When following up on the issues of equality in a multicultural society, there is a common dilemma concerning whether to prefer recognition or redistribution. The dilemma involves both policy makers and culturally diverse groups. It is not clear whether different cultural groups only prefer to be ‘compensated’ for their earlier misrepresentation, mistreatment, and misrecognition. Siapera, a social theorist, defines recognition as the practice of being familiar with the unique aspects of a certain cultural group.
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On the other hand, Siapera associates redistribution with issues such as gender equality and equal wealth distribution. There are other sociologists who have contributed their views to the debate involving recognition versus redistribution. Nancy Fraser is of the view that recognition and redistribution are two separate issues and they should not be merged.
Another sociologist by the name of Alex Honneth argues that by giving diverse cultural groups recognition, their redistribution issues are consequently solved. Groups that advocate for gender equality and recognition of ethnic minority groups are examples of how the dilemma of recognition over redistribution manifests itself.
The dilemma of recognition versus redistribution is manifested in everyday social life. Since the dawn of civil rights movements, several stakeholders have expressed different points of views when providing a solution to inequality.
While some activists have clearly favored recognition, others prefer redistribution as the solution to inequality. This dilemma has found its way into modern day politics. An example of how this dilemma has been manifested in recent times is in the debate surrounding the incorporation of Ebonics in the American school system.
Ebonics is an African-American dialect of the English language. Incorporation of Ebonics into the American school system amounts to recognition of the uniqueness of African-American culture. However, most people including some African American activists were against this decision and instead preferred redistribution of educational resources.