In my English and History class we have been working on a unit called rights. We had to do 3 hours of service in the area of rights that we felt passionate about. I chose to work in equal opportunities. I worked with Faith in Action as well as Community Renewal Society, two organizations that help with employment rights among many other things. The experience was amazing. I learned first hand the social issues that you would assume effects a certain group or type of people, but I found out it effects many more. I enjoyed getting to actually apply what I was learning in class to a cause. Below is a poem I wrote about my experience as well as my reflection. Enjoy :)!
I helped with a few events that were all connected to human rights such as employment. I talked with many people who had experienced job lost. Quite a few had degrees and others years of experience. A few of these people were ex cons. It was interesting because even though it was a diverse group of people they had a lot in common. They all had families that they had to support. They all couldn’t get a job. Most of them couldn’t get pass the job application process. So they all came to them same conclusion….discrimination.
Ex Cons could never get pass the question about prison. They weren’t given a space to explain why, just a yes or no check box. None of them were “qualified” for a job. Even though they had paid their debt to society they felt as though they were still being shunned by peoples assumptions about them. A few said that this only made them contemplate doing more crimes to survive because they had no job opportunities. It made them angry and desperate. So it was easy to fall back into old habits and patterns.
On the other hand you have racial discrimination. The box that natural separates us and categorizes us. A man in the meeting said ” you would think that a black person with the same degree as a white person would be just as equal”, and this had me thinking for a moment. If two people have the same education and experience and had great interviews how would you choose. I’m not sure what they answer to that is.
Lastly, something that came as a surprise to me was the discrimination of gender. I guess it was naive to think that in 2013 women and men would be equal. But a few women spoke up about the types of jobs they were “suppose” to apply for and the ones they were not “allowed to have.” They spoke about the big effect being a woman has on whether or not you can get certain types of job. I was surprised at the fact that it has a lot to do with the way we perceive people. No man wants to be saved by a woman and most women feel safer with a man than a woman.
The big question is should we just reduce the application policies down to basics such as experience, education, and job related questions? Of course everything depends on the perspective of people; our own bias and opinions. Would we want an ex con working at a bank, a male babysitter, etc. How much should this and does this affect the job opportunities and the way people are employed in society? Is it a problem that can be fixed? Is it a problem that needs fixing?