Equality and Fairness: How Can We Get There?

Sexual equality symbol Català: Símbol de la ig...

Sexual equality symbol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by Ludvig Bergman

In the endeavour towards income equality, there are many different paths available to reach the final goal, which in this case and in my opinion is an effort-based distribution of the money in the society, where those who work hard and are tasked with relatively difficult work are rewarded with a bigger piece that those who don’t.

To avoid the case of the unequal American society, where the top 1% of the population has almost all the money, and move towards something similar to Swedish society, with the top 20% having a larger amount of money than the other 80% but the distribution between the “steps” are much more even. There is the way of reducing the income for the top paid percentages of the population and raise it for the lower percentages, and just like Sweden maintain high taxes that can be redistributed among the population and used to improve the welfare system. 

The danger with a society like this is the fact that, which is mentioned by Kenworthy in the article “Is Equality Feasible?”, if you are deprived of the financial gain of your efforts and skill development, there will not be any motivation left to contribute to the society by getting a decent education and working hard. People might prefer to go through the mandatory school years just to live off the governmental subsidies, which in Sweden in my opinion are way too high.

A society with people without motivation to achieve anything will quickly detoriate. Isn’t a society where the hardworking highly educated people are providing for the “lazy” through high taxes who are beingdistributed by the government in fact an unfair or even unequal society? People are no longer being rewarded with what they deserve, the hard working are getting less and the “lazy” are getting more, which draws me towards the conclusion of this no longer being the equal society I earlier considered.

For this to be considered equal and per definition fair there can not be any freeloaders allowed. Considering economic equality and fairness of gender, in “Gender equality: why women are still held back,” Abigail Player discusses how women in our contemporary time have never had as many opportunities to lead and change the economical and political landscape. Women earn a distinguishably lower salary than men and Player claims that women in the UK earn as much as 140,000 pounds less than men during their lifetimes.

In Sweden we have a political party pushing the issue of gender inequality forward. My opinion of the matter is that if left alone the market and the inequalities in it will by themselves be evened. I believe that by forcing change upon the society by, for example, implementing quotas regarding gender in the work place is something that will hinder the most competent people from being chosen just because a quota has to be met. In the long run hindering the economic growth of companies and in the big picture the whole country.


Player, Abigail. “Gender Equality: Why women are still held back.” The Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/business/economics-blog/2013/dec/06/gender-equality-women-stereotypes-stop-progress

Kenworthy, Lane. 2007. “Is Equality Feasible?” Contexts 6(3):28-32.

Transnational Migration and Limitations

by Miho Tanaka

The activities of transnational migration are expanding every day and the immigrants’ social interactions and their relationship with their host countries is changing.

Since many African American’s diaspora started around seventeenth century, immigration to the U.S. and transnational migration accompanied with it has continued. Irish, Jews, Armenians and Greeks have settled in the U.S. as well as African Americans. Nowadays more and more immigrants arrive in the U.S. from mainly Asia and Latin America and seek job opportunity there. Each government of their host lands are trying to making ties with them in order to benefit from their immigration activity beyond borders. Levitt considers this phenomenon as long-distance nationalism that emerged from this current mainstream of globalization, whose processes tend to be de-linked from specific national territories (Levitt, 2001, p.202). On the basis of the changes of immigration in the U.S., Levitt addresses how policymakers should challenge these changes (Levitt, 2004).

I consider that the U.S. is one of the epitomes of immigrant issue in the world. A lot of people and ethnic groups have migrated to the country but the country also has many problems. Though Mexicans, Dominicans, El Salvadorans and the other immigrants can have strong ties with their host countries but non-immigrants do not have any connection with the other countries and they are losing jobs. Low-skilled people in the country may have their jobs taken by immigrants. However immigrants have some issues as well; for example some of them gradually lose relationships with their home countries, and if they assimilate to U.S. society culturally, economically and socially they willing to live and settle to the U.S. In addition the second generation often find itself as American citizens; therefore long-distance nationalism would be meaningless for them.

And most importantly the issue of racism is still large in U.S. society, and the U.S. society still allows domination by European Americans and sustains racism toward minority ethnic groups. At Western Michigan University, I took an Africana studies class and a social work class, which dealt with cultural and racial issues in the U.S. Through both classes I mainly learned how African American is racially discriminated in the society.

I suppose my way of thinking is similar to colorism but those whose skin color is dark tend to be targeted as an object of discrimination. Even if they transmigrated for such a long time they still cannot assimilate into their societies and their social status is threatened by newcomer of immigrants. From the perspective I found out a limitation of transnationalism, since the U.S. itself also has a lot of unemployed people. The problem would not be solved unless people change their racial tensions based on the skin color or appearance.


Levitt, P. (2001). Transnational migration: Taking stock and future directions. In Global Networks. 1, 3, 195-216.

Levitt, P. (2004). Transnational migrants: When “home” means more than one country. Retrieved on June 6, 2013, from  http://www.migrationinformation.org/feature/display.cfm?id=261

A Colorstruck World? –not for all, only for a particular group of people

by Sakiko Yasumi

Who has been struck in this world? Moreover, why have they been struck? When we attempt to answer these questions, we might think of people struggling in certain situations; people undergoing natural disaster or discrimination, suffering from hunger, extreme poverty, or conflicts, etc. These predictions are undecided and imprecise yet. However, definitely, you can come up with the significant answer without any difficulties if you get a hint: “colorstruck”. It might be reluctantly factual that everyone can respond to the questions with a concrete explanation why they think so. As I mentioned above, in this colorstruck world implied in the book ‘Shades of Difference’, people, especially who live in a diverse country like the United States, have been having trouble with the ‘colorstruck society’.

