Middleman minority

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Middleman minority (also known as market-dominant minorities) is any minority population that, while subject to discrimination, does not hold an "extreme subordinate" status in society.[1]

There are numerous examples of such groups gaining eventual prosperity in their adopted country despite discrimination. Often, they will take on roles between producer and consumer, such as trading and moneylending. Famous examples such as Jews throughout Europe even at times when the discrimination against them was at their peak such as during World War II they still had great success in some parts of Europe, Chinese throughout Southeast Asia, Parsis in India, Igbos in Nigeria, Indians in East Africa, people from the Soviet Blocs in the USA during the Cold War, and many others.[2]

Stereotypically, middleman minorities are thrifty and save a large portion of their incomes, and have limited interaction with the native population in a country. Education is placed at a high premium among all of these groups. These groups usually become the most successful ethnic groups in a society soon after they immigrate, even though they are often poor when they first arrive. Middleman minorities usually provide an economic benefit to communities and nations and often start new industries. However, their economic aptitude, financial success, clannishness, common prejudices and paranoia against businesses and moneylending among other groups, and often disproportionate representation in universities and in politics, high representation in commerce and some high end white collar professional and managerial positions can cause resentment among the native population of a country. Middleman Minorities can be victims of violence, genocide, racialist programs, or other forms of repression. Other ethnic groups often accuse them of plotting conspiracies against their nation or of stealing wealth from the native population.

Middleman minority vs. Model minority[edit]

Middleman minorities have often been compared to Model minorities and although they share traits such as the rapid rates of their success soon after they immigration, even though oftentimes they experience great poverty when they first arrive, providing economic benefits to their communities and nations by often starting their own businesses, their often disproportionate representation in upper educational institutions (e.g. universities), high representation in white collar professions, and their tendency towards a clannish nature.

The two are different in the fact that Middleman minorities also often have high degrees of social and political power that can partially to moderately influence and shape the culture and society of the country they are in whereas Model minorities do not have such power. Middleman minorities are also different in the fact that they have disproportionate representation in all sectors of the societies ranging from business to politics whereas Model minorities usually are only over-represented in educational and economc success. Model minorities tend to be much more isolated and subordinate groups that have little to no participation in their countries preferring to focus more on individual educational and economic goals while Middleman minorties have high-degrees of participation in their societies and they prefer to pursue success in all aspects of their countries. Lastly, the major defining quality of Middleman minorities is that they have some degree of autonomy and aren't completely subordinate to the dominant group of their given society unlike all other ethnic groups.

Thus sometimes leading to Model minorities to being mistaken for Middleman minorities and the misconception that model minorities have some degree of autonomy and control of their images in the dominant society the same way as Middleman minorities do.

Examples of Middleman minorities[edit]

See also[edit]

  • World on Fire (Book about Middleman/Market-dominant minorities throughout the World)



  1. ^ O'Brien, David J.; Stephen S. Fugita (April 1982). "Middleman Minority Concept: Its Explanatory Value in the Case of the Japanese in California Agriculture". The Pacific Sociological Review (University of California Press) 25 (2): 185–204. JSTOR 1388723. 
  2. ^ Sowell, Thomas (2005). "Is Anti-Semitism Generic?". Hoover Digest (Hoover Press) 2005 (3). 
  3. ^ Steven Runciman. The Great Church in Captivity. Cambridge University Press, 1988, page 197.
  4. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica, "Greek history, The mercantile middle class", 2008 ed.
  5. ^ Viscount Bryce, James (1916). The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire 1915-1916. T. Fisher Unwin Ltd. ISBN 0-9535191-5-5. 
  6. ^ Blow; p. 213.
  7. ^ Sisson, Richard (2006). The American Midwest: an interpretive encyclopedia. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana Univ. Press. p. 320. ISBN 978-0-253-34886-9. 
  8. ^ Pope to Arab Christians: Keep the Faith.
  9. ^ "The historical march of the Arabs: the third moment."
  10. ^ "The invisible occupation of Lebanon". The Christian Science Monitor. 18 May 2005. 
  11. ^ Silverman, Robert Mark. 2000. Doing Business in Minority Markets: Black and Korean Entrepreneurs in Chicago’s Ethnic Beauty Aids Industry. New York: Garland Publishing.

See also[edit]