Is the American Creed the Villian against Race?

Posted by Jade A. Willis Arizona

Your race may affect whether you receive the American Creed.

     The American Creed is portrayed as individualism, the pursuit of happiness, civic duty but the core values being the “principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity”. Therefore is the American Creed applied to everyone including those of color? The fact is that your race affects whether you receive the American Creed or not.

     Many minorities such as African Americans still face situations in which they are profiled or treated unequally. Specifically when “white supremacist groups and counter-protesters clashed in Charlottesville, Virginia” (One in four troops sees white nationalism in the ranks, Leo Shane III). While the American Creed is known for equality, fought for by Martin Luther King and other black activists, it is still ignored by those who see themselves as the superior race. Although it is said that “all men are created equal”, in reality, this is false due to the fact that the conflict of superiority between races driven from the past and present continues to raise the question of Do you have to be a true American (white) in order to receive the American Creed?

    Equality being a core value of the American creed is still not demonstrated today amongst minorities. This issue is still conflicting due to the problems of the past and the leaders who were truly not who we expected to be. For instance, Thomas Jefferson said: “In memory, they are equal to the whites; in reason much inferior, in imagination, they are dull, tasteless.” In other words, Thomas Jefferson believed slaves should have been freed but believed they were still inferior to whites. The irony of this is that he was known for writing the Declaration of Independence yet had a different perspective on minorities as if it did not apply to them. Similarly, the American Creed was made for Americans but not all the values of the American Creed are applied to minorities.

    In addition, Liberty is another core value of the American Creed that is in the same way as equality for minorities. In the Emancipation Proclamation, Abraham Lincoln once said: “All persons held as slaves in said designated states are, and henceforward shall be free”. What he had failed to mention was that the African Americans were freed but equality had never been established. This later followed with segregation and Jim Crow Laws. In the same way, I believe the American creed was written to be applied to everyone and every skin color but has not been fully fulfilled for minorities.

   Although many minorities partake in careers or jobs consisting of high-level pay or jobs which are influential, many working minorities face injustices in their workplace. Being said that one of the last core values of the American Creed is Justice, minorities have not fully received it. According to the article of “Minority Discrimination in the Workplace” by Kay Bosworth, many minorities “may find that they don’t receive the same pay as their other counterparts” or they are overlooked for receiving a “promotion in favor of other candidates despite equal qualifications”. In other words, the injustice of this situation is that minorities are still being discriminated and passed over even with more certified qualifications due to their skin color; how is this receiving the American Creed?

     I think the American Creed needs to be improved or should be re-evaluated in order to have an American Creed that fits everyone. In the same way, I believe that for minorities to receive the American Creed they would have to create and believe what they perceive as freedom, equality, justice, and humanity. This would mean that they would have to make their own creeds since we live in a new era compared to the past. The American Creed should not have restrictions due to race!

Published on Apr 13, 2018
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Writing Our Future: American Creed is part of the National Writing Project’s family of youth publishing projects, all gathered under the Writing Our Future initiative.

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