For the first question; “who has been struck in a ‘colorstruck’ world?” In the United States, people who have dark skin get many difficulties to live in the society compared to people who have lighter skin, even within the African American communities in the United States. Because of the long and bottomless history of discrimination, African Americans have experienced educational, occupational and income gaps between them and lighter skinned supremacy. What I thought through reading the chapter was that its perspective becomes globally understood and darker skinned people unconsciously tend to attempt to look like a white-skinned person by using skin whitener, straightening their hair, thinning their lips, etc. I am aware of that we, Japanese people also have a tendency to apply sunscreen to our skin, and sometimes to have a plastic surgery to get a white-person’s looks. In addition, two of us have something in common; girls/ ladies heavily care about our appearance compared to men.

The second question is “why have they been struck?” It should have been unnecessary for African American women in the United States to evaluate their self-worth by their complexion. Nevertheless, because they are ‘women’, pursuing beauty is one of the best means to heighten their status and self-esteem. Moreover, it was unexpected that African American women have higher self-worth and self-esteem when compared with whites because sadly, they have been competing within their own group to compare and evaluate themselves rather than in the larger society which causes African American women’s too-high self-esteem and self-evaluation.

In conclusion, I did not mean that having a high self-esteem is inappropriate. Despite, this is regrettable that African American women tend to be evaluated by outside of them and comparisons and evaluations are happened with their coethnics for status achievement. An attempt to have a white-skinned person’s appearance resulted from an ordinary social phenomenon. Their self-esteem must be based on and measured by how they love themselves including their original appearance and personality, definitely not by outsiders given the association between skin tone and perceived attractiveness. For this accomplishment, this ‘colorstruck’ society in where American people live ought to be transformed to the one with the environment which all people are livable no matter what their skin colors are.

Racial Stratification in Hong Kong

by Chris Leung

Latin Americanization means the phenomenon of racial stratification and the book Shades of Difference took the example in the United States. However, this term can also be applicable in other places. For instance, in my birth place, Hong Kong, racial stratification is also obvious. However, the situation is quite different from the States.

Since Hong Kong was colonized by Great Britain, racial stratification has already been installed into people’s minds. In terms of the strata, in the beginning of the colonization period, British people and other European were obviously in the top level, followed by East Asians especially Indians. Finally most of the Chinese were in the bottom of the strata. However, there were also some elite Chinese, who could manage to live in the same standard with the Europeans, most of them also discriminated against the collective Chinese with the Europeans. At that time, many luxurious restaurants and shops insisted “Not allowing dog and Chinese.”

This strata system lasted for a quite long period until there were more Chinese people started to work for the government. Nowadays, as Hong Kong has already returned back to China, the strata system has also changed drastically. As there are no more foreigners taking major role in the government, the Chinese could finally regain the position they used to have before colonization and the discrimination against races has a lot improved.

However, when I say Chinese, it only means those who born and grew up in Hong Kong, those who emigrated from the mainland China in this decade also face a huge discrimination by the local ‘Chinese.’ Since many of them are not well educated, they could only do low-paying jobs like cleaner or security guard. Further, there are many family issues among these immigrants, hence the area they live is always a big social concern to the government and there were few movies trying to describe the life in the area where many of the residents think that the movies tried to label their living place as the slum of Hong Kong.

In conclusion, the situation in Hong Kong is quite special. In general term, stratification and discrimination are always between races like in the States. However, in Hong Kong, such things are happening inside one race, which is the Chinese.

Problems of outsourcing in India

by Misato Okumura

There are a lot of call centers in India and many Indians are educated to speak in an American accent to talk with their clients in the United States. The call center itself belongs to IT companies in the United States but it is placed in India and Indian workers there are educated to have an American accent and playing a role of customer service as company members. This is because it is cheaper to employ Indians than employ Americans. Indian employees are well educated and they usually have IT and programming skills but they have struggled with getting job though they graduated from good school. So this sounds very nice because this creates a job in developing country.  But this causes a lot of problems. You can find problems both in India and the United States.

First, problems in India are about their identity and career. Customers call the company and expect that they are going to talk with an American worker. So first thing to do for their job is learning American accent, speed of talking and expressions. Also they need to learn American culture to pretend to be American workers. They check local weather and news in the States on the internet and talk with customers there as if they were also there. They are forced to keep themselves surrounded by American culture and to make themselves think they are not Indians but Americans. So they kill their own identities to get money. This is not good but they need to do that because otherwise they can’t get money. IT companies take advantage of it because they know India have a lot of young people who have knowledge of IT are having hard time to find a job and they can hire them for very cheap. If they work for 7 hours a day, they need to be Americans for one-thirds of a day. It might make them confused.

Second, these Indian workers are doing the same thing every day. It’s just pretending and talking and it doesn’t require any professional skills. This keeps them from a professional and good job even though they graduated from good schools. And you must not forget that there are problems in the United States, too. Because they started outsourcing, a lot of Americans have lost their jobs and opportunity to get a job in their country. The last two problems about career in both countries bring inequality to our society. Japan also has this problem. We don’t have enough job spots for Japanese today but Japanese companies build their factory outside of Japan because it is cheaper. Some people say we are creating job in developing countries but we must not forget this also creates inequality.