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Understanding the term oppression has been an uphill task given the varied nature in which it is conceived in the society. However, the most fitting definition would be that it is a set of structural phenomena that limit, diminish, or immobilize a specific group. Ideally, oppression is the reason for the rise of various activist groups advocating against the vice to liberate a group. Put simply; oppression occurs when other people reduce the chance of others being fully humans, say through treating a specific group in a dehumanizing way. There are five main faces or types of oppression: exploitation, powerlessness, violence, cultural imperialism, and marginalization. This paper critically examines the case study by Lou (2018), which represents an incident that occurred in Canada, through the lenses of the five faces of oppression and the concept of social group and develops an evidence-based solution to the issue at hand.
In meeting its objective, the paper first presents the idea of social groups and identifies the social group that is the subject of the situation. The paper then explores the five faces of oppression before delving into the faces of oppressions that are evident in the case. Finally, the paper presents the best, reasonable, and evidence-based Community-Based Adult Education (CBAE) program for the issue at hand.
The concept of a social group is more complicated than superficially conceived to be just a collection of people. Instead, it represents the people entwined with their social identities. Therefore, an excellent definition of a social group is that it is a collection of people who can be differentiated from other diverse groups by their cultural norms, beliefs, and lifestyle. Within the group, the members of the social group develop some affinity to each other due to their similarities, which are peculiar. Social groups can be classified through the aggregate and the association model. The aggregate model dwells on attributes such as eye color, skin color, height, hair, and social and emotional salience, among others. The aggregate model benchmarks the attributes against the attributes of the highly visible social groups. On the other hand, the association model stresses individuality before a social group because the individuals then constitute the association. Reading through the case study article, it is evident that the Muslim Immigrants to Canada are the social group that the story focuses on. In this case, the government comes to the defense of its refugee system, after a Somali immigrant who raised eyebrows with his extremist view is charged for alleged attempted murder.
Abdulahi Hasan Sharif, who is 30 years of age is accused of running down a police officer with his car and repeatedly stabbing him. The mention of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s welcoming message to the immigrants from the Muslim-majority country clearly shows the social group in the issue is the Muslim-immigrants. Specifically, the social group within this larger Muslim-immigrant group is the Ogaden Somali Community, as there is an indication that they panicked and asked for the safety of the children to attend schools following the unfortunate incident.
As initially highlighted, there are five faces or types of oppression. Exploitation draws from Karl Marx’s view of Capitalism, which creates the “haves, ” and the, “have-nots. ” Typically, those who have, end up exploiting the have-nots. The latter is always deemed as hard workers. Exploitation means utilizing other people’s labor for profit and not fully compensating them and it perpetuates class difference due to wealth distribution imbalance. Marginalization, on the other hand, refers to the act of confining a group of people or relegating them to an outer limit, the edge of the society or lower social standing in the society. It excludes or expels a whole social group from useful contribution or participation in social life. Consequently, it leads to material deprivation and some extent extermination. Powerlessness, which is the other form of oppression, anchors on Karl Marx’s theory of socialism where one group is viewed to have power and the other to have not power or powerless. The former dominates the later and are bound to give orders. On the other hand, the powerless cannot reciprocate the same. Some of the most common social injustices against the powerless social groups include disrespectful treatment, lack of engagement in the decision-making process, and inhibition of personal development. Persistent powerlessness creates a culture of silence, where the oppressed fear talking, and are forbidden to mention the injustices meted upon them by the powerful. In this respect, the oppressed are silenced and with no voice. Only consciousness can liberate the powerless, oppressed groups, a process called conscientization. The other most visible form of oppression is violence. Members of some of the social groups face frightening unprovoked attacks, which make them live in constant fear. Even without motive, such attacks destroy, damage, and humiliate the people on the receiving end. Systematic violence makes the underprivileged groups such as the Jews, Muslims, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and Arabs, to mention a few, live under threats of violence. The other form of violence is cultural imperialism, which involves the universalization of the culture and experiences of the dominant group. It includes taking the values, beliefs, goals, and achievements of the group.
