Religious and Ethnic Groups Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 13 October 2016

Religious and Ethnic Groups

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, Orthodox Judaism is a “the religion of those Jews who adhere most strictly to traditional beliefs and practices. ” (Britannica, 2013) Differentiating from Christianity, Orthodox Jews adhere to daily worship, traditional prayers and holidays, and how and when a child goes through adulthood. While in a synagogue, men and women are separated, which is unlike many religions presented in our society. Orthodox Jews are often looked at as very strict and traditional.

The dress garments are used to make them stand out from the world around them as well as to preserve the traditions. For women, pants are not permitted; all clothing must cover the chest to the neck and the arms to at least the elbows and fall below the knees. As a sign of modesty, married women hide their hair with a covering that may be a wig over a shorn head (in the most extreme cases), a wig over hair, a scarf, or a hat. ” (Worldmark Encyclopedia of Religious Practices, 2006) For this reason, today’s society seems to have viewed Orthodox Jews as weird, segregated and just different. Our society sees lots of skin and very few modest women.

Jewish people have contributed to American culture for their fight for rights equality. In 1965, in the march from Selma to Montgomery Alabama, you found “Rabbi Abraham Heschel and African American leader Martin Luther King Jr. joining arms and leading a group of hundreds of protestors in the action against discriminatory voting rights policies (Heschel. )” (Brown, 2010) Though Heschel was not an Orthodox Jew, he still fought for the rights of his people, all Jews, as well as the rights that every American deserves, regardless of race or skin color.

Even in our society today you will see camaraderie between an African American and a Jew. Because they fought side by side with African Americans for equal rights, Jewish men and women will forever have an impact on our country. Throughout the history of the world, Jews have been discriminated against, and persecuted. Adolf Hitler sought to “exterminate” them from our society. Hitler killed around six million Jewish men, women, and children during the Holocaust. He not only discriminated against Jews, but anyone who could be a Jew, just based on their physical appearance.

I think that learning more of their culture and religion has helped me better understand their group. I was curious of many things regarding Orthodox Jews and their Hasidic practices. For instance, I was unaware that the Torah is the first five books of the Holy Bible. Knowing that they dress in such traditional and modest clothing to adhere to their traditions is something that all American’s should look up to. Having such a devout faith to have no regard for the culture around you and being so devoted to your faith, or any cause, is something that I think is an admirable quality.

South American Hispanics differ not only from White Americans, Asians or African Americans, but also, in part, to other Hispanics. Brazil does not speak Spanish as other Hispanic and Latino countries do. Brazilians speak Portuguese. Not all Hispanics from South America speak this language, but Brazilians, in their own right, have their own little corner if Hispania. South Americans also tend to have a harbored feud with other Hispanics. Brazilians do not want to be mistaken for Colombian; Columbian do not want to be mistaken for Chilean; and so on. In America, Hispanics also tend to be clumped together.

Since the closest Hispanic country to the American border is Mexico, many American’s classify all Hispanic people as Mexican. This also becomes an issue among White American’s as well as Hispanics. Again, each group of Hispanics does not like to be classified as another, causing tension when being addressed as such, is most likely unbeknownst to the person who improperly identified the person or group of people. Hispanics have contributed a great deal to America. Through food, music and language, or nation has grown in leaps and bounds with the help of Hispanic people.

There are many Mexican, Brazilian, Columbian and Chilean restaurants to be found in major cities across the U. S. A popular dancing style is the Salsa; which is a very sensual Hispanic dance. America’s unofficial second language is Spanish. There are many immigrants in the United States that are strictly Spanish speaking individuals. There are even classes called ESL, or English as a Second Language. Many employers often seek employees who are bilingual, speaking both English and Spanish. Hispanics, throughout History, have experienced uch discrimination, prejudice and are subject to stereotypes. Everyone is guilty, as there is no one group of people to be had as guilty or innocent. Even other Hispanics discriminate against each other. For example, Hispanics are often thought of as poorly educated, illegal immigrants with a very large family. Because these stereotypes have been so prevalent in our society, Hispanics are also thought to be a major factor in the unemployment rate. Many Americans think that all Hispanics are here illegally taking their jobs and working for less money.

This image hurts the Hispanic community, just as it would hurt any other racial or ethnic group. To say that they are poorly educated, therefore do not know how to fight to earn more money is stereotyping and just plain rude. I think that because I am of Hispanic descent, specifically Central America, and have experienced some of these discriminatory factors from both White Americans as well as other Hispanics, I understand where Brazilians, Mexicans, and all other Hispanic groups feel. To earn your way into a country and then to be looked down upon is a hard pill to swallow.

It can often be difficult to take the high road and ignore the ignorance, but in the end, it is the most rewarding. Conclusion The discrimination experienced by Orthodox Jews as well as Hispanics is very similar. Both groups have fought for equal rights as American’s, regardless of race. Both groups receive looks and whispers behind their backs regarding their culture and beliefs. However, they are different in the fact that Orthodox Jews appear to be White American’s; whereas Hispanics tend to have a darker skin tone, which makes it easier to infer their ethnicity.

I think that Orthodox Jews are more discriminated against because of their religious beliefs, the clothing that they were and their nonmoving stance on their religion. Hispanics are discriminated against, most often, because of their skin color, the way the talk or their country of origin. I believe that discrimination has many faces. There is no one set of rules for discrimination. Too often, society discriminates against what they do not know. People tend to fear the unknown.

By shunning and discriminating against a religious group, a race or ethnicity, or a sexual orientation, people show that they are ignorant on the subject. I think that children are the greatest teachers to the negative minded discriminators. Babies are not born to know color or race or hate. They know people; they know love and compassion. I think the world would be better off if we listened to our children tell the tales of their adventures at school with “the kid who has skin that looks like chocolate,” as my niece once said.

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  • University/College: University of California

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  • Date: 13 October 2016

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