Impact Race and Ethnic Inequality on Wellbeing and Life Chances


Inequality is a problem in and of itself, but it also makes eradicating extreme poverty difficult. Inequality refers to the circumstance of unjust and unequal distribution of opportunities and resources among individuals in a given society (Lester, 2016). Also, inequality can be defined as the state of not being equal, notably in terms of status, rights, and opportunities. One of the most significant inequities in society is social inequality. Social inequality, a subfield of sociology, is concerned with distributing goods and burdens in society. This is the level to which an individual's social background, as established by their parents' economic or social class, influences their life opportunities (Lester, 2016). Social inequality manifests itself in income difference, gender inequality, health care, and social class and some people receive better and more professional healthcare services than others due to disparities in the community (The Open University, 2022). Inequality is crucial to poverty because the relative status of individuals or households is considered an essential aspect of their welfare. There are heated debates on whether poverty-reduction programs can be successful without addressing inequality or whether these efforts treat the symptoms rather than the cause (Bessell, 2017). Simultaneously, prejudice and inequity (unequal treatment) can harm young people's life prospects, including their education, qualification attainment, and future employment. People can face discrimination because of their religion, age, background, ethnicity, lifestyle, or sexuality, and how their family, friends, and practitioners treat and support them can have a tremendous impact on their lives. In this paper, I will look at how social inequality (race and ethnicity) can limit young people's possibilities in life and how practitioners might help reduce these injustices in the community. I will also look at diversity and discrimination that keep young people from being more inclusive. I will also discuss the crucial role of practitioners and the assistance they may offer to people who are discriminated against.


Scotland's modern existence is marked by its plurality and complexity. The concept of 'diversity' refers to the wide variety of ways in which people differ from one another, both as individuals and as members of social groups (Deuchar & Bhopal, 2017). Various differences can clearly be seen in the United Kingdom today. These differences can be seen in a person's socioeconomic status, family closeness, and even personal values and beliefs. This can lead to discrimination, but these differences should be celebrated rather than viewed as flaws. Young people, their families, and the communities in which they live are harmed by discrimination and inequality, which must be addressed. Practitioners must have a social-ecological perspective, which is defined as a manner of dealing with individual children and youth and families that keep them at the center while applying knowledge and understanding of the larger picture when attempting to comprehend their circumstances. Working with children and young people can be more equitable if practitioners adopt this point of view. In the United Kingdom, social attitudes and legislation have effectively combated prejudice and, in some ways, generating a more inclusive society. There are challenges to society becoming more inclusive, such as people's attitudes toward others who are perceived as "not normal" (Deuchar & Bhopal, 2017). However, although there are still obstacles preventing society from becoming more inclusive, it has been argued that diversity has grown in Britain over the last 50 years along with increasing liberal ideas about how individuals and families organize their lives, so factors such as age, social class, gender, disability, and religion should no longer be barriers to people's life chances (Furlong, 2013). Despite the increase in diversity, its impact on people's lives has not diminished. It is clear from the module that when a young person's self-esteem has been damaged, they are constantly afraid of being harmed in public. A practitioner's responsibility to address inequities when working with children and adolescents is underscored by this statement.

It can be difficult for young people to comprehend racism since it is so personal. For young people, it might take the form of racial epithets. They may see their parents being disrespected or belittled by others. This makes a youngster's identity and self-esteem suffer over time if they are subjected to or witness discrimination (Furlong, 2013). For children, the quality of their educational environment, the air they breathe, and the water they drink are all adversely affected by racism, which is an ongoing social issue. Racism is a disease that may be passed down the generations since it is socially contagious. Racialized systems and policies can have a long-term impact on a child's health and well-being, and they can even be stressful. Psychological or psychosomatic symptoms might emerge when people believe that their resources have been exhausted. Deuchar and Bhopal (2017) reveal that quantifies stress connected to racial discrimination using measures that analyze personal experiences of perceived racial discrimination rather than directly determining stress from such encounters, leading to a considerable conflation between racial discrimination and stress. The discrimination stress can be explained by the Person-Environment (P-E) Fit theory which reveals that stress might originate owing to a lack of fit between the individual's skills, resources, and capacities, on the one hand, and the expectations. At the same time, due to racial discrimination, young people's health is significantly affected. Overconsumption of highly processed and sugary meals in children has been linked to obesity heart disease. Moreover, lack of access to health care is one of the reasons why children of color have a worse survival rate from childhood cancer. Racial and ethnic discrimination harms young people's health and development (The Open University, 2022). The good news is that social professionals are trying to improve social fairness, which is a fundamental ethical duty for all social workers. Fortunately. According to the preamble of the Social Work Code of Ethics, social workers advocate social justice and social transformation with and on behalf of clients. Social workers are sensitive to differences in culture and ethnicity and aim to remove discrimination, oppression, and other forms of social injustice. Social workers advocate for and work alongside those marginalized and oppressed in society to bring about positive social change (The Open University, 2022). Discrimination and other forms of social injustice are frequently the focus of social workers' efforts to improve society.

