Whilst it is true that each country and region may have its own concept of justice and ways of doing things, and that the Western concepts of justice and its norms, are inapplicable to a different country, nevertheless there are some human rights issues that transcend countries and boundaries. These human rights issues can only be recognized if one takes a transcendental stance compared to a narrow stance. It is by recognizing existence of these human rights issues that America can transcend its national limited perspective and involve itself too in a social work pose that effects international concerns and involves itself with concerns and obligations that transcend borders.
In another way, also, the U.S. is never separate from social work issues that occur outside its perimeters. Immigrants from other countries seek refuge in the U.S. On a continuous basis. Even immigrants who do not seek refuge flock to the U.S. To live and these immigrants, in turn, become the fabric and mesh of the country. With them, they bring their original country's customs and ways of social relationship. Many of these diametrically differ from those of the U.S. And oftentimes they may frequently militate to the norms of social work and dictates of human rights that are practiced in the U.S. By the U.S. understanding practices of social work that operate outside of its borders and, occasionally, involving themselves in dealing with injustices and violations of human rights, the U.S. may be better equipped to not only help the immigrants whoa arrive in the U.S. But also to prevent these same flagrances from contaminating their own country.
Another incidental benefit that occurs is simply appreciation of one's life and the broadening of one's own values as well as one's humanity. By realizing, for instance, that whilst many of us spend at least $2.00 on a daily cappuccino whilst children in another part of the world are dying daily form lack of mosquito bites -- involving ourselves in reaching out to help those less fortunate than ourselves can expand our character and humanness on both an indivdiual and national scale. Becoming a more magnanimous and open country as well as being more sensitive to people's plights and more aware of the problems of those outside of our perimeters can only serve to the good of our nation. It distracts us form the greediness that, as foremost capitalist nation of the world, we are apt to sink into and makes us realize that we are, in reality, interconnected. Each country impact the other. The fact that we are blessed with a greater amount of wealth can be used to help deal with the social world problems of those less fortunate than us.
What are some social justice issues affecting residents of your community? What understandings of social justice stem from these issues?
One issue that I am intimately involved with is the injustice of for-profit online universities that routinely scam unfortunate students of their money. Using an inordinate amount of excuses, for profit online universities string the students along getting them into huge debt and compelling them to keep on soliciting loans that eventually run into many 1000s of dollars. In the end, these students graduate without credits and degrees due to the fact that they are compelled to repeat their thesis numerous times on the excuse that lecturers, have died, become displaced, resigned, and so forth. The student loans are not even forgiven by bankruptcy. The students end up heavily in debt and, as yet, few if any lawyers are willing to take on these powerful universities that link together and form powerful corporations. Media, too, has been largely unwilling to address the problem.
The problem is huge. What it generally amounts to is naive, usually single mothers and minorities who are oppressed by an organization that is far stronger and more powerful than they and their problem goes undressed.
More so, it seems as though these for profit universities and their scamming extends to other organizations that supposedly are well-credentialled and provide them with licensing. This is a well-organized ring that extends form the top down and, being supplied with money and influence, including political influence, oppresses those disadvantaged individuals who lack these attributes.
In what ways have you experienced the valuing and devaluing of difference?
I have personally experienced the above since I have many acquaintances and friends who, new to this country, sometimes gave their last moneys to these universities expecting a recognized degree in order to find wok in the U.S.A. Not only did they find themselves on a continuous route to borrowing more and more money but they found previous years of their time wasted having to attend useless and quality-poor classes. There was also the headaches and agony involved in attempting to persist with work that they had to repeat time and again and from the beginning because abusive and ill-educated lecturers were continuously being replaced with others.
Finally, attempting to protest they discovered that few lawyers if any were willing to take on their case since these universities are represented by powerful lawyers. They also discovered that they were invariably threatened by these universities and that moles were planted to spy on possible actions.
I am well aware of many students who have suffered these scams and have, therefore, brought it as example here.
What challenges does the Universal Declaration of Human Rights pose for social work? What are some ways in which you could incorporate UDHR principles into your practice of social justice work?
The UDHR transposes universal values on all countries regardless of particular norms and conventions. In this way, it poses a challenge for social work in that social workers who try to be open-minded and culturally-sensitive have to, on the one hand, realize that truth and morality of values are relative, whilst, on the other hand, they have to persevere in ensuring that certain human rights are maintained universally.
These rights include the fact that all, regardless of class, status, gender, ability, race, background a nd so forth, are worthy of the same benefits. Not all nations accept these principles, believing that some -- due to gender and heritage -- are more worthy of certain rights than are others. Endeavoring to ensure that these principles are kept in all countries, regardless of the nations' particular belief, is a challenge that social work faces.
Social workers, even in the U.S.A. alone, face these same challenges with trying to convince immigrants who may necessarily share different views that women, for instance, are as valued as men, or that no human being has the right to dominate another.
Some of the ways that I can incorporate UDHR principles in social work practices are by informing immigrant females, for instance, of their rights and educating them regarding how to stand up for their rights and for their rights of their children. Showing them that all have certain rights that include freedom of thought, of religion, of privacy, and of seeking legal help can help many who find themselves oppressed by their husband and/or by rigid fundamentalist ways of thinking -- be these religious, cultural, or imposed by a certain political ideology.
How do you make sense of the key concepts of meaning, context, power, history, and possibility through your reading of John Brown Child's story of Red Clay, Blue HILLS, in HOUNOUR OF MY ANCESTORS.
Brown Child's history of his ancestor's tribulation give meaning to his fight against the injustice of slavery and of racist oppression. The fact that he comes form royal stock possibly also fuels a certain self-pride in him and in the worth of his ancestors as seems to be implied in parts of the anecdote, particularly where he emphasizes that his ancestor,…