New Era of Discrimination

January 17, 2011
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In a nation where “all men are created equal” it is hard to understand why discrimination is such a large aspect of its history. Since the Founding Fathers established our nation, the idea of “unequal equals” has been in effect. Throughout history up to present day race, sexuality and gender have establish the system of advantages upon which this nation runs.

The Civil War brought about limited freedoms to African Americans but after World War II, the struggle for equality intensified, as African Americans grew increasingly dissatisfied with their second-class status. Although the civil rights movement made some gains in the 1940s, Africans looked to the federal courts to attain its goals. With legal efforts of the era bring awareness to a growing issue; civil rights activists took direct action to end segregation. Historical figures such a Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. took a stand for equality and demanded their freedoms.

Similar to African Americans, women felt that their rights were not equal to those of men. During the abolition period Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Staton helped organize the nation’s first Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York. During the convention those gathered adopted a Declaration of Sentiments, and women soon were granted suffrage. Although highly ridiculed, the conference began the movement to women’s rights in the United States.

Going into the twenty-first century, America has found itself spiraling deeper into a culture driven by prejudice. In the work place many women could see the top of the corporate ladder, but never actually get there. Although things appeared to be improving with the election of the first African American president, still African Americans were subject to raciest slurs often destroying self-esteem. Among all else a new form of prejudice began to sweep the nation. Heterosexism, or the idea that heterosexuals are superior to homosexuals, has become a serious issue.

With many advances in past prejudices many thought acceptance of same-sex marriage would soon follow. However, with the passing of Proposition 8, California stripped the rights to marry from same-sex couples, and America took two steps back towards prejudice against homosexuals and entered an era of Homosexual Civil Rights Movements. As homosexuals try to live a life like any other citizen. Many members of the LGBT community have to give up their faith as many churches provide funds to support campaigns such as the “Yes on Prop 8” campaign. Often jobs are not given to homosexuals or a raise is not given when deserved. While looking to start a family, questions such as “what about the child?” come into play. Some even have to deal with violent hate crimes, with the whole purpose of the attack to “send a message” that homosexuality will not be tolerated. Today homosexuals are learning the hardships minorities faced in the past, looking back on their history for support and advice.

Being gay I know first had how hard it is to develop when you feel at a disadvantage. During my senior year of high school, I wished to donate blood for a blood drive. I wanted to do my part in the community to save a life and set an example. After my screening I was denied this opportunity because I was seeing a male. I did not understand, I was not sexually active and I had no family history of HIV. The screener simply said, “I’m sorry” and moved on to the next student.

To deny people basic civil rights is unjust. The arguments and viewpoints to the contrary do not make any sense at all and, therefore, must be born out of either ignorant fear or hateful prejudice. Even during a time like this of national hope and change, the fight for total equality in America will continue.





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