How and Why My Understanding of the American Creed is different

My piece explains how being a minority changes my understanding of the American Creed "all men are created equal"

By Jordan C. from ASU Preparatory Academy in Arizona

When the Declaration of Independence was created in 1776, the phrase “all men are created equal..and are endowed with certain unalienable rights” didn’t actually apply to all men. What Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers meant by “all men” was, in all actuality, white men. Fast forward 125 years to a post Reconstruction US where “most whites across the country enthusiastically reaffirmed white supremacy” and Jim Crow laws prevailed in order to preserve what Woodrow Wilson considered to be “the South’s real citizens”. 117 years have passed since Woodrow’s statement and much has changed yet modern day Americans are, “more divided: along party, ideological, socio-economic and cultural lines; by geographic, demographic, racial and religious differences.” than ever.

These differences have left many questioning what the American Creed is and what it means to them. I believe that my understanding of the American Creed is different due to my understanding of the minority experience in America. The words said as the American Creed are true and are important but the lack of action to treat people as if they are equal makes it doubtful that America actually believes them. Females, of any race, are afforded less rights as a man due to a variety of factors within our society. But minority females, or in my case black females, have to work twice as hard to be successful. And it is even harder now since studies have found that those who live in lower income communities are having more difficulties climbing the economic ladder.

These obstacles make it harder for me to believe that the American Creed of “all men are created equal” has been fulfilled. Also, the history of mistreatment of minorities in America makes me doubt that our American Creed was ever meant for a diverse America. Today, with racial tensions at an all time high it is more important than ever that we can unite as a nation and bring peace. But, the vast differences in the American experience due to the different social statuses make our understandings of what it means to be American different as well. In order for us to all understand and work towards the American Creed we have to actually treat people as if we believe “all men are created equal” instead of just saying it.  

ASU Preparatory Academy

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