Thoughts on Barriers
The scenario outlined in this video (despite not being aimed specifically at youth) is a perfect example of the bureaucratic “barriers” that people in poverty, especially our youth, face.
Imagine: you’re physically & mentally ill, tired, hungry, don’t have a phone or computer, don’t have a place to sleep, don’t have regular access to clean clothes or a shower, don’t have a regular physician, don’t have your CareCard – possibly don’t even have any ID at all. Maybe you have issues with literacy or language barriers, have dyslexia or other learning disabilities, FASD, lack computer literacy; despite this, you’re expected to spend hours on the phone, fill out ~100page forms online, provide paperwork, ID, documentation, Doctor’s notes, etc. You must show up “presentable” at places on time, pay attention and understand new, complex concepts, and be respectful even if you’re treated poorly. You must get all of this done in a specific amount of time, not losing or damaging any of the forms, documents, appointment slips or passwords (remember, you have no place to keep any of this, except perhaps a backpack which also has everything else you own in it)… and do all of this while also going through every day – hungry, tired, cold, sick, sad, scared. Yet people who know nothing about you or what you’re going through are disdainful, tell you you’re lazy, you are not worth it, you should just “get a job”, or any number of other slights, insults, or well-meaning but misinformed statements.
This is what people mean by “barriers”, and this is representative of just one layer – notwithstanding the additional difficulties faced by people of color, LGBTQ2S people, people with physical disabilities, refugees, victims of generational trauma (among many other marginalized populations)… all of which come with the potential for exponential layers of barriers, obstacles, or hoops to jump through.