In today’s society, many social problems get recognized more than others. Throughout United States history, the power of the government and of the upper class allowed themselves to be put in charge of making decisions that affect others. While members of the upper class have power based on their wealth, the members of the government have power based on their position. The government tend to focus mainly on issues that relates to themselves, such as terrorism, immigration, death penalty, or economy. To the government, these Issues are far more important than issues that do not relate to them personally. On the other hand, society focuses on social issues they have power over. For example, minor violence crimes, safety of the children, gender identities or human rights. People in society are capable of acknowledging these issues because these are issues that could possibly be fix without help from the government. Unless an individual or a group is among the upper class [ the social class composed of the wealthiest members of society, who also wield the greatest political power] then they cannot focus on social issues they are unable to fix or put to rest.
From decades ago to the present, those who have the money or more specifically, who own income-producing land and businesses have the most power in the United States. Power is one of those words that is straightforward yet difficult to characterize in an exact way. We know it signifies ‘clout’ or ‘the ability to make things happen.’ We know it comes from words implying the ability to act in a strong, compelling, and direct way, but we also know that power can be projected in a very quiet and indirect manner. Power in this matter means the capacity of some persons to produce intended and foreseen effects on others because of their class or position. Obviously, the existence of the government and of the upper class have the greatest power which they tend to use to their advantages.
Throughout history, many crimes have been committed around the world but depending on where those crimes took place, we may never hear about them. In the article, “Baltimore riots: How the Western media would cover the unrest if it happened elsewhere,” Karen Attiah writes, “It’s amazing what social media is doing for the cause of justice in America,” said a political rights analyst based in Geneva. The black youth of America are showing what 21st-century civil rights activism looks like, using technology, social media and a decentralized organizing strategy to hold authorities accountable and agitate for change. These kids represent what modern-day freedom fighting looks like. The revolution will be tweeted, Periscope-d and Snapchatted.” This quote clearly shows that if it wasn’t for social media and technology, people around the world will be unable to hear and know what goes on around the world. Karen analysis also shows that society is capable of solving these kind of issues simply by them coming together and protesting and by them spreading the issue across the world. Using apps most people are familiar with like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and snapchat. In correlation, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Crime rates have varied over time, with a sharp rise after 1963, reaching a broad peak between the 1970s and the early 1990s. Since then, crime has declined significantly in the United States, and current crime rate are approximately the same as those of the 1960s”.
Karen Attiah adds, “When asked whether the European Union was willing to take on more black refugees risking their lives in fleeing American state violence, an E.U. human rights spokesman said: “More black refugees? We are dealing with our own Mediterranean crisis, so now is not really a good time for that for us”. Clearly, the government does not want to get involved with issues concerning street violence. Especially violence that involves African Americans which tend to lead to a race issue. It is safe to say that the government focus only on issues that relates to themselves or issues that relates to a specific group. If the definition of newsworthy is what ultimately gets published or broadcast as news, then editors are the ones who make that decision. They decide what gets in the paper, into a news site or into a news broadcast. Editors assign reporters to do stories up to their standers, they also decide how long a story will be and how prominent it will be played. You may be wondering why editors have the right to make all these requests. They are in charge of everything mainly because of their position. Their position as an editor allows them to control reporters and the workers in the company. Those in higher positions have the power to decide what the world see and hear. In addition to exclusive powers, the government conducts any story or news in advance before any information gets out on the news or social media. Discussions about race, specifically African Americans are mostly portrayed negatively on the news and on entertainment programming. Media, entertainment, and other forms of popular culture plays a significant role in shaping our perception of others. For example, Attiah states in her article, “American government officials took to state media, characterizing the protesters as “thugs,” a racially coded word increasingly used to describe black males in America”. This demonstrates how the government characterizes African Americans as the typical stereotypes.
To support this claim, according to Tracy Jan’s article, “News media offers consistently warped portrayals of black families, study finds,” Major media outlets routinely present a distorted picture of black families portraying them as dependent and dysfunctional while white families are more likely to be depicted as sources of social stability. Travis L. Dixon, a communications professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who conducted the study adds “This leaves people with the opinion that black people are plagued with self-imposed dysfunction that creates family instability and therefore, all their problems.” To support, Attiah writes, “Black Americans, a minority ethnic group, are killed by state security forces at a rate higher than the white majority population. Young, black American males are 21 times more likely to be shot by police than white American males”. A social issue is a problem that influences a considerable number of the individuals within a society. When it comes to problems that are caused by individual action in a private space, the role of the government as a solution provider is very minimal. Many might ask, why don’t the government try and solve all these problems? Why do they only focus on some and forget about the rest? Truth is, the government alone can’t solve society’s biggest problems. All problems in our society are not alike. For example, terrorism is a big issue that the government pays close attention to, there is no doubt the government is best equipped to solve it. On the other hand, when it comes to social problems like gender differences or LGBT, the government has no intentions of getting involved because the government prefer to focus on issues that relates to the country.
Michael Tanner in his article, “Government cannot solve every social problem,” he states, “Relying on government to solve every problem in society inevitably leads to political disagreements about how to solve those problems. If everything in our lives becomes political, then there is no respite from the political. This can only increase the polarization of society, driving Americans farther into their respective bunkers”. Clearly, there are roles set for government, and the limits of that role will always be the subject of political debate. But perhaps the next time we encounter a problem in society, we should think twice before asking the government to solve it for us.