On the first day of Social Problems class we were introduced to Charles Dickens’ phrase, “Power in itself is not a bad thing, its how we use that power, whether to help or destroy”. Governments and government related jobs hold utmost power when it comes to managing issues that are referred to as actual social problems. I feel this is where Canada really distinguishes itself from the U.S., deciding to be more of a righteous/peace keeping country, rather than a selfish/intimidating super force.
The U.S. invests astronomical amounts of money into the military and defence, when issues like crime, health, and poverty are spiralling out of control. Canada realizes its citizens deserve universal healthcare and our control of crime and serious criminals stems from funding and our incarceration rates. A dilemma that is incumbent in both countries is modernization and the ripple effects like high unemployment rates, which in turn creates higher crime rates, and so on. A research article on Karl Marx deliberated the idea that a, “countries unemployed are an asset in the sense that they are a reserve army of labour” (Hill:2007). Since the ‘war on terror’ began 6 years ago, Canada and the U.S. military have used this reserve army of labour to stockpile military personnel.
The social issue that is made most evident by mass media outlets is war and terrorism. Three friends in my Police Foundations program 2 years ago were frustrated with the lack of jobs and difficulty to attain the better ones, resorted to joining the Canadian military. They are enjoying their tours in Afghanistan; although, are greatly missed by family, friends, and lovers who constantly worry about their safe return home. Acts of terrorism are becoming an everyday news headline in our culture and terrorism has been associated with a certain race/ethnicity. I have a few friends whom are Muslim and were born in the Middle East. They say that it is not uncommon for people to snicker discriminating comments and to hate on them because of the way the look. I went to high school in Blenheim and there was literally one black girl and the rest were all predominantly white. Blenheim is a hick town in the country, and it was not uncommon for me to visit friends and hear their parents drop racist and discriminating comments. My past 2 years at the university have been amazing for meeting great people and being in contact with such diversity has definitely broaden my knowledge of foreign cultures. My friends that are Muslim seem to be the friendliest and most caring people I know and would never discriminate on another person regardless of how they were treated. Since 9/11 and the subsequent terrorist attacks, government agencies have loosened restrictions on who they can detain on suspicious grounds and have dramatically tightened security measures at our borders, airports, and large capacity crowd events. This affects me since I do not have my Canadian citizenship yet and when I want to travel out of country, I am hassled and even turned away because new laws require much more authentic paper work. It seems as though our governments have brainwashed our society into believing that at any time they can be victims of some faceless terrorist event.
A social issue that has the greatest impact on my life and affects me on a personal level is work and unemployment. Four years ago I entered the Police Foundations program at St.Clair College expecting to complete my 2 year diploma and join a police force right away. I have been set back a few years due to my age, which can be related to the topic of ageism in a way; however, police forces are justified in looking over candidates with less life experience. Ageism can also go the opposite way in policing with the baby boomers being forced to retire due to age, while recruiting for the next generation takes place. “An advantage to the baby boom era is they will all retire about the same period and a subsequent job explosions...
References: 1. Hill, Lisa. (Nov 2007). Adam Smith, Adam Ferguson, and Karl Marx on the Division of Labour. [Journal of classical -sociology]. Vol 7, Pg-339.
2. Callanan, G., Greenhaus, J. (Feb 2008). The Baby Boom Generation and Career Management: A Call to Action. [Adv in developing human history]. Pg-71.
3. Hauptman, A. (Jan 2007). Post-Secondary Education and Success. Retrieved April 3rd, 08. http://www.wiche.edu/Policy/Changing_direction/documents/student_success.pdf
4. Turner, H. (Dec 2007). Significance of Employment for Chronic Stress and Psychological Distress among Mothers. [American Journal of Community Psychology]. Pg-181.
5. Cook, P. (2007). Paying the Tab: The Costs and Benefits of Alcohol Control. [Princeton University Press]. Pg-262.
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