In our classrooms, racial bias affects how students learn and behave and how they relate to one another. Racism permeates every aspect of our society and institutions. Children who are taken care of and sheltered may experience educational disparity since their family's financial situation shapes their upbringing (O’Dell & Rixon, 2018). The guidance to children (Scotland) act of 1995 stipulates that young people in care should have the same educational possibilities as other children, including access to higher education and additional growth opportunities. This is not the case at all. Young people who are accommodated frequently experience stress due to their circumstances. This can cause them to miss their loved ones, be apprehensive about the future, and necessitate school or location changes. Society has personal and cultural beliefs regarding children and young people in care, such as believing that they are misbehaving or require care. Apart from dealing with the thoughts and opinions of other people in their society, children and young people may also have to deal with the media's perceptions of them (O’Dell & Rixon, 2018). Prejudice towards children and young people in care can severely influence their emotions, social life, and learning ability, affecting their opportunities in life. Although education is no longer a guarantee of high-quality work, it is still an essential aspect of entering the workforce. There has been a steady rise in the achievement of school leavers in Scotland. On the other hand, recent polls revealed a slight decline in general education period literacy and numeracy results. As a result, education represents a critical opportunity for all children in their future. Racial prejudice limits it on the other side. Policy advocacy by social workers is a means of addressing this disparity. Policy advocacy is a form of social justice activism that aims to influence public policy on behalf of marginalized groups. As a coalition member or working with community people, a social worker can also be a solo activist (Lester, 2016). Even if social workers work in a different setting, they are still obligated to advocate for social justice.

Similarly, immigrant children's emotional, social, and mental development can be profoundly influenced by their early educational experiences. Many children from immigrant families endure bias in school during their formative years, but a good, supportive learning environment benefits youngsters. First-year classroom experiences affect students' self-perceptions as learners, students, and members of their local communities (Lester, 2016). In addition to limiting the emotional benefits of early childhood education, discrimination at this young age can also have a negative impact on personal development and academic results. For students from ethnic minorities, particularly young black students, institutional racism in the United Kingdom has been a big problem. As a result of these prejudices, young black people are less likely to succeed in school since they are viewed as less intelligent and less able to communicate effectively (if they were raised speaking their native language before learning English). As a result of these two difficulties, people of color are bullied and, in some cases, turn the tables on their people, which can lead to expulsion. According to government statistics, nearly 87,000 instances of racism in schools were documented in 2012 (Marsh & Mohdin, 2018). According to the Department of Education, there were 4,590 school exclusions for racist abuse in England in 2016-17, compared to roughly 3,900 exclusions in 2013-14 (Marsh & Mohdin, 2018). Ethnic minority students, in particular, maybe more prone to skip schoolwork and misbehave in class if they are told that their education is not up to par. Racism has the power to influence the pathology of young people. Because of this, social workers are working with schools to establish a safe atmosphere for students to learn. The most urgent and crucial step in reducing classroom bullying is creating a safe environment. Bullied children are more likely to engage in self-harm and other dangerous behaviors if they do not believe they can obtain help from an adult at school. As a result, having an adult on hand at the break, in the hallways, or on the bus is not enough to foster a safe environment. Making it clear to children that they may and should approach these adults when they have a problem is the goal of this project.

Our society's racial inequities present themselves in various ways, putting people of different races and ethnicities at a disadvantage. Discrimination in hiring is the source of the systemic racial disparity that I intend to investigate in-depth in my dissertation. When applying for jobs, people of color, notably blacks and Hispanics, face an unfair disadvantage because of workplace discrimination (Furlong, 2013). White people have an advantage and are favored when getting a job. Employed minorities make less money than whites, according to research. It is important to note that everyone needs a job to contribute to society. To provide for one's family, one must earn a living. Racial and ethnic discrimination in the workplace is wrong because it ignores people's strengths and potential contributions. Families and overall quality of life are affected (Furlong, 2013). Minorities desire to work and are willing to work as hard as their white colleagues but are held back by institutionalized bias over which they have little control. This is an essential disparity to study. Racism's effect on resource and opportunity allocation must be understood. Because it is not as obvious as it once was, many people believe that discrimination has ceased to exist. However, most minorities have worse incomes, housing, and employment chances than their white counterparts. Furlong (2013) also reveals that finding work that fits one's credentials is more difficult for minority ethnic persons than it is for the majority white population. There is also a pay discrepancy between minorities and whites in the workplace, with minorities more likely to work in low-wage jobs. Most minority ethnic groups' educational achievement is higher than that of 'White' ethnic groups. Higher than the national average, minority ethnic young people engage in education, training, and employment. Despite the challenges, social workers can identify and combat workplace inequity. Social workers strive to improve social justice in several crucial areas. If a group is marginalized or disenfranchised, they ensure that it is given more power and influence. They will always fight back as long as they feel injustice, racism, and gender inequality.

