Ethnicity can have a significant influence on our identity and experiences of belonging. What impact do globalization, increased mobility and/or migration have on ethnicity today?
The essay will be focusing on the impact of globalisation on ethnicity. One can identify globalisation as the intensification of social relations worldwide that link distant localities in such a way that things happening one place are shaped by events that occurred in other countries (Aas 2007). Globalisation has resulted in the integration of people in the world. In the essay, the primary focus will be on the fact that globalisation has had both a positive and negative impact on ethnicity through the creation of homogenous identity, diversity, labour market deterioration and the concept of othering. The negative impacts of globalisation on ethnicity outweigh the positive impacts globalisation has.
Globalisation has a positive impact on ethnicity in that it creates and brings exposure to more diversity. Ritzer and Dean (2019) stated that globalisation allows people to retain ethnic identity and diasporic groups to spread. An example would be someone leaving their home country to go and study in other country for university. A student visa would allow individuals to study and work part-time in the country. This is positive for ethnic groups as they are able to leave their countries of origin to go to other countries to broaden their knowledge and to allow them to gain ideas that they can take to their countries of birth to improve the country’s structure. According to Ferguson and Sherrell (2019), there were 398 563 overseas students in Australia. Forrest (2003) believed a multicultural perspective would focus on the positive aspects of ethnic diversity and identity of ethnic groups. Ethnic groups could get advantages in places of employment because companies will want a diverse workplace. Globalisation has a positive impact on ethnicity in that ethnic groups benefit through the creation of multicultural states that look to have more diversity which increases migration from people.
In addition, globalisation has a positive impact on ethnicity in that it creates a homogenous identity (Ritzer & Dean 2019). Homogenous can be understood to be a uniform structure or composition throughout. Due to globalisation, more people have been bought in contact through virtual means such as television and social media, migration, and tourism (Hawkins). English has become a common language and is taught to everyone for everyone in order to communicate effectively. This has allowed everyone to be able to communicate with one another as the language will not be particularly for any race but instead will available to all people. Countries have allowed others to gain from taking features that they had. Globalisation has led to unity amongst all nations and was likened to a ‘melting pot’ where different ethnicities come together (Hawkins). This unity brings about an inclusion for people with ethnic identities. Ethnic people will have a belonging in society from globalisation which creates a sense of identity amongst the people. This shows that globalisation has a positive impact in ethnicity as it creates a unified world and ethnic people begin to feel included.
However, it can be argued that a homogenous identity may have negative impacts as through globalisation, traditional values and moral restraints are eroded (Ishiyama 2004). This is because the homogenous identity created will be through the diffusion of western values in nations (Castles 2000). This will have a negative impact on ethnic identities as they lose their cultural values and traditions due to the infusion of other values.
Furthermore, globalisation has negative impacts on ethnicity. One of the impacts is the deterioration in the labour market. Globalisation has led to the increase in the use of technology which has resulted in companies downsizing as there is not much need for humans (Aas 2007). An example would be post office workers. Due to the increase in technology, more people write emails instead of sending letters physically which has resulted in the reduction of the people needed to work in a post office. As a result, the rate of unemployment increases. These affect ethnic groups largely due to ethnic discrimination where ethnic groups are less likely to be called to interviews (Hawkins). Watson (2007) has stated that there has been a growth in poverty due to globalisation as ethnic groups are the first to be disadvantaged when it comes to job loss. This shows that globalisation has negative impacts on ethnicity as due to the advancement and rise in technology, many people become redundant and lose their jobs with ethnic groups being more vulnerable.
Moreover, globalisation has had a negative impact on ethnicity because it brings about a concept of ‘othering’. This is because Ritzer and Dean (2019) stated that globalisation is re-racialisation. Ethnicity has led to the increase in migration of people from one country to another. This has led to overpopulation of the people and as a result ethnic people are disadvantaged. In a video ‘go back where you came from’ by the SBS, Australians stated that it was not their responsibilities to look after refugees with the refugees stating how they are being treated like criminals. Globalisation has led to a ‘them’ and ‘us’ approach where ethnic groups are seen as them and often discriminated as a result. In 1996, the Queensland senator stated how she wanted multiculturalism abolished due to the fear that there would be more ethnic identities that would swamp Australia (Hawkins). This shows that globalisation has had a negative impact on ethnicity in that globalisation has resulted in ethnic groups being treated like others and negatively.
To conclude, globalisation has had both a positive and negative impact on ethnicity. The positive impacts were that it has created a homogenous identity and a more diverse culture. This will allow ethnic groups to stand with their identities. The negative impacts were that the homogenous identity leads to a loss of traditions and values, globalisation led to deterioration on labour markets and it created the concept of othering. These have all particularly affected ethnic groups as they become disadvantaged and are treated negatively. Finally, one can state that even though globalisation has had both positive and negative impacts on ethnicity, it has more negative impacts on ethnicity.