Challenges of the 21st Century
Citizens of the world look on with anticipation as our society moves into the twenty-first century. Although the world has not accomplished the wild ideas presented in science fiction, we have made a huge amount of progress in technology. However, many hurdles still need to be faced. Numerous critical problems will face both America and the world as a whole in this new millennium. Three problems confronting the United States are hate crimes, teen drug use, and education. The world will face issues as well, including terrorism, wars, and health care.
In America, hate crimes are a rising problem. Statistics show that a hate crime is committed every hour. A cross is burned every week. Eight blacks, three whites, three gays, three Jews, and one Latino become victims every day. Today, America prides itself on being a tolerant country. Through legislation including affirmative action and movements against racism, we see ourselves as a country offering equal opportunities to all. This statement, however, is slightly biased. Contrary to popular belief, everything is not wonderful in the land of the free and home of the brave. Many live in fear of being persecuted because of who they are naturally. The United States needs to find a way to combat these crimes, mainly through introducing tougher laws regarding hate crimes.
Another problem is use of illegal drugs by teenagers and young adults. As usage of drugs such as ecstasy and marijuana become more popular on "underground" scenes, people seem to find it acceptable to engage in casual drug use. Many young people do not realize the harmful effects of these substances until it is too late. The lives of America's youth are being threatened by what they feel to be innocent and casual recreation. Although stricter laws may have little or no effect on this drug use, a stronger campaign against drug use may elicit some results.
One other problem facing America is the issue of education. While schooling overall is not a major problem, education in the inner city and other "high risk" areas is an issue. Children in these schools rarely pursue education beyond high school, if they graduate. While much of this can be attributed to the upbringing and environment the children are raised in, the schools are a factor as well. Because of lack of funding, poor teaching materials, and sub-par learning environments, students in these inner city schools often don't feel motivated or encouraged to succeed; instead, they feel doomed to be failures. More money and resources provided by donations or by the government would help in correcting these problems.