Letter to the people of America
This piece is about the inequality found present in America and how it has affected people of color.
Dear people of America,
Why must we follow the pattern society longs for us to follow? Why do we continue to fall into the box the majority wants us to be oppressed in ? The answer is a matter of opinion. Discrimination is a problem that this nation has dealt with for a while. Yet we haven't gone far.
I am not belittling the progress of this nation’s steps to equality. I am simply pointing out the fact that we as a “ free, liberal, equal” nation are not where we should be when it comes to equality. As a whole, we have accomplished a substantial amount. According to “Equal Rights: Are We There Yet?”, these steps include the ratification of the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 19th amendments. These ended slavery, grated citizenship, and the right to vote for all. Also, the Civil Rights Act of the 1950s-1960s was meant to end segregation. As one can see, there have been important accomplishments. Though this is true, the length of time it took to make such changes is not acceptable. So yes, we have come a long way, but we still have ways to go.
Though we have made progress, there are still untied knots. Many groups of individuals don't feel like they have an equal chance at life. In fact, “When asked about specific kinds of discrimination that people may face, about half of black adults said that in the past year someone has acted as if they were suspicious of them (47%) or as if they thought they weren’t smart (45%). About two-in-ten blacks say they were treated unfairly in hiring, pay or promotion over the past year (21%) and a similar share (18%) say they have been unfairly stopped by the police over the same period” (Patten). This has not only happened to the black people of America; this issue has been present in Latinos as well. “ Among Latinos, about three-in-ten (29%) say someone has acted like they thought they weren’t smart and about a quarter (23%) say someone has acted as if they were suspicious of them in the past 12 months; 16% of Hispanics say they have been treated unfairly by an employer and 11% say they have been unfairly stopped by police because of their race or ethnicity”(Patten). The percentages of discrimination expressed by Latinos are lower; it is proven to still be problematic. Meanwhile, statistics show that white Americans feel as though they experience little to no discrimination. The numbers prove that there is a divide in acts of discrimination based on race.
For a long time people of color have been thought to be criminals, animals, and less than human. Many people such as myself has been raised to see the police sometimes as a danger. As a person of color and a female, I have seen that to be true throughout my life. Being targeted by police and other individuals is a recurring issue. In the article by NBCUniversal News Group,this is displayed in the situation of which two black men found themselves being arrested while waiting for Starbucks. Also, there were three black Airbnb guest detained after a white neighbor called the police. Imagine being a paying guest at an Airbnb and getting the cops called because of your you looking out of place based on the color of your skin . Two women were also detained and threatened that immigration authorities would be called after speaking Spanish at a supermarket. It is sad that many individuals in this country are scared to speak their cultural language in a public setting without being judged. It is okay to report anything you seem to be suspicious, but is not ok if the suspicion is based on the color of one's skin or the clothes someone sees fit to wear. Just because something isn’t done the way you live or look the way you look doesn’t mean it is a danger to one's life.
Along with blacks and Latinos, women face the problem of discrimination. Although the wage gap between women and men has gotten smaller since the 40s, it is shown to still be present. Many believe women and minorities should be grateful for the gap shrinking,but there shouldn't be a gap at all. The most privileged people in this great nation are white men. This has always been the case in America. Statistics show this to be a fact and not just an opinion. Patten has also proven that due to the wage gap increasing depending on your gender and race, black and Latino women are at the bottom of the scale. Many people focus on black men not getting paid as much and some even say that they get the hardest life. What about female minorities? Statistics show that those who fall in that group get paid less. The previous statements that have been made are not to ignore that not all women get paid less. In fact, Asian women make more money than black males. After that, black women, and lastly Latino women make the least. This concerns me greatly. As I myself am black and Latino. Knowing that I as a “statistic” has the shortest end of the stick pains me.
Not only do I carry those genetic attributes, I am also going to get my Associates Degree in the STEM field while still attending high school. “The STEM fields have been shown to be riddled with instances of overt or implicit sexism….Under representation is clearly both a reason for, and a result of, the discrimination”(Amy Wang). Women throughout society have been forced into a role of last place, where men stay in the lead.
Once again America, this great nation of mine. Why must you continually put us in last place. Giving us steel boots and expecting us to run.
Sincerely, Brizayna H
“Equal Rights: Are We There Yet?” Scholastic.com, www.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=4786.
Patten, Eileen. “Racial, Gender Wage Gaps Persist in U.S. despite Some Progress.” Pew Research Center, Pew Research Center, 1 July 2016, www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/07/01/racial-gender-wage-gaps-persist-in-u-s-despite-some-progress/.
“Poll: 64 Percent of Americans Say Racism Remains a Major Problem.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/poll-64-percent-americans-say-racism-remains-major-problem-n877536.
Wang, Amy X. “All the Ways Women Are Still Discriminated against in STEM.” Quartz, Quartz, 12 Jan. 2018, qz.com/work/1177879/all-the-ways-women-are-still-discriminated-against-in-stem/.