There is something I keep learning over and over again in school: C. Wright Mills “Sociological Imagination.” In other words, to put one self in another’s shoes to shift from one perspective to another. To understand private troubles vs. public issues. What is a private trouble? Well, the example continuously given in classes: if one person can’t find a summer job is that a public issue? No, that is a private trouble because it only affects one person. If a group of people can’t find a job for a period of time, then it is considered a public issue. Why? Well, it affects a whole group of people that can potential affect policies and the way public funding is administered, like social welfare. Social welfare agencies affect everyone in society whether you want to believe it or not.
So from my understanding, there is a whole nation of people who face 3rd world living conditions. Not in Africa. Not in India. Not in China. But right here in Canada. They also have little to no access to proper health care, clean running water (let alone indoor plumbing/heating/sturdy walls). See: Attawapiskat.
This isn’t an isolated issue. This is the story of many reserves across Canada.
But then you have non-Aboriginals, who can’t afford to pay their mortgage, lose their jobs, or can’t afford gas to drive their cars.
Some people in Canada believe that Aboriginals can get themselves out of their situation that it’s all because they “are lazy and drunks” and that they just “need to find a job” or “go to school” or “pay their taxes” or “stop drinking.” Just to name a few uneducated, ignorant excuses. Meanwhile, you have non-Aboriginals, all over North America, the states and Canada, who live in houses with running CLEAN water, indoor plumbing, heating, have beds with blankets, and some have a car parked in their garage. The moment that people can’t pay their mortgage or their loans or fill their car up with the gas, then it’s a problem that the government must handle.
So Canada, the welfare of other individuals affects us all. How can you just sit back and let this sort of injustice and prejudicial treatment happen within Canada?
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