Comparative Public Service Systems
Edited by Hans-Ulrich Derlien and B. Guy Peters
Chapter 7: Minority Representation: Language, Race and Ethnicity
7. Minority representation: language, race and ethnicity James Iain Gow and Sharon L. Sutherland Modernity as applied to government meant the emergence of the modern bureaucratic state with its legal rationality, its separation of church and state and its universal egalitarianism. As very few states have homogenous populations, however, at length a number of minorities complained that majority government and bureaucratic administration neglected their needs and even threatened their existence. One of their ﬁrst aims was for a greater presence in public sector employment. This chapter is concerned with only two of the aspects that generally provide the motivation to introduce special programmes designed to change the composition of public sector employment, that is, language and minority racial and ethnic status. Ethnicity, according to Le Petit Robert dictionary concerns ‘a certain number of characteristics of civilization, particularly a community of language and culture’, whereas race depends on physical characteristics. Although our concern is with linguistic, ethnic and racial presence in the public service, note in passing the variety of groups that may be included in anti-discrimination policies. To ethnic and racial groups, including aboriginals, most policies add sex, and many include disabilities or handicaps. The most elaborate collection appears to be that of New Zealand, adopted in its Human Rights Act of 1993, which makes it unlawful to ‘discriminate unfairly’ on the grounds of sex, age, marital status, religious belief, ethical belief, colour, race, ethnic or national origin, disability (including illness), political opinion, employment status, family status and sex orientation....
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