Young people, race and ethnicity

Authored by: Anoop Nayak

Routledge Handbook of Youth and Young Adulthood

Print publication date:  September  2016
Online publication date:  October  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138804357
eBook ISBN: 9781315753058
Adobe ISBN: 9781317619895


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Race, ethnicity and how we learn to live with difference are amongst the most important issues facing future generations growing up in a rapidly globalizing world. It is widely accepted that race is a fictitious category used to divide up the human population in ways that may benefit some at the expense of others. Despite appeals to a common humanity many people continue to give meaning to the fallacy of race, to the extent it remains a central organizing principle in late-modernity. This can be seen where racial inequality persists in a number of spheres including education, work, law and criminal justice, health, sport and media relations. For example, in the UK in 2014, 37 per cent of 16–24 year olds who are from a minority ethnic background are registered unemployed, a rise from 33 per cent in 2012; while for the UK as a whole unemployment in this age group has remained constant at around 21 per cent for the past three years (Department of Work and Pensions, 2014). While race may be an entirely arbitrary mode of human classification it then continues to structure social relations.

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