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Social Problems

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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 вЂ?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 should be evident in many fields” (Callanan & Greenhaus:2008). Another obstacle to getting on a police force is that white males are over represented and the government wants to embody the vast multiculturalism in our society. I feel that race or gender should bear no weight on the hiring process and that the most suitable candidates should attain the position. With a few years to wait until I can be a serious contender in police force recruitment, I decided to better my education. I transferred a years’ worth of credits into the Criminology program and am working towards an Honour Degree. “Financial success, job satisfaction, and stability are all corroborated with a high level of education nowadays” (Hauptman:2007). Faculty at the university constantly articulates that the higher the education, the higher the paying job in the end. I recall a few people that never completed their grade 12, and are now having difficulties finding employment anywhere because a grade 12 is the minimum requirements for most positions in our society.

Unemployment never really concerned me growing up because I was always able to find easy summer/part-time employment. Now that I am in Windsor, unemployment seems to be a looming black cloud over a city that once had a large manufacturing sector. The lack of student jobs is an extra burden that contributes to our struggles in a higher education. For those who don’t attain decent student positions, telemarketing is almost the only jobs available and is an easy option which requires little skill. I was desperate one summer and worked for 2 months as a telemarketer. I now view that job as a burden on my resume because it seems as though a certain stigma is attached to the occupation as being lazy, unskilled, undetermined, and taking an easy route. The stigma attached was semi-legitimate because I encountered many individuals with criminal records and even people who would be considered �social rejects’ at this place of business.

Lack of employment will spawn higher crime rates, drug use, and discourage any prospective developers/businesses to the area. Advancements in technology are affecting the number of workers needed in the manufacturing sector, generating mass layoffs and less need for human labour. My mother said she has had stable and secure employment her entire life, working as a stewardess and now in human resources at a factory. A few months ago she received a letter that the plant is shutting down and all workers will need to acquire employment elsewhere. The loss of her job affects all in our family, as we all depend on each other to get by in a struggling economy. I rely on her assistance when I am in University, due to the astronomical expense of a degree. I will now need to obtain a second part-time



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