The term segregate means to separate, marginalize, isolate contact, distance something or someone considered different. In the study of Sociology , social segregation is defined as a spatial (geographical) separation of a group of people, due to several factors, such as race, purchasing power, religion, ethnicity, education, nationality or any other factor that may serve as a means of discrimination.
With the consolidation of capitalism as an economic system some centuries ago, society started to be divided into basically two classes: that of capitalists , who are the owners of the means of production (industries, businesses, large rural properties, banks, etc.); and the workers , who sell their labor power to the capitalists, that is, their physical and intellectual capacity to produce, in exchange for a remuneration that guarantees their survival.
This division of society imposed by capitalism causes significant social inequality, where the highest concentration of income is held by a smaller number of people. In general, social inequalities are more accentuated in underdeveloped countries and more lenient in developed countries.
The social inequalities , in turn, are grounds for discrimination very common in capitalist societies. The difference in purchasing power has the capacity to separate groups, making economically richer groups to occupy regions distinct from those who live in conditions of poverty. It is like a cycle: inequalities generate social segregation, and segregation accentuates inequality.
If we draw a panorama of Brazilian cities, it will be possible to note that, in most or all cities, there is at least one neighborhood or region where only people with higher purchasing power live, while other regions are inhabited by poorer citizens.
In large urban centers, such as São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, for example, there are a large number of favelas, where houses are often built in inappropriate places, basic sanitation is precarious or does not exist, access to education and health services are more restricted, the unemployment rate is higher and, of course, the income of residents is low. On the other hand, in these same cities, there are several luxury neighborhoods, where closed condominiums predominate, with efficient basic sanitation, private educational systems, excellent health care, more and better job opportunities, in addition to a high concentration of income for those there they reside.
In addition to segregation related to economic power, social segregation due to race is also very frequent . This type of segregation occurs when people of a certain race are prohibited from attending public places, such as schools, clubs, restaurants and other leisure environments.
The best example of racial segregation in the world is Apartheid , a racist regime imposed on the black population by the white minority of South Africa. polling stations, could not circulate in certain areas of the cities, were forbidden to relate to white people and also to frequent the same places as them.
The political and separatist domination of whites in South Africa did not end until 1994, when the multiracial elections brought the leader Nelson Mandela, the country’s first black president, to power.
As a result of inequality and segregation, social exclusion arises, which can be defined as the extreme of marginalization. Socially excluded groups are deprived of their basic rights as citizens, living in situations of extreme poverty, homelessness, unemployment, poor income distribution, lack of access to education and health and illiteracy.
In Brazil, we have the Social Exclusion Index (HEI), an indicator of social inequalities that has as a parameter the levels of education, literacy, access to health services, violence, formal jobs (registered in the work card ) and poverty of the population of all Brazilian municipalities. This index was created in 2002 from the data obtained in the 2000 demographic census.
The worst rates of social exclusion in Brazil are those in the North and Northeast regions (with few exceptions), while the best rates are in the Southeast, South and Center-West. These inequalities that permeate between Brazilian regions have their origins, mainly, in the historical heritage of occupation of the territory and in the development of economic activities.
The context of inequalities that exists not only in Brazil, but in the world as a whole, shows the need for a restructuring that is capable of correcting these economic and social divergences and banning the exclusion of social groups. However, it is known that this need does not go in the same direction as the interests of the world capitalist and financial system, hence the difficulty of changing this scenario.