Youth develop an understanding of themselves based mainly on their heritage and the cultural circumstances in which they are raised. For immigrant and street youth, this sense of self-understanding is greatly impacted by how others treat them and how society views the community of which they are a part. The situation for both of these groups is quite similar. They are often made to feel as though they are outsiders, unable to conform and unlikely to find a place relative to their age group with non-immigrants, or non-homeless (Lee and Hebert, 2006: 497.) Oppression manifests itself, as shown repeatedly throughout Robert Mullaly?s book Challenging Oppression: A Critical Social Work Approach, in our everyday interactions with one another. Oppression is not limited to human-to-human contact either, Mullaly clearly showcases that oppressive behavior can manifest itself in all functional, structural and cultural daily interactions.
[...] As well, immigrant and migrant youth face oppression from other children of the same age that cannot relate to their situation because they do not live in similar conditions. As Mullaly notes, most of society rationalizes their participation in this cycle of oppression because we have a belief that society needs such order and that there is a natural formation of structure, or regulation, found within ourselves (2002: 50.) Further, there is an accepted notion along the lines of survival of the fittest; that some groups are simply not strong enough to persevere and that it is not the responsibility of the larger group to aid them. [...]
[...] Thus, for immigrant youth who already exist within a separate social sphere, one that is composed of other immigrants, finding a way into mainstream society becomes even more unlikely and even less desirable (Mullaly, 2002: 125.) When treating immigrant or migrant youth there should be considerable attention paid to the circumstances surrounding their home life and how they came to find themselves in this situation. Many young adults will internalize their social position, believing that they are responsible for the exclusion from society or, on the contrary, harboring a fiercely negative view of the rest of society. [...]
[...] Currently, there are programs geared toward inclusion, which hope infuse both immigrant youth as well as street children back into a more regular, Western, family-based society. This blatantly ignores the underlying problem. These children are often unable to relate to society on such a level, one that Western society has deemed normal or appropriate. While it is tragic that street children are left without proper care and guidance, the solution is not to force them into group homes, nor is it to place blame on their absentee parents. [...]
[...] Street youth are hidden from the society, are seen as shameful and to have come from a failed family unit. They are, therefore, not accepted and are often lost or separated from others in their peer group. Oppression is aided by the institutionalizing of this behavior throughout society by venues that are considered to be of authority. Oppression directly minimizes those who can be identified as the subordinate group. Structure institutionalizes oppression (Mullaly, 2002: 97.) For the group addressed here, immigrant and street youth, structure, order and authority are significantly important contributors to how deeply these youth are oppressed. [...]
[...] The social policy problems as related to immigrant and migrant youth are vast and interesting throughout Canada. Canada is in a unique position because of the large percentage of immigrants to the country each year. The immigrant population in Canada, especially in urban cores, is massive. The problems that face these communities, and more acutely their children, however, are not any less visible. As was presented through Mullaly's work, in coordination with the other sources studied, the problem of oppression remains strong, in any type of social, cultural and individual setting. [...]
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