Prejudice based on ethnicity and race also impacts minority marriage and civil partnership. For the vast majority of Britons, finding a life partner and getting married are the ultimate goals in life. In recent decades, there has been a decline in marriage rates among young adults, notably among people of color (Eldén, 2016). As a result of a lesser likelihood of ever getting married among Black people in England and Wales, the total divorce rate in the UK remains high. Social and economic disparity has been widely blamed for a rise in marital patterns and a lack of access to the institution of marriage for many individuals. Race-related explanations for reducing marriage rates include high incarceration and unemployment rates in Black neighborhoods and unequal educational rates between Black men and women (Eldén, 2016). It is not clear why Black people are less likely to get married than their White counterparts, but such factors may play a role in the gap in marriage rates. If you want to understand why there are inequalities in marital patterns, you must consider social issues. Since Black people face increased racial discrimination in numerous spheres of life while White people, on average, profit from their racial superiority in numerous areas, the marriage gap between Black and White people is of particular relevance. Young people's life prospects and family formation are influenced by their race, and one possible mechanism for this is perceived racial discrimination. However, minorities marry later in life than their white counterparts. Marriage might be postponed for economic and cultural reasons. The customary expectation that husbands should make more money than their wives is challenging to meet for black men, who face considerable discrimination both in educational settings and in the job market. It is no coincidence that the historically low marriage rates experienced by Black women were exacerbated by the historically high rates of unemployment, imprisonment, and mortality experienced by Black males. Black women are less likely than white women to marry at any age, and they are also the least likely to marry outside of their race (Eldén, 2016). Black women are being lured to a smaller and smaller pool of acceptable Black males because of this. On the other hand, social workers are working with families to remove racial and ethnic discrimination against young people who wish to get married. Working directly with individuals and families to help them make changes and solve issues, organizing support services, providing recommendations or referrals to other organizations or agencies, and keeping thorough records are only some of the responsibilities of a social worker.

The institutions, policies, and practices contributing to economic inequalities, health disparities, educational access, results, and other inequities must be addressed quickly to combat systemic racism. Social attitudes and legislation have successfully managed prejudice and, perhaps, fostered a more inclusive society in the UK (Eldén, 2016). As long as there are still obstacles in society's way, it has been argued that in the UK, diversity has grown along with more liberal views on how people and families should organize their lives, so things like age, social class, gender, disability, and religion should no longer be obstacles to people's life opportunities. Despite the increase in diversity, its impact on people's lives has not diminished. To address disparities in their work with children and adolescents, practitioners must take responsibility for doing so. Racism can also be studied by looking at how policies, decision-making, and institutional practices create and define racism (Clark, 2020). Racial groups are subordinated and controlled by policy. Organizational policies and procedures might be seen as racist since they are based on established and respected social institutions, making them less likely to be challenged than individual racist acts. Prejudice and racial stereotyping can lead to unintentional institutional racism when used to produce laws and practices that disadvantage minorities. Suppose an organization cannot make decisions or policies without the input of individuals.

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Racial inequality has the potential to harm the social and academic well-being of children and young people. It's possible that they'll be treated unfairly because of their age, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other identifying characteristics. Parent support groups have helped Gayle and Shelley understand that when children and young people are discriminated against, it may severely impact their families. Practitioners can help eliminate these inequalities by adhering to the SSSC's Codes of Practice and the four necessary competencies. As a result, they are better equipped to make sound judgments, collaborate effectively with others, and help young people overcome discrimination. For young people in foster care and housing, their socioeconomic position might influence their education, which can lead to unfairness. Regardless of their circumstances, all children should be able to pursue post-secondary education and other educational opportunities. Although this may be the case, in theory, it is not the case in practice. People who are housed usually experience stress because of their situation. It's possible that they'll miss their loved ones, have to move schools, and may not be as close to their pals. Prejudice against children and young people in foster care is rampant, and it has the potential to negatively damage their mental health, social interactions, and academic performance.


Clark, R.M., 2020. Childhood in society for the early years. Sage.

Deuchar, R. and Bhopal, K., 2017. Emancipatory Approaches to Judicial and Penal Practices: Illustrative Prospects from Scotland. In Young People and Social Control (pp. 149-169). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Eldén, S., 2016. An ordinary complexity of care: moving beyond'the family'in research with children. Families, Relationships and Societies, 5(2), pp.175-192.

Furlong, A., 2013. Youth studies: An introduction. Routledge.

Lester, A., 2016. Five ideas to fight for: How our freedom is under threat and why it matters. Simon and Schuster.

Marsh, S. and Mohdin, A., 2018. A Record Number of UK Children Excluded for Racist Bullying. The Guardian, 30.

O’Dell, L. and Rixon, A. 2018. ‘Neuroscience, policy and practice in the early years’, in The Open University (2018) KE322 Book 2 Readings, Milton Keynes, The Open University.

The Open University. (2022). Young lives, parenting and families. Available at:

Bessell, S., 2017. The role of intergenerational relationships in children's experiences of community. Children & Society, 31(4), pp.263-275.

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