Ethnic Diversity in Democratic Research Paper

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¶ … Ethnic diversity in democratic states

Democratic France

With the process of globalization experiencing rapid progress, the international public starts to deal with more and more issues, given that most countries are not effectively prepared to deal with some of the problems that arise. In spite of the fact that democracy has come to be widely used by a series of nations, it would appear that little countries actually employ democratic principles in all fields of work. By using democracy as one of its guiding principles, France has come to be one of the most respected nations, considering the incomes it gains every year and the freedom people enjoy in this country. However, judging from the events happening during the recent years one might come to the conclusion that France is far from being a perfect democrat state, with the country's position on the subject of ethnic minorities being comparatively harsh.

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In picturing democracy based in some of the world's most advanced countries, the masses think about how the rest of the world is impoverished whereas people in these respective countries thrive and have no concerns whatsoever. Matters are however different, as even these international actors experience difficulties and are apparently unable (yet) to devise efficient solutions to their problems. In spite of the French are one of the most technologically and socially advanced nations on the planet, they cannot apparently detach themselves from employing a series of archaic and unfair behaviors toward each-other. This particularly happens in the case of people that are non-French in origin, as they are predisposed to falling victim to the community's prejudice.

TOPIC: Research Paper on Ethnic Diversity in Democratic States Assignment

According to Samar Esapzai (2010), "there is no such thing as a true democracy; it is only an ideology created to patronize the middle and lower class into believing that they have freedom of choice, when in reality they are conned under false pretenses." This can be observed through the fact that leadership positions are predominantly occupied by individuals who belong to the elite of the country they live in. As a result, the ones who profit the most out of the dealings their presumably democratic country's leadership perform are none other but the elites, with lower class individuals and a number of ethnic minorities in particular being discriminated.

France is typically seen as a democratic country, this perspective being supported by most of its leaders. However, it has shown significant religious intolerance toward particular religious groups, going against the freedom generally promoted through democracy. There are an estimated five million Muslim individuals presently living in France, making the country responsible for holding the largest population of people belonging to this religious group in all of Western Europe.

In an attempt to have Muslims behave in accordance with supposed French ideals, the French National Assembly implemented a law that no longer allowed Muslim women to wear the burqa (the traditional face-veil) in public. This act is extremely important in demonstrating that the country is not as liberal as most people like to believe. It is of no importance whether or not some individuals consider it immoral for some women to wear such garments. One cannot simply forbid another person to act as he or she wants as long as the latter's actions are not causing any damage to society, to a group, or to an individual in particular. Through banning burqas from being worn in public the French government virtually prevented people from freely expressing feelings that symbolize Islam as a whole. It is as if French authorities are uncomfortable regarding Muslims displaying elements characteristic to their religion in public. In an attempt to prove that this act was reasonable, the French National Assembly claimed that burqa-wearing was equivalent to Islamic extremism and thus against European democratic principles.

Acting in accordance with the saying "you have to break some eggs in order to make an omelet," the French government chose to ban a series of liberties with the presumed purpose of protecting other liberties that are apparently more important than the former. Those who lobby for the veil's banning believe that women are discriminated through the fact that their religion forces them to wear the burqa in public, making them less able to enjoy freedom in a democratic society. The burqa is also believed to be closely related to Islamic extremism, given that it promotes an ideology that directly goes against some of democracy's most treasured principles.

It is difficult to determine whether or not wearing the burqa does indeed undermine the position of women in society. Looking at matters from an impartial perspective makes it clear that the French National Assembly was to a certain degree right in reaching the conclusion that Muslim women are denied a series of liberties through the fact that they have to wear the burqa in public. "For many Muslim women, especially in countries like Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, the burqa represents oppression. It is forced upon them. Even in Muslim families and communities in the West some women are compelled by threat of force to wear the burqa" (Affairs etrangeres).

In order to assist Muslim women in the condition, authorities should have gotten actively engaged in presenting these individuals with freedom of choice and with education concerning how wearing the burqa should not be something compulsory. By simply interdicting wearing the burqa, the government did nothing but to prove that it was not prepared to deal with such a situation and that it can easily fall victim to putting across inequitable behavior. The French National Assembly has failed to observe what the real problems within extremist Islam are. Instead of looking into the problem and discovering that Muslim women were actually subjected to great distress at home-having to deal with conjugal violence, obligatory marriages, and a reduced ability to become economically independent, the French government appears to be primarily interested in removing surface problems.

One of the main problems related to this condition is the fact that many people continue to associate the burqa with extremist Islam. Some believe that a woman who willingly accepts wearing a veil is also willing to accept Islamic extremist laws and that she is capable of doing anything in order to behave in agreement with her religion. Even with the fact that many Westerners might feel that the burqa and several Islamic values are immoral, this does not give them the right to impose their moral system on Muslims. If the masses were to be offended with a particular person wearing ugly clothes, this would give them the right to stop the respective person from wearing the garments he or she wants to. Through the behavior that it took on, the French National Assembly came to be a religious authority, practically gaining the right to decide what is and what is not permitted in certain religions.

A ban on the burqa means much more than just preventing Muslim women from wearing the face-veil in public, as it actually serves as a tool to influence Muslims in France to feel less safe in the country and to become even more alienated from the Western World. In spite of the difficulties it encountered in trying to impose what it felt were democratic principles, the French government is nonetheless aware of the ethnic diversity present in the country and of the fact that it needs to devise a series of programs meant to successfully integrate non-French individuals in the community. Immediately after Barrack Obama's election in the United States' leadership, French president Nicholas Sarkozy saw the opportunity of implementing several laws that would assist ethnic minorities in France. This however proved to be particularly difficult because of the country's previous policies regarding non-French individuals. France was typically concerned about devising programs that would present ethnic minorities with equal rights, but it did not previously involve a great deal of effort in seeing that people belonging to particular ethnic minorities were treated as equals.

Discrimination is generally regarded as being illegal in France, but this does not mean that there is a particular law preventing institutions from putting across a biased behavior toward individuals belonging to a certain ethnic group. Such a law would assist racial integration, given that a number of ethnic minorities are presently unable to integrate the French community because they continue to be discriminated. In trying to improve the French system, president Sarkozy came up with a plan meant to favor lower class individuals in benefiting from superior education, since most of them were previously unable to do so because preparatory classes meant to assist people into entering elite schools did not exist. The individuals primarily targeted through Sarkozy's restructuring program are those who are financially assisted by the state with the purpose of having access to higher education. Most of these students are apparently members of ethnic minorities and it is projected that by the end of the current year (2010), thirty percent of the places in higher education would be given to people belonging to such… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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