America is supposed to be seen as the land of the free with everyone having equal rights. They project this in the anthem for our country. Meaning people of every color, religion and sex have the freedom to be able to achieve what is best for them, with equal pay. However, this is not the case for many groups of people. My family and a lot of the Afro-Latino community feel as if that’s not much they’ve gotten ever since they were in the U.S.
American is seen as a country where anything is able to be accomplished. For this reason, people on the other side of the southern border, like Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, etc… all cross to be able to provide a better life for them and the new generation. For example, actor Salma Hayek is a Mexican actress who was in the U.S illegally, but was able to make it big even though there were so many challenges like her being discriminated against when working in the Hollywood industry. American directors that worked in the industry almost always told Hayek that it wasn't capable or imagined for a Mexican woman to have a lead role. Salma Hayek’s challenges, even as a famous person, is an example of how difficult it is to accomplish a better life in the U.S. After living in the US for more than 20 years, she became a citizen.
BIPOC do not have the same freedom to make mistakes as people who are European and get harsher consequences. “Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.” This quote means that freedom is not worth having if it doesn't come with the same consequences or outcome. This matters because everyone should have the right to be treated equally no matter the skin color, race, religion, etc. Even when laws and police are meant to protect all people, oftentimes they end up being used to give some people freedom over others.
A powerful example of this is during a baseball game in 2012, a lot of people were upset about their team loss so they went on riots, burning buses and shattering glass windows. Police arrested them but nothing severe was done. In 2020, around June the Black Lives Matter protests started and a lot of police began shooting peaceful protestors with rubber bullets as well as pushing them, making several arrests. Another example can be longer prison sentences when committing the same crimes. A larger percent of POC are charged with felonies, making it harder for those people to have jobs, causing them a lack of income, leading to homelessness, or even breaking the law again.
It isn’t just laws that prevent freedom, many people in the U.S. discriminate against BIPOC and limit their freedom. In Donald Trump’s campaign he believed that it would be better if Mexicans were to go back to their country. There's a video where Trump spoke bad about immigrants in TIME news, where he spoke about how Mexico doesn't bring their best. This made it ok for his supporters to degrade Hispanics and anyone who they labeled as a Mexican. This caused lots of immigrants and kids of immigrants to feel uncomfortable and threatened. Lots of his supporters thought it was ok to harass them and that made a lot of the Hispanic communities feel as if they lost freedom to do anything without being judged.
Hate crimes increased because Trump supporters felt threatened by Afro-Hispanics, Hispanics and other communities so they acted with violent responses. The hate for Hispanic communities and others has become so common that at times people won't hire a person if they aren't able to talk or understand English. Some people also lose opportunities like getting a job or having a better education if their name doesn't sound like a European's name.
The United States continues to be known for being the land of the free yet in reality the laws and actions of many people prevent freedom from being a reality for many people. This is the America we live in, where people of color and other communities don't feel welcomed, don't get paid the same or aren't given the same opportunities. This America is where freedom is only a privilege if you're born here, not even that but it's limited to people of color. True freedom for all Americans would mean that all people were offered the same opportunities in life regardless of where they are from or what they believed. In order for this freedom to be achieved, the laws and mindsets of many people would have to change. The fact that America continues to pride itself on being the land of the free is preventing this change from happening.