We cannot understand current social relations without understanding ethnic and race relations. Ethnicity refers to social distinctions and relations among individuals and groups based upon their cultural characteristics. Whereas race refers to peoples assumed, understood and, socially constructed significant grouping of people. I had the pleasure of reading Maria Campbell’s memoir, Half-Breed. Maria Campbell is a Metis woman who talks about the struggles and hardships she endured by society. This was an interesting read that helped me understand and grasp the lifestyle First Nations lived after being invaded and forced to restructure their world. Everyone fights to be accepted and can only wish to reach these impossible standards set by society as the Canadian Dream; to be the wealthiest, most powerful, prosper and social mobility. This course has allowed me to understand the concepts and theories that were attached to Maria’s memoir. Maria focuses on the hardships and struggles an ethnic group has to go through and most of this can still be related today. My main focus will be on explaining the effects of social justice on an individual and ethnic group. Social justice is the equality of human rights for all and equal access to the benefits and resources of a society. I will be outlining the different social factors that can be seen in both Maria’s memoir and in Canada’s lifestyle. Major social justice issues include poverty and hunger, equal access to education and, fair and affordable housing. Aboriginal people are identified in the Constitution act of 1982, in three separate groups: Indians, Metis, Maria Campbell is identified as, and Inuit. Aboriginal peoples of Canada have the lowest levels of education, occupation, labour force participation, and income. Residential schools were developed and children were forcibly removed from their families on reserves and placed for adoption or in the care of white families- to de-Indian them. This was known as the ‘Sixties Scoop’ (SOCI 1010H, 2014/15, Class 5), which Maria had experienced with her siblings after her mother passed away and her father became a drunk. The Aboriginal people have a long history of their family organization and structure being under attack from a dominant society. The society developed internalized racism which is when you, believe the things about you and your people. In the memoir, this occurred when Maria (1973) attended school with the white people and they ridiculed her and the others for wearing rags as clothes and being poor. Being poor meant that Aboriginal people lived in poverty, making them particularly vulnerable to impoverishment. After Marias mother passed away, her father had asked her to stay home to help with the house chores and to take care of her younger siblings. Living in poverty means that people lack many of the opportunities available to the average citizen, this connects with lack of basic education and may lead to alcoholism, substance abuse, and domestic violence as ways to cope. Marias family experienced absolute poverty; the lack of basic necessities, after her mother passed away but Maria was scared to ask for help, as she knew her sibling would be taken away. Maria helps you understand the affects of poverty in ways that no textbook or lecturer can. She tells her own story of how she followed this pattern even though she had tried her best to self-segregate from her people. It isn’t being an Aboriginal person that forces you down this path, rather it is the situations you encounter from being raised in relative poverty life, which was the life Maria grew up with amongst her people. She stated in her memoir that they were indeed poor but only when compared to the white people and that her people would come together during holidays to share their wealth, food and happiness. Status roles interconnect to systemic discrimination; that is built into the fabric of Canadian life, as in the case of institutional...
Cited: Campbell, M. (1973). Half Breed (1)
Curtis, J. (Ed.). (2012). Sociology: A Canadian Perspective (3). Don Mills, Ont.: Oxford
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SOCI 1010H. (2014/15). Class x. Toronto: York University.
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