Monday, February 18, 2013

Social Inequalities in Qatar

Qatar is one of the richest countries in the world, but when looking carefully at its social class system one would find a lot of social inequalities. When studying the definition of social inequalities I realized that there are different elements that contribute to those discriminations. Things such as wealth, social status, education effects the treatment of a person. However, in Qatar I noticed that race is a huge marker of social inequality. To be specific, social inequality refers to the arrangement of recourses and/or “social goods” in a systematic way that people of different backgrounds have unequal access to them. 

Although I didn’t actively detect racism with in my circle of acquaintances, I realize that racism exists in Qatar. I came to this conclusion based on the different treatments people of different races face on day-to-day basis. For example, in Qatar, one would think that any Indian man walking in the street is a worker. This is based on the preconceived idea that most workers in Qatar are Indian men. 

Social inequalities in Qatar appear in the form of education and jobs. For example: if a Qatari and an Egyptian are applying to the same job and the Egyptian has more qualifications, the Qatari would be hired. Furthermore, Qataris get better treatment in the office space. On another note, Qataris get free education while other races pay for theirs. Another example is that a Qatari would be picked as the top of their class in school although another race deserved it. These kinds of choices are made to show the public that Qataris have what it takes. And although I agree that a lot of Qataris have what it takes, I believe that there are certain inequalities that make it hard for others to have access to what they deserve. In the Human rights watch world report of 2012, the unfair treatment of workers was said to be a “serious problem” and that “forced labour and human trafficking” is a part of it.

I once visited the home of my Pakistani/ Qatari friend. After we had dinner, my friends and I were helping out with cleaning. When I went into the kitchen, I noticed a Pakistani maid cleaning up so I put the dishes and left. However, my friend asked me why didn’t I say hi to her mother so I told her I didn’t see her mother. As it turns out, the woman I thought was the maid is actually her mother. Personally, I don’t think of myself as racist. However, I recently found out that because of my preconceived notions that I’ve learned from observing things in Qatar I became a racist, something that I don’t approve of.

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