Germany has been a democratic parliamentary state since 1949, but due to reunification in 1990, it now consists of around 16 federal states. Furthermore, it has a total size of around 357,022 square kilometers. With 82 million people, Germany is the most populous country in Europe. Germany currently has a diverse range of cultural influences. It can be described as a cosmopolitan and modern country that battles with ethnic stratification.
The majority ethnic group in Germany is German (91.5%); the remaining 6.1% are Italian, Greek, Russian, Polish, Spanish, and Serbo-Croatian.There is also the Turkish that represents 2.4% of the entire population.
3. Ethnic stratification system in Germany
Traditional school systems in German are significantly stratified where students attend Gymnasium, Realschule or Hauptschule (Haller & Eder, 2016). The Gymnasium is the highest level of school that prepares students for university education; Realschule is the intermediate level and Hauptschule is the lowest level that prepares children for vocational training. Nonetheless, Hauptschule often leads to unemployment or low-income opportunities with less hope for career growth. The Turkish, Kurdish or Arabic children are considered as “migrants” in Germany end up in Hauptschule, which marginalizes them. Furthermore, integrated schools have segregated classes; in Berlin secondary and primary schools, particularly Gymnasiums, have separate classes for migrants and native-born German. Segregation is done on the basis that migrants have low skills in the German language for regular classrooms. Much as migrant learners speak German as a second language, they require additional language support to attend regular classes (Haller & Eder, 2016). Generally, they do not get enough support, which permanently puts them lowest education level.
B. Ethnic problems or harmony
1. Prejudice and discrimination
In Germany, prejudice and discrimination are common in the education system. For instance, mentally and physically handicapped children are not educated with normal children. Moreover, there is no law that allows access to public office by wheelchairs; hence a number of public buildings are not accessed by the disabled. Women in Germany are not only prejudiced but also discriminated against. Specifically, the society views women as homemakers to stay home and take care of the family (Haller & Eder, 2016). Therefore, men rarely marry women that are educated or earns more than they do. Another form of discrimination is racist whereby adoption of children by poor backgrounds is very complex and rarely allowed in Germany.
2. Examples of ethnic problems
One of the historical examples of ethnic problems in German surfaced during the reign of Adolf Hitler. As the German leader in the wake of the Second World War, Hitler began to profile people based on their ethnicity. According to Priest et al, (2014) the Aryans were viewed as superior to the Jews as an issue that culminated into the killing of 6 million Jews. By and large, ethnic separatism has often resulted in death. Currently, the Kurdish pro-self-rule movement is a vivid example of the spread of contention as hunger strikes, protest marches as well as terrorist bombings in Germany. As a result of this impasse, German is faced with the challenge of internal policy towards its Kurdish residence and tenuous external relations with Turkey.
3. Consequences of discrimination for ethnic group members
While people join a certain group because they want to belong, this identity is usually a healthy one. However, discriminating against a fellow in-group is often perilous. In this case, when in-group members are harassed or rejected from within the ranks of their social group, it is often a dangerous precedence (Russell, Sinclear, Poteat, & Koenig, 2012). Ultimately, in-group discrimination leads to mental maladjustment.
4. Example of consequences
Prejudice and discrimination have always been touted as the basis upon which people are drawn into endless conflicts. By and large, projecting prejudiced attitudes toward other groups leads to overgeneralization, an aspect that hampers social cohesion.
C. Research on ethnicity on selected country
1. Experts on ethnic problems in selected country
According to Schaeffer (2013), ethnic problems in Germany are related to individual conditions and not class, gender or age. In addition, this study focuses on who is responsible for ethnicity problems in Germany. According to Banton, (2011) scholars allege that the manner in majority conceives themselves presents the basis for judging the minority groups.
2. Findings of studies on ethnic discrimination in selected country
Based on past studies the ethnic discrimination in US and Germany are diminishing based on the impact, while effects of economic decline are growing in magnitude (Schaeffer, 2013).
D. Comparison with the United States
1. Ethnic groups in the United States
In the United States, there is a number of ethnic groups including Asian,4.43%, Alaska native 0.97%, white 79.96%, black 12.85%, black, Alaska natives, native Hawaiian, Hawaiian and another Pacific Islander 0.18%, others 1.16% including Amerindian and so forth.
