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Critically assess the role of (ethnic/racial/religious) discrimination in explaining immigrants and ethnic minorities’ education and the labour market disadvantage in Western Europe

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  1. Introduction
  2. The process of decolonization in European countries
  3. European government
  4. Ethnic minorities
  5. Religious discrimination
  6. Conclusion

After World War II and the process of decolonization, European countries were regarded as egalitarian and peaceful societies (Wacquant 2008, p. 15). In a context of economic expansion, the integration of migrants was easier and their aspirations of social mobility were achievable. However, times have changed and disadvantages of migrants and their descendants in terms of education and the labor market still exist. Indeed, social cohesion has been weakened because of competition between migrants and natives which characterized periods of economic instability.

Moreover, this led to discriminatory behaviors on the part of the majority against minorities as increasing diversity threatened the national cultural pattern of ?assimilation for all'. Some European countries such as the Netherlands tried to implement multi-cultural policies in order to facilitate integration of minorities. As these multi-cultural policies were inefficient, European governments decided to stop these policies: there was a retreat of multiculturalism in countries such as Great-Britain and the Netherlands (Joppke, 2004). At the same time, race riots broke out to protest against the high unemployment and the conditions experienced by minorities (Castles, 2008, pp. 1-2). Such unrest's reflect integration problems of minorities who are victim of discrimination, particularly in the educational system and in the labor market.

It is clear they do not have the same opportunities as the majority groups. However, it would be a bit simplistic to say that these inequalities are only the result of ethnic, racial or religious discrimination. Hence, what we are going to do in this essay is to assess the role of discrimination in explaining these inequalities in education and in the labor market. This essay will demonstrate that discrimination is the major factor to explain unequal opportunities but not the only one.

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