“New Right Sociologists” would argue that this would be a disadvantage to the government as it would lead to an eventual reduction in the nation’s talent pool. However, it is important to note that the methodology used in the production of “The Bell Curve” is both dubious and highly doubtful. This is most vividly illustrated by the article Inequality by Design, written by the Sociology Department of UC Berkeley, which claims that the statistics used by Murray and Herrstein were flawed due to omissions and technical errors.
On the other hand, “New Right Sociologists” also argue that ethic groups are disadvantaged because they refuse to integrate into their host society. A refusal to integrate may include a refusal to take on the norms and values of the host culture; or to learn the language. This prevents them from seeking opportunities and hence leaving them at a disadvantage. “New Right Sociologists” would henceforth argue that the state would have no responsibility whatsoever for self-made choices, and therefore that Positive Discrimination would be pointless and a waste of both time and resources.
Neo-Marxists and Social Democratic/Left Wing sociologists would argue that because Ethnic Minorities suffer from ethnic discrimination as well as poorer life chances they require and need Positive Discrimination in order to ensure that they are able to reach the best of their potential. Neo-Marxist Sociologists would refer to the argument, as advocated by Stuart Hall of black people being scapegoat for economic and social problems in times of peril. This shows that people from ethnic minorities are blamed for causing problems, and hence are put at a disadvantage with other groups.
This effect is then emphasized through the schema model, in which press coverage and blame of ethnic minorities leads to prejudice, prejudgment and in turn a disadvantage for minorities in regards to a wide range of areas, including life chances as represented through education, health and work. The prejudice caused by scapegoating leads to ethnic minorities being denied jobs in the primary job market, having to get by through the routine, ill paid and unskilled jobs offered through the Secondary Job Market.
This in turn impacts greatly on all other aspects of their life, including where they live and the lifestyle they lead. Because ethnic minorities are tied to the secondary job market with lower wages, or languishing in unemployment, they end up residing in inner cities and other areas which are likely to be affected by what is described as the “Inverse Care Law” as coined by Hart, in which those who need the most access to services receive the least. Statistics from the Office of National Statistics show that ethnic minorities tend to have the worst self-reported health, live in overcrowded housing and smoke the most.
This shows the fact that Ethnic Minorities, due to the lack of job opportunities, suffer from lower than average health and lifestyles. This, coupled with the fact that ethnic minority households are three times more likely to live in poor neighborhoods (Commission on Racial Equality, 2003) tells us that ethnic minorities do indeed suffer from lower life chances due to poor health, poorer education due to failing inner city schools and finally a cumulatively lower chance of success in life that other groups due to clear disadvantages in terms of health, education and job prospects.
This clearly shows that Positive Discrimination in favor of disadvantaged groups is desirable as it allows for the disadvantages caused by ethnic discrimination and its knock-on effects to be limited if not redressed, hence increasing the nation’s pool of talent and preventing those who are capable from languishing behind due to disadvantageous conditions. Henceforth it can be said that Positive Discrimination in favor of disadvantaged ethnic minorities is both beneficial and disadvantageous depending on which perspective it is viewed from.
However, it could be concluded with a degree of certainty that Positive Discrimination in favor of ethnic minorities is both a good government policy and advantageous to the country in question- as it allows ethnic minorities put at a disadvantage to compete on what amounts to nearer grounds to those from other ethnic groups that may enjoy an advantage, whether it be through wealth, power or better overall life chances.
This allows for the meritocratic principles of Functionalism to occur on fair and even grounds- facilitating competition for roles and jobs between everyone on fair and even terms, hence allowing the best and brightest, regardless of ethnicity, to reach the very top and bring mutual benefits for society as a whole.