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Groups marginalised in Society Essay

One of the most vulnerable and marginalised groups in society are people with an intellectual disability. Developmentally delayed individuals need a wide range of leisure programmes to choose from. The principle of Normalization has led to equal rights for people with special needs. Providing people with inclusive leisure programmes with non-disabled persons assists with their socialisation. However, lack of tolerance in the community at large, financial constraints, difficulties in accessing transport as well as skill deficiencies can inhibit some people from participating (Paterson & Taylor, 2002). People with disabilities often feel isolated, with little support from family and friends. This can inhibit them from being able to attend recreational activities. It is important that changes of attitude occur in mainstream society to assist the person with a disability to achieve a ‘better quality of life’. (Patterson & Taylor, 2001).

Marginalised groups often are stigmatised, discriminated against and excluded from society. (Goffman,1997). This is certainly the case for people infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Negative community responses, especially fear of HIV, often leave the person in despair and with lowered of self-esteem (Edington et al, 1998). They have to cope with loss of employment and rejection by members of professional and social networks and as a result they feel isolated and impoverished. The Aids Council of New South Wales (ACON) has responded by offering individual programmes as well as a network of social groups for leisure activities. A caseworker from AC (Aids Council) explained that it is extremely difficult for the HIV/AIDS affected person to participate in ‘mainstream’ activities because of negative attitudes and stigmatisation.

Poverty is disproportionately high amongst minority and ethnic groups. Issues such as discrimination in finding employment, accessing education and training prevents individuals from achieving success. One study by Vescio et al, 1999, investigated sports participation and attitudes towards girls attending high schools in Sydney. It was found that participation by girls from non-English speaking backgrounds was significantly lower than those of Anglo-Australian culture. Barriers experienced by the girls included language, cultural and religious aspects. Cultural differences, prejudice, discrimination and ignorance of ethnic groups often lead to isolation (Hibbins, 1998). These factors greatly inhibit ethnic communities from participating in leisure activities. Society needs to become more understanding of cultural diversity and tolerance of religious difference.

Goffman, E, 1997, Selections from Stigma. In The disability studies reader, ed., L. Davis, Routledge, London, pp.203-215.

Hibbins, R., 1998, Leisure and ethnic diversity in Australia. In Tourism, leisure and sport: Critical perspectives, eds.D. Rowe & G. Lawrence. Hodder Education. Sydney, pp.100-111.

Patterson, I., & Taylor, T., 2001, Celebrating inclusion and diversity in leisure.

Vescio, J.A., Taylor, T., Toohey, T., 1999, An exploration of sports participation by girls from a non-English speaking backgrounds.


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