Daniel Webster, Race In America And The Declaration Of Independence This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   The biggest problem with race relations in the United States today is the hyphen. Yes, the hyphen. Today races are known as Mexican-American, African-American, Latino-American, etc. The Declaration of Independence, possibly the most important document in our history, states that "all men are created equal." Why should we then break people down into subgroups with the use of punctuation? To me this makes no sense. My answer is simple: drop the hyphen. How many races would we have then? We would have one: American. Daniel Webster, a great leader of the Senate, stated on the senate floor when the rumor of secession by the South first started, "I was born an American, I live an American, I shall die an American." If we all thought that way, we would undoubtedly be a much better nation.

A related problem is the type of discrimination that results from trying to end discrimination: affirmative action. Instead of fixing the problem of racial injustice, it has only hurt it. Perhaps without the hyphen we would not even be discussing Affirmative Action. Preferences are now given to all non-Caucasians. A white male in the 1950's with a college education was virtually assured a job over a black male with the same education. The tables have turned in the '90s. Most businesses, after evaluating their employees, have a large shortage of minorities. In turn, when they hire, they are forced to choose minorities and women over white-collar white males.

All of this has created major racial tension in America today. Of course it does not rival the battles of the '50s and '60s, but if we are not careful about the steps we take to correct the mess we have made, it will get worse. Take the Million Man March for instance, "One million African Brothers united under one sky." If these men were truly seeking unity, it would have been, "one million Americans united under one sky," and they would have included all races.

It is probably impossible to correct all the racial injustice in the world, but if we think it is impossible, we've already lost half the battle. Removing the hyphen may be a small battle in the war, but wars are won on the battlefield. ?


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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