«The Interconnectedness of Social Problems» - Great Essay Sample

«The Interconnectedness of Social Problems»


Social problems are all integrated. These do not occur in isolation and are affected by each other through both exogenous and endogenous factors. Hence, these social problems are either related with each other as independent and dependent factors, or they are linked simultaneously with each other. These social problems are general social problems such as those of crime, poverty, racial and ethnic inequality and the like. However, there are also other factors that are responsible for this interconnectedness of social problems. These are independent variables that affect one or more of these social problems. Then, because these social problems are interconnected, they exacerbate the situation. Such independent variables are policy stances, economic realities and demographic facts. Thus, these external variables have a direct bearing on the outcomes of social problems due to their interconnectedness.

Likewise, social ills of poverty, illiteracy, ethnicity and crime are also interlinked. It has been found that those who are ethnic minorities or suffer from one or more of these social ills, such as poverty, are most likely to be involved in crime. This has implications for their outcomes under the policy variables of punishment. Then, those who are racial minorities are more likely to commit crimes and also more likely to get a harsher punishment. Then, this would result in their lifetime social backwardness and marginality due to the punishment policies of the government (Wheelock & Uggen, 2006).

The interconnectedness of social problems

It is true that criminal sanctions and victimization perpetuate a system which worsens the outcomes of stratification and poverty. These criminal sanctions are aimed at bringing more stratification in the society when it is clear that this occurs despite stratification existent in the crime and punishment system. Then, these only aggravate the situation and do not help much. The African Americans are the minority in the United States but are much overrepresented in the criminal system. The increasing of punishments to them and to others result in the worsening outcomes for the whole minority race. Furthermore, the economic, civic and other sanctions make this segment of the population poorer. This then results in both higher poverty and racial segregation in the society.

Furthermore, it is also clear that these punishments also affect those who are interlinked with these felons. Then, these punishments have direct bearing on the economic and other circumstances of those who are linked with these felons. For example, there is a sudden cut off of economic stream of income to the household. Likewise, the neighbors, communities, peer groups and racial groups are also equally impacted by conviction and punishment of these felons. For example, the neighborhood is affected by poverty of the household. Likewise, the racial group is also affected when the poverty impacts it directly. Then this social disadvantage becomes a contagion for a host of interconnected factors.

Then, even when we do not consider the population differences, it is clear that African American men have a seven time higher likelihood of incarceration and conviction as compared to their white counterparts. This is especially due to their maltreatment by the police, higher conviction rates and racial segregation. When we factor in the population differences we find that they represent only about 14% of the population. This implies that despite their smaller numbers they have higher likelihood of getting entrapped in a police net (Foreman, 1999).

Then, it is clear that there is huge variability in the punishment and conviction rate. The African American men are more likely to be convicted and incarcerated. This results in their bad economic outcome for the class as a whole. This higher likelihood and reality of African American and other minority races' conviction results in the poverty and other bad social outcomes for these races. The whites fare well while the rest suffer (Bonilla-Silva, 2001).

The number of felons and former felons keeps rising as a result of this trend. This situation is worsened by collateral sanctions that propagate a spiral of stratification and racial and ethnic inequality as a result of these collateral sanctions. The minority classes and races suffer more and get into a vicious circle of economic and social deprivation and ethnicity. Thus, these collateral sanctions backstab the already weak position of the minority classes in the United States.


It is clear that numerous social factors are inextricably interconnected with each other. Under such conditions, crime, punishment, poverty and racism become intertwined and work to bring about more and more stratification in the American society. It is clear that the most vulnerable class in the US society is that of the African Americans. They are put into a vicious circle of economic and social deprivation through punishment and other collateral sanctions. These minority races are targeted by the US justice system and are unable to stand in line with the society due to the spirals of poverty, other social deprivation, and household and individual outcomes that these bring. As a result, the minority classes in the United States are directly targeted by the US justice system through higher indictment, incarceration, harsher punishments, and other collateral sanctions. This brings about stratification in the American society which is a gift given by the politicians and the police through these biased treatments of the minority populations in the United States. This happens under the umbrella of social and economic system which is interconnected and interlinked. 



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