- Second-class citizen
Second-class citizen is an informal term used to describe a person who is systematically discriminated against within a
stateor other political jurisdiction, despite their nominal status as a citizen or legal resident there. While not necessarily slaves, outlaws or criminals, second-class citizens have limited legal rights, civil rights and economic opportunities, and are often subject to mistreatment or neglect at the hands of their putative superiors. Instead of being protected by the law, the law disregards a second-class citizen, or it may actually be used to harass them.
Second-class citizenry is generally regarded as a violation of human rights. Typical impediments facing second-class citizens include, but are not limited to,
disenfranchisement(a lack or loss of voting rights), limitations on civil or militaryservice (not including conscriptionin every case), as well as restrictions on language, religion, education, freedom of movement and association, weapons ownership [http://lonang.com/exlibris/blackstone/bla-404.htm] , marriage, housingand property ownership.
The term is generally used as a
pejorativeor in the context of civil society activismand governments will typically deny the existence of a second class within the polity. As an informal term, second-class citizenship is not objectively measured; however, cases such as the American Southunder segregation, apartheidin South Africa, the people of Indiaunder the British Raj, and the marginalization of religious and ethnic minorities and women in many countries worldwide, have been historically described as creating second-class citizenry.
By contrast, a
resident alienor foreign national may have limited rights within a jurisdiction (such as not being able to vote, and having to register with the government), but is also given the law's protection, and is usually accepted by the local population. A naturalizedcitizen carries essentially the same rights and responsibilities as any other citizen (a possible exception being ineligibility for certain public offices), and is also legally protected.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.