Course Reflective Essay
Throughout this course, I have learned a lot precious information. We have discussed many important concepts related to social justice. A key concept that has stuck out to the most is “critiquing.” Critiquing means an attempt at objective understanding so as to determine both merits and faults and more. It requires three steps which are careful analysis, studying the nature of something, and determining its essential features and the relation between them.
This course has helped me view the world differently. Before coming into this class, I had no idea what the term social justice or critiquing or debunking mean. After thorough class discussion, I have learned what these terms mean and can use them part of my daily vocabulary. As discussed in class, social justice is everywhere around us and taking part in our everyday lives. At first I saw Ghana as a very poor country. Now I see the country completely different. I know that there first language is English, Christianity is there main religion in southern areas and parts of the North, and there life expectancy at birth is about 59 years for males and 60 years for females.
There were also many issues relating to social justice that was talked about in class and in the textbooks that were required for the course. Issues such as religion and homosexuality, public space and criminal justice, and human trafficking were looked upon. The issue that was eye appealing was human trafficking. When we look at the term “human trafficking” it is usually defined is the illegal trade of human beings for the purposes of reproductive slavery, commercial sexual exploitation, forced labour, or a modern day form of slavery. The issue occurs throughout the world and is an issue that is not taken upon seriously. We can take the term “critiquing” and use it to analysis human trafficking.
When critiquing the term “human trafficking.” we must consider both sides. One side would discuss that human trafficking is a good thing because it is a business and can be used to make profit. One the other side, it can be said that it is a bad thing and is forced upon by others. We fail to consider both sides and usually focus on just the side we believe in. First, we must analysis carefully what it is meant by “human trafficking.” Second, we must study the nature it occurs in. For example, does it occur because people are desperate for a source of income and this could be there last resort for income or is it occurring because they genuinely enjoy it? Thirdly, we must determine its essential features and the relation between them. For example, human trafficking provides cheaper labour to factories and some human trafficking is done voluntarily for a source of income.
This class has changed my biased views of the world. This course has shown me that we must all be treated equally no matter what. It has shown me the issues that are encountered by people on a daily basis. This course has shown me the importance of the term “critiquing.” The term “critiquing” will help me in so many ways. When I have an issue or a problem, I will use critiquing to battle through my issues or problems on a daily basis.
Class Video: Race: The Power of Illusion
By: Christine Herbes-Sommers
Affective Reading Method
After seeing this video, I could see how difficult it was for those we were African Americans. As the whites were seen as superior and the blacks were seen as inferior. In history, whites have always been seen as the superstructures are generally dependent on the modes of production that dominate in a given period. The blacks have always been seen as the substructure who contain the means of production (the resources), the forces of production (the machinery to control the resources), and the relations of production (the owners of the resources and the machinery).
I think the “one drop rule,” which is a theory of hypo-descent, is a bad way to determine if you are black. It was believed that if you had the tiniest of black blood, you would be considered black. This does not take the fact that person’s great, great, great grandfather could have been black whom that the person that is being tested did not meet, would be considered black if there were a single drop of black blood.
I believe that superstructures and substructures are both needed in the world in order to function properly. With this we have those who contain resources, the machinery to control the resources and the owners of the resources and the machinery (substructure). On the other hand, we have those who are dependent on the modes of production.
I know and recognize that in today’s world, we live in a diverse, multicultural society. From what the world was before, each cultural was seen differently. In today’s world, we are perceived as one. We all work in order to have a source of income, we all eat food, we all have shelters to live and we have clean water. We are seen as similar to one another and discarding the fact of what our skin color is.
Class Video: Gacaca System
Affective Reading Method
After watching this video, I got to see a different court system than our own, Canadian legal system. I learned that the Gacaca system allows us to reconstruct what happened during genocide. It speeds us the legal proceedings, reconciliation of all Rwandans and building their unity.
I think comparing this to the term of social justice, which focuses on solidarity and equality, recognizing the dignity of every human being; this would be considered as “social injustice.” Relating social justice and the Gacaca justice is not fair b/c no lawyer which doesn’t give much protection for defendants and false accusations cud be given by witnesses.
I believe this court system is good thing for Rwandans. It relieves the burden of smaller courts to the larger courts. Criminals are charged with acts against humanity, such as murder and serious assault. These courts are not allowed to try accused rapists. The idea is to let the village courts resolve these issues and hopefully provide some reconciliation.
I know the complications this court system can bring. The fairness is questioned since trials are held without lawyers, which means that there is less protection for defendants than in regular courts. In addition trials can have false accusations and intimidation of witnesses on both sides and the issue of revenge may be raised as a concern.