Sexuality is the most common form of cultural imperialism given the dominance of heterosexuals rendering other sexual orientation as inferior. Applying the Five Faces of Oppression to the Case Despite being granted refugee status in Canada in 2012, the turnover of events took place after the political statement by Prime Minister welcoming the immigrants from the Muslim-Majority country. This comes after the exhaustive investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) rendering Abdulahi Hasan Sharif’s extremist ideology as of less threat to the nation. Sharif’s bail hearing was also delayed only to release a photo of him with a bruise in his forehead. Authentically, the delay of the bail hearing denotes powerlessness as he was not subjected to the law that Canadian citizens are subjected. Furthermore, the bruise shows the oppression has reached violent levels, where the oppressed receive violence without recognition of their fundamental human rights. The experience shows marginalization to some extent because, after the experience, the Ogaden Somali Community was shaken and worried about sending their kids to school the following day. Similarly, if Sharif were a Canadian native, he would probably get the best treatment without violence and delays. Even the strict anti-terrorism laws were placed due to the fear of the attacks being caused by homegrown radicals. Therefore, there is also evident marginalization and powerlessness as the Somali Community cannot speak against the violence or the unfair treatment.
Understanding the contentious issue in the case as oppression (marginalization, violence, and powerlessness), there is need to develop a comprehensive Community Based Adult Education (CBAE) program. The first focus would be to attain social justice. The Goal of the CBAE Program Ordinarily, public education promotes social cohesion and civic solidarity. Therefore, the goal of the CBAE program would be to promote social justice in Canada, maintain social order, and sustainability as well as health of the communities living in Canada.
The program should target defining some of the forms of oppression and how they occur consciously or subconsciously. The program should also focus on defining social justice and some of the factors that cement it in an ideal society. Besides, the program should entail the emancipation of the public on some of the causes of social injustices in the society. Some of the changes on the society are to blame for the social injustices or oppression of some social groups. The changes include increase in competition, which is enforced through rapid globalization. Economic disparity due to increased competition places people in different social groups, thus the different forms of oppression. Another eminent change is the changing role of the governments. Notably, due to the fiscal constraints, new ideologies, and shifting to individualism the government has redefined its roles and responsibilities. Shifting responsibility back to individuals and families. The other change is the new settlement patterns. There has been an increase in movement of the people from one place to the other. Immigration causes spatial segregation that leads to fewer opportunities for support and even lack of empathy.
There is need to address the people, place, and policy challenges. First, it would be important to educate the public on the alternative place-based-change strategies so that they can overcome difficult challenges such as discrimination and violence, and improve the quality of their lives. There is need to educate the communities on local coalitions within different social groups, appreciating multiculturalism, and embracing diversity. The community needs to be emancipated on the cross-agency and cross-community learning. This should expose the public, especially the Somali immigrants to different resources relevant for them to understand their rights and integrate into the society. There is also need to empower the public on how to create forums where the voices of the minority can be heard. There is also need to form avenues to link leaders from the minority community across Canada.
In sum, the CBAE should emancipate the minority communities on the resources to introduce them into the society, embrace their new status, and avoid colliding with the law. Still, the community needs to be reminded of the policies and regulations that guide their interactions.
This paper has presented the concepts of social group, oppression, social justice and the five faces of oppression. In the case study, it is apparent that the social group experiencing oppression is the Muslim-Immigrants of Somali origin. Given the five faces of oppression and the encounter of the alleged suspect under police custody, this paper has clearly shown that the suspect experienced powerlessness, marginalization, and violence forms of oppression. Given the understanding of the forms of oppression meted against the suspect, the CBAE program proposes different solutions. The program is meant to emancipate the immigrant community and the larger dominant Canadian native group to embrace each other. The program first states the goal and outlines the problem before coming up with strategies. Some of the audience for the CBAE program include the public, the policy makers, the government officials, and the oppressed minority.
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