment, violence, social distance, low regard for the honesty or intelligence of those treated as "others." An acute sense of respect deficit appears among women, African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans, Native Americans, immigrants, gays and lesbians, Muslims, people with disabilities--and those of low income or education. The causes--tradition, institutional practices, economic and psychological gain--and the economic, political, social, and psychological costs of group respect deficits are analyzed in public opinion and other data as well as from many other sources. In the first national analysis of the long-neglected issue of group self-respect, surprising changes in the self attitudes of African Americans are reported. Respect affects rights for low group respect impedes the enforcement and pursuit of rights. Authentic inclusion requires transformation of institutions, a more daunting task than overcoming prejudice. Action policies are proposed that would bring class, race and gender groups into more effective alliances.
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