Our American values have changed over the years. Although we have always lived by the iconic phrase, “All men are created equal”, that has not always been entirely true. This piece will be using three articles to detail how far we’ve come since 1776, and how far we still need to go to achieve true equality.

 

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. This line from the Declaration of Independence (US 1776) is one of the core ideas that our country was founded on, and continues to influence us even today. But when this line was first written by future president John Adams in 1776, it was not completely truthful. African American slaves were considered less than human, as property, even as the founding fathers sent this document of independence over the sea to King George III. Abraham Lincoln tried to change that on New Year’s day in 1863, by issuing the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed all slaves in the southern states. The fact that Lincoln chose to issue this executive order in the middle of a civil war over just that shows how important he found it, so important that it had to be done as quickly as possible.

 

    Even with this executive order put in place, it would be another 100 years before true equality was created under the law for blacks. But African Americans were not the only minority group being repressed. Native Americans have been attacked and looked as a lesser people ever since the US started to expand westward, and before that with the spanish explorers. Sherman Alexie’s article “Superman and Me” talks about how difficult it was for him to succeed living on a reservation, as he was not expected or pushed to. He talks about how it was rare for an indian to leave the reservation to go to a white school, and how the native american schools were poorly run with old supplies. I feel like this line sums it up the best, when Alexie talks about his childhood in the third person, “If he’d been anything but an  Indian boy living on the reservation, he might have been called a prodigy. But he is an Indian boy living on the reservation and is simply an oddity”(Alexie, para 4). He also talks about how “A smart Indian is a dangerous person, widely feared and ridiculed by Indians and non Indians alike”(Alexie, para 5). These lines show how becoming smart was not only not encouraged, but rather looked down upon and made out as if it was a bad thing, even by the Indians themselves. This is the key point from this article. If neither the minority or the majority feel like they are equal to one another, then how can anyone else consider so?

 

    My final point revolves not around discrimination based on race, but discrimination based on the way someone speaks or acts, a type of discrimination that we have seen too many times, whether as a victim, a bystander, or even as part of the guilty party. Bullying has become a big topic across the United States and the world in recent years, and with good reason. People tell others to stop being mean, but also the say to the victims to not let their words get to them, to know that they are not actually what they are being called. But in our modern world, many people know that this is not possible. “To This Day”, written and spoken by Shane Koyczan, tries to explain how words really do affect people on a deep level, as evident when he said, “That rhyme about sticks and stones, as if broken bones hurt more than the names we got called” (Koyczan, 38-40). This, I believe, is just as important as discrimination based on race or gender, as it it mostly experienced by children, whose young, impressionable minds allow for these insults to impact them for the rest of their lives. Koyczan talks about this very thing when speaking of a woman who was bullied for having a large birthmark on her face, “To this day, despite a loving husband, she doesn’t think she’s beautiful” (Koyczan, 70-72). It’s truly sad that people will never see themselves as the good people they truly are just because they look or act a little different.

 

   

Alexie, Sherman, “Superman and Me”, LA Times,19 Apr. 1998

 

Emancipation Proclamation, January 1, 1863; Presidential Proclamations, 1791-1991; Record Group 11; General Records of the United States Government; National Archives.

Koyczan, Shane “To This Day” Youtube, 9 Feb. 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltun92DfnPY

Tags:

CC BY-SA 4.0 The Fight for Equality by Conor is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

6 Comments
  1. Zanji 1 month ago

    Dear Connor ,

    I am not surprised about your quote regarding how an intelligent Indian was thought of as dangerous and was looked down upon by “Indians” and non-“Indians”. This isn’t shocking because if any minority person have a remarkable intelligence then they’re considered an automatic threat. Thinking about it now, the smartest kids in the class would always be picked on because they were “nerds”. I am surprised that being smart was looked down upon because I’ve always thought to people like them, education was their way out.One quote that stood out for me was “That rhyme about sticks and stones, as if broken bones hurt more than the names we got called” because the insults we say to people really can leave an emotionally scar on them and probably a deep insecurity that’ll enter into their adulthood.
    Another sentence that I spotted was “It’s truly sad that people will never see themselves as the good people they truly are just because they look or act a little different.” I agree with this because some insecure people feel like inflicting their pain into other people preventing them from seeing their true beauty. In society, any different is looked down upon just like how the “Indians” looked down upon education. Yeah we might have gay parades and the LGBT community but what about the other “different” people. Like the mentally handicapped people, the people with vitiligo, the people with missing limbs, people like that. Society will never be satisfied with the fact that people are different and that there’s nothing wrong with that.