2. Ethnic stratification system in the United States
Although the US social system is based on an open structure that gives everyone equal chances to make wealth, inequalities in the distribution of wealth is more extreme and lopsided. Current trends in asset ownership do not eliminate inequality issues. Generally, in the US, wealth inequality between the rich and poor has been increasing (Haller & Eder, 2016).
3. Ethnic conflicts and discrimination in the US
In the US, ethnic conflicts are related to the widespread discrimination against the blacks. They live in not only poor but also crime ridden settings with inadequate schools, health facilities that predictably contribute to low life expectancy (Haller & Eder, 2016). The rate of HIV infections is higher among blacks compared to white. The mentally ill are also discriminated against, however, the majority end up in prison or homeless. Long-term therapy for mental disorders is not provided by insurance covers.
4. Similarities between selected country and the United States
Similarity among ethnic groups: Ethnic groups in German and U.S are similar because they are diverse in nature. In Germany, ethnic groups comprise of German, Italian, Greek, Russian, Polish, Spanish Serbo-Croatian and Turkish. On the other hand, ethnic groups in the US include Asian, white, black, Alaska natives, native Hawaiian, Pacific Islanders and Amerindian.
The similarity in ethnic stratification: Both Germany and U.S have an ethnic stratification system. However, while the US has an open system, German has a differential treatment where migrant students receive fewer of the social rewards.
The similarity in terms of ethnic conflict: When it comes to ethnic conflicts, it is common in both nations. Most importantly, the conflict revolves around majority of minority groups. In the US, for instance, African Americans face structural discrimination such that many live in poor and violent neighborhoods with insufficient health facilities and schools. HIV infection is also higher among blacks compared to white. Similarly, in Germany, ethnic conflicts are common particularly among foreigners that attract scorn. In addition, ethnic from Kurdish and Armenian descent face discrimination in Germany. They are required to give up their culture regardless of whether they were born in Germany or if they can speak in German, they are regarded as foreigners (Younge, 2011).
Examples of the similarities garnered from research: From the research, in US and Germany, ethnic groups conflicts reflect the classical conception of religion and race (Schaeffer, 2013).
5. Differences between selected country and the US
Differences among ethnic groups in selected country and US: Ethnic groups in German and U.S are different based on the composition. For instance, in Germany, the largest group in Germany at 91.5% while in the US, the main ethnic group is white at 79.96% then black 12.85%. The difference in ethnic stratification systems: Ethnic stratification system in the US is open where everyone has an opportunity to make wealth while in Germany is closed. Specifically, ethnic stratification system in Germany is common in the education system and prevalent among minority groups like Arab, Kurdish and Turkish children. These children are placed in lowest levels of school. Differences in ethnic conflict in selected country and US: With respect to ethnic conflicts, the US has entrenched structural discrimination against the blacks. Nonetheless, in Germany, Kurdish and Armenian ethnicities are required to give up their culture. Example of differences garnered from research: Research shows on the ethnic conflict in the US shows that white-black relationships for several years were depicted as “black issue in America”. Therefore, studies focused on emotional and physical challenges black encountered because of their status; minority group. In Germany, research shows that minority groups were discriminated and considered as subordinates compared other ethnicities whose differences were negligible. Based on this fact, the German Jews, who were physically indistinguishable from German population, were forced to wear yellow Stars of David on their clothes (Priest et al., 2014).
Haller, M., & Eder, A. (2016). Ethnic Stratification and Economic Inequality Around the World: The End of Exploitation and Exclusion?. Routledge.
Priest, N., Walton, J., White, F., Kowal, E., Baker, A., & Paradies, Y. (2014). Understanding the complexities of ethnic-racial socialization processes for both minority and majority groups: A 30-year systematic review. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 43, 139-155.
Schaeffer, M. (2013). Which groups are mostly responsible for problems in your neighborhood? The use of ethnic categories in Germany. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 36(1), 156-178.
Younge, G. (March 15, 2011). Germans still struggling to resolve issues of race. Retrieved on Nov 14, 2017 from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/mar/15/germans- struggling-resolve-issues-race