Minorities are social groups whose members have less control over their fate than do members of dominant segments of society, who commonly hold minorities in low regard. Thus, minorities are defined with respect to their position within a society's hierarchy in terms of (a) power or control that group members have over their lives, (b) status or prestige afforded to group membership, or (c) both.

Frequently, minority groups are smaller than other groups in the society. African Americans in the United States and the French-speaking citizens of Canada are examples of numerically small minorities. Minorities, however, may be comparable in size to the rest of the society, as is the case with women in most societies. Or they can be more numerous than the rest of ...

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