  2. Kevin 1 month ago

    Dear Conner,

    I am very satisfied about your blog post, “The Fight for Equality” because you made very interesting points in racial discrimination. The quotes you added in your blog helped very much for your explanation in racial discrimination .
    One sentence that really stood out in your blog post was “Bullying has become a big topic across the United States and the world in recent years, and with good reason”, I think this sentence is a very true because most people get bullied and bullying is as important as discrimination and needs to be stopped.
    Another sentence that stood out to me was “But African Americans were not the only minority group being repressed. Native Americans have been attacked and looked as a lesser people ever since the US started to expand westward, and before that with the spanish explorers”, this stood out to me because as it said most African Americans were being repressed, but there was more people and they were Native Americans. They were also being repressed. Both African Americans and Native Americans should of never been repressed.
    I do agree with you that racial discrimination should be stopped. One reason I say this is that all races should be equal. Another reason I agree with you is that bullying should also be stopped because bullying could be like racial discrimination but less worse. People do not have to be bullied and people should stop doing it!
    Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next because your blog post was very interesting. It showed very good details about racial discrimination and inequality/bullying. You also showed plenty of evidence with your explanation.

  3. Ajza 1 month ago

    Dear Conor

    I am pleased with your post , you made a good point about inequality and racial discrimination. The evidence that you used help make your point strong, clear,and precise. I also like the fact you used being a bystander to people who are facing discrimination as another form of discrimination

    One thing that really stuck out me was when you said “People tell others to stop being mean, but also the say to the victims to not let their words get to them, to know that they are not actually what they are being called.” This stuck to me because he are raised to not let words hurt. But how can we not let these words rooted in hate get to us. We are told that we are not these words. But you start to believe that you are when you get called these same hurtful words almost everyday.

    Thank you for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you will write next. You really shed some light on this topic that is so important to talk about these days

    Best wishes
    Ajza

  4. Geovany reyes 1 month ago

    Dear Conor,

    I was surprised by the beginning because it was a very good way to start the article in my opinion. I would agree with you when you say, “If neither the minority or the majority feel like they are equal to one another, then how can anyone else consider so?” This is true because if people do not want to accept others and think of each others as equal I do not think it would be possible for “true equality” to exist. Also, I would agree with the part where you said, “This, I believe, is just as important as discrimination based on race or gender, as it it mostly experienced by children, whose young, impressionable minds allow for these insults to impact them…”. This is really significant because children when they are young do take things seriously because they do not know how to distinguish between a joke or how to not take action after receiving insults. I have had experiences where I would not understand a joke because I’m am not from the person’s culture and I was offended and took it seriously. People can really be affected for the rest of their life for the things people say, so I do believe we should address that type of discrimination as much as racial discrimination. This was a good article and I enjoyed reading it since I was able to relate and agree with all of the main points you bring up and do believe that these points should be addressed before we try to fight for equality because it’s also part of it.

    Sincerely,
    Geovany

  5. Sara 3 months ago

    Dear Conor,

    I am satisfied with your post because you made a very good point about racial discrimination and inequality. Your use of evidence helped make your point clear and strong, I think it’s great that you also involved bullying as discrimination.

    One thing that you said that stands out to me is, “If neither the minority or the majority feel like they are equal to one another, then how can anyone else consider so?” It’s interesting to say how both the majority and the minority don’t feel equal to each other, when people always focus on just how the minority feels rather than the majority. It;s an interesting concept to bring up on whether the majority really do feel superior to the minority or not.

    Thanks for sharing your post. I look forward to seeing what you write next because you really hit right on with a topic that is important to talk about in today’s time.

    Regards,

    Sara

  6. kayden milburn 3 months ago

    I really enjoyed your comment on racial discrimination and inequality. You had really good stats and quotes to lead to the topic with your viewpoint. It really was interesting how you talked about other races other than African Americans. Which African Americans are widely talked about as being strongly discriminated against when there are other races as well. Your topics on inequality are very strong. I enjoyed reading your facts and opinions on these issues. I believe we do need to change how we treat each other. As we should with love and respect as humans. I am leaving below a video from, Morgan Freeman, on the issues between racial discrimination and inequality and how we can change these issues. Your comments were great and persuasive and I believe there needs to be a change as well.

    https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=what+can+we+do+to+stop+discrimination+and+inequality+morgan+freeman&&view=detail&mid=04CC3816AAFBF96A77BE04CC3816AAFBF96A77BE&FORM=VRDGAR

Leave a Reply

CONTACT US

We welcome new members. You can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Sending

Youth Voices is organized by teachers at local sites of the National Writing Project and in partnership with Educator Innovator.

CC BY-SA 4.0All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
Missions on Youth Voices

Log in with your credentials

or    

Forgot your details?

Create Account

%d bloggers like this: