Paper Example on Social Change Issues

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1241 words
Carnegie Mellon University
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Social activists such as Coulthard and River examine the social issue changes in the society. In their articles, the authors discuss some of the social concepts that affect the society such as labor, materialism, human rights, sexual identity, and racism. Although each author examines different subjects, they also have some common aspects advocating for social change. This paper will explore the social change issues construed in the articles using a comparison method.

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Both articles examine the freedom as a social issue that needs change. According to Coulthard's article For our nations to live, capitalism must die published in 2013, the indigenous communities needs both political and economic freedom. Courthard (2013) argues that for many years, the indigenous communities in Canada have been blocked from enjoying the fruits of their lands; he describes it as political leverage. In his discussion, Coulthard contends that the indigenous communities need to realize their potentiality and acknowledge that political leverage associated with the political and economic exploitation. He further advises that it is time for the indigenous communities to take back and seize the unique political opportunities after struggling for long without success.

Consequently, River in her article The Combahee River Collective statement argues that black women need to obtain their political freedom. She points out that black feminism is a legitimate political movement that helps the black women combats the manifold and simultaneous oppression that black women face (River, 1983, p. 1). For many years black women have been oppressed, neglected and exempted from taking part in important aspects of social development. Explaining the history of the black feminist movement, River elucidates that it has evolved since the 1960s and has tried to make the women less objectionable in the eyes of the oppressive white male dominance.

Although both articles examine the political freedom from different perspectives, they have a common background of breaking away from the dictated patriarchal society acknowledging one particular race or group of people. The black feminists movement advocated by River aims at liberating the black women from the white male ruling dominion; on the other hand, the political-economic desire to liberate the indigenous communities in Canada advocated by Coulthard in his article also aims at breaking the bondage of economic dependency despite the availability of resources like land.

Both articles further examine the minority groups in the society and kinds of suffering they are going through. In his article, Coulthard explains about the predicaments of the indigenous communities who are still considered minority groups in Canada. Despite being the first people in the land, they have been denied the opportunity to enjoy it. This has, however, exposed them to a state of economic dependency on their lands.

River in her article also investigates the oppression of black women, who are also considered a minority race in America up to date. River clarifies the minority issues that the black movement advocates for, namely, racial, sexual, heterosexual and class oppressions. According to River (1983), the synthesis of these oppressions results in depression in black womens lives (p. 1).

Contrast/ Differences

Although both articles examine the oppression of the minority groups, each article has a different point, which is specific to what the proponents advocate for. Coultyards article discusses problems experienced by both genders in the indigenous communities. However, Rivers article examines the problems associated with a specific gender, female one. Despite the fact that both black women and men were subjected to almost the same oppression in the 1960s and 70s, River chose to examine only one aspect of the gender issue.

Coulthard is more a social-economic activist while River is more a feminist advocating for womens rights and equality. Coulthard criticizes the coming of the colonial powers that changed everything including the ownership of the lands citing that the indigenous community leaders are drawn from their lands to negotiations that do not benefit both parties involved but only the settlers interest. She argues that the experience and disillusionment of the black women led to the need to develop a political tool that would fuel the feminist ideologies to fighting against the oppressive racial, sexual and societal patriarchy.

Although both articles derive their arguments from a historical point of view, each of the articles examines issues in different geographic settings. River examines issues affecting womens lives in America while Coulthard examines issues affecting the indigenous communities in Europe. As for the genesis of contemporary o black feminism, River explains that the

Limitations and Possibilities for Social Change

Some of the limitations for social change in Rivers article include gender inequality and the patriarchal system of the society. Despite establishing the feminist movement in the 1960s to fight for the womens rights, the movement has not achieved its primary objective of liberating the women of the minority racial groups because most of the societal rules are made by men, who has taken dominion over the social politics and economy. The patriarchal system where the male dominates and controls everything makes it difficult for the women to achieve the liberation as they do not make the rules but live by the rules.

The same with Coulthard's article that the indigenous communities cannot find the freedom they desire because they do not have power to make the rules. Their oppressors continue to take advantage of the situation and distribution of the. Vogel, Marxist proponent, (1987) explains that the one who controls the resources in the society gets the opportunity to control the society and its people. This is what is happening in Canada limiting the indigenous groups from achieving their primary objective of becoming economically and politically independent.

The possibilities for social change in Rivers article include the shared ideology amongst different women across America, especially from the black racial grouping that faces oppression, but they are unable to take action without someone to motivate them. However, by coming together through a common background and on a shared ideology, they can fulfill their goals. As River discusses on the beliefs of the black feminist movement, their politics have sprung from a shared belief that necessitates black womans liberation.

In Coulthard's article, the possibility includes the decentralization of the governance system. The minority indigenous communities in Canada have experienced economic hardship for long because the centralized government does not equally distribute resources to every region in Canada. Therefore, as Coulthard explains about developing the indigenous political-economic alternatives, they need to change the governance to a decentralized system.

In conclusion, although the articles deal with different period and geographic locations, they examine social issues that are common irrespective of the location or time. The time of publishing does not have influence as concepts discussed in the articles are still relevant to the temporary society. For example, Rivers article published in 1983 examines the gender oppression and inequality which is still happening up to date. Although some changes have been made including adopting new policies to deal with the gender bias issue, up to date, black women are still exposed to discrimination and oppression. The same applies to Coulthard's articles; the indigenous communities in Canada have not found peace or independence up to date.


Coulthard, G. (2013). For our nations to live, capitalism must die. Nations Rising. Retrieved from

RIVER, C. (1983). The Combahee River collective statement. Home Girls: A Black feminist anthology, 264. Retrieved from, L. (1987). Marxism and the oppression of women: toward a unitary theory: Toward a Unitary Theory. Rutgers Univ Pr.

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