Class Video: Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story
By: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Affective Reading Method
After seeing this video, I feel very touched and inspired. I was in shock to see her passion after all the stereotyping she has endured throughout her life. It can be said that every single person has a biased opinion, what you may think you know or think about a person, a people, a place or a circumstance is usually determined by your experiences, level of education, stereotypes and biases.
I think as members of society, we do not always pay attention to the history of people rather, we judge them of who they are which most of the time turns out to be a biased opinion. You would be surprised to see that how we perceive people may be the exact opposite of what you know and if you took the time to understand and tolerate beliefs that are different from your own.
I believe that the view of individuals can sometimes lead to conflict or a negative reaction, yet half of the time it’s unintentional. Simply because the media tells you what you should think about others or judge in others does not mean you are bound to believe it. The media focuses on biases and stereotypes that give a negative perception of those practice different belief systems.
I know and recognize how people view the world depends on how they were brought up, what they were taught and what the media says. As members of society, everyone should get to know people or places by having a direct link to whatever they want to know through either experiences or education.
Class Discussion: Discussion about Albinism
Dr. Charles Quist-Adade & Under the Same Sun Representatives
Affective Reading Method
After this discussion, I feel very moved and encouraged by the presentation done by the “Under the Same Sun” representatives. I was shocked to see their passion and the amount of success they have endured in their lives. I feel that I knew nothing about albinism till I was introduced to it by Dr. Charles Quist-Adade and “Under the Same Sun” representatives.
I think having albinism can be extremely difficult. People could judge you because the absence of color in the hair, skin, or iris of the eye, lighter than normal skin and hair or patchy, missing skin color. People would also make fun of you or perhaps even bully you throughout your life because you would be seen as “different” from other people.
I believe that support groups, such as “Under the Same Sun,” is wonderful to have because it can relieve you from being seen “different” from others. They focus primarily those who are at a disadvantage by the disability. “Under the Same Sun” believes that all people are worthy of love support and dignity.
I know and recognize the importance of people who have albinism. The discussion has shown me and made me understand how difficult it is for people who have albinism. I know the complications albinism can cause as well such as decreased vision, blindness and/or skin cancer. I also have knowledge about the treatments that are practiced by those who have albinism such as wearing sunglasses so they could be relieved from light sensitivity. The discussion about albinism has opened up a whole new world for me.
Class Discussion: What has Ice Cream got to do With Water?
Dr. Charles Quist-Adade
Paraphrastic Reading Method
According to the United Nations Annual World Report of 1999, Europeans spend $11 billion a year on ice cream — $2 billion more than the estimated annual total needed to provide clean water and safe sewers for the world’s population.
Americans and Europeans spend $17 billion a year on pet food — $4 billion more than the estimated annual additional total needed to provide basic health and nutrition for everyone in the world.
Summary: Europeans spend $11 billion on ice cream which is $2 billion more than it would take to provide clean water and safe sewers for the world’s population. Americans and Europeans spend $17 billion a year on pet food which is $4 billion more than it would take to provide basic health and nutrition for the world’s population.
I chose this paragraph it shows how much we spend on our wants instead of fulfilling our needs. We should be using that money towards needs of the world’s population instead of spending it on things such as ice cream. When we spend on things such as ice cream, there are medical consequences that come as well such as diabetes. So spending $11 billion on ice cream could be almost doubled due to the medical attention that would have to be given to the people that consume such product. This could be a contribution as to why we have poverty in the world in the first place. By cutting down on our wants and focusing on our needs for the world’s population can result a huge reduction of poverty.
Class Discussion: What is Social Justice?
Dr. Charles Quist-Adade
Affective Reading Method
After discussing social justice, I feel that I understand this term a lot better than I did before. When I first saw this term, I thought it would concern individual attitudes and people fighting for what is right such as people like the great Mahatma Gandhi. After learning upon this term, the understanding of social justice to me now is the concern with equal justice, not just in the courts, but in all aspects of society. This concept demands that people have equal rights and opportunities; everyone, from the poorest person on the margins of society to the wealthiest deserves an even playing field.
I think from a political stance, you must create just in society, and various programs, such as taxes, need to exist in order even the playing field between rich, middle class, and poor people. This would result in equal distribution of wealth throughout the world and would also reduce poverty in third world or developing countries. No one would be seen as “too rich”or “too poor.”
I believe that social justice would give many opportunities to those who don’t have the funding for it. For example, this would give children the opportunity to get a proper education and become something in life which would result them providing for their families. This will fulfill their needs on a daily basis and they could even achieve some of their wants as well.
I know after learning about this term, that the government’s involvement is required on many levels, such as taking money from those have excessive of it by taxation and give to those who are in desperate need for it. The quote by Karl Marx summarizes this best “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”