Public Problems, Your Story or Mine?

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An example of a public problem is the proliferation of crime in housing projects. It is almost impossible to describe the problem without referencing social constructs.

Social Constructs

According to the book, Theories of the Policy Process, social constructs are created by policy makers to cast beneficiaries or recipients in either a positive or negative light. In turn, the distribution of benefits or encumbrances reflects and further defines the perception of the target population. The book further delineates target groups into four classifications: advantaged, contenders, dependents, and deviants (Sabatier, Paul 2007, p 101-103).

In this view, people living in housing projects could easily vacillate between being defined as dependent (mothers, poor) or deviant (welfare mothers, criminals) depending on who is defining them. Unfortunately, the social construct surrounding housing projects is often the deviant construct.

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Frederick Douglas

I read a short bio on Frederick Douglas today.  He definitely did not choose the easy path of just taking his lumps. It reminds me that my struggle is hard, but nothing like what his must have been to fight for freedom and rights for both minorities and women during that time when to do so must have been terrifying and infuriating.
I feel beat down most days by my decision to fight for the rights of the impoverished in housing, but I come from a place of privilege, unlike Douglas. Isn’t it then my responsibility to do something with that??