Discrimination In America America is very unique in many ways to other countries of the world for many reasons. But one of the most important reasons, is that we have the freedom to express ourselves and the freedom to practice our own ideas, as granted to us by our Constitution. Two hundred years ago, our fore fathers sought a place where they could practice their religion freely and not be persecuted by those who discriminated against them. Today that freedom is very much still alive, but because of the norms of our time, some people are conveniently forgotten when it comes to their rights as citizens. These people, including homosexuals and even Black Americans, are always fighting for their freedom.
We are guaranteed freedom: but why do these rights disappear whenever someone different is involved? We all have the right to be free, but our human nature often gets the best of us. Our world is made up of so many people who are each singular in their ideas and values, but America has always been a place where anyone could practice these ideas freely and without intervention. But it has always been that some people, who have conflicting ideas, are discriminated against. The worst cases are homosexuals. According to our Constitution, they should have every bit a right to express their sexuality publicly: but realistically, can they? I believe the answer to this is no.
Too many times this has happened. One incident that has occurred is that of Matthew Sheppard, a homosexual. He was a student at the University of Wyoming, and allegedly was tricked into believing he was going with a few strangers who were homosexuals as well, when things went wrong. According to reports, the teenagers drove Matthew to a deserted part of a long road, and once there preceded to beat him unmercifully and leave him there for dead. Unfortunately there was no hope in saving him, his skull bashed in, his clothes ripped apart, and his bones broken. Matthew had every right to express his beliefs, and every right to have his own sexual preference, but that was all taken away because we think that those that are different don’t apply to the constitution.
But the sad part is that we as humans have become so desensitized to these acts that no one will take any action. Then, we are too afraid to be labeled as a homosexual ourselves if we try do defend them. So in the end, we have a country that promotes unity and the ability to think freely, but the reality is that we have neither. Another case study is that of Black Americans. The most profound proof is that of a court case in 1896 concerning the idea of Blacks as being separate from us but equal.
In this case, Plessy versus Ferguson, the supreme court-the part of our government that is supposed to interpret our laws-publicly and forcefully stated that Blacks were separate from the Whites, but they were technically equal. A part of our government, which our fore fathers helped create, completely and totally went against the Constitution. The courts interpreted it a certain way, and because at the time the norm was White people, the Blacks had to suffer. Because of this ruling, so many institutions were set forth that turned a once thriving and wonderful Southern United States into a death trap for all Black Americans. Separate facilities for white and blacks became a basic rule in the southern society.
President Johnson made a famous speech about his beliefs on Black Americans. He stated that all men are thought to be created equal, but many do not experience equality. He also said that we as human beings have many unalienable rights that can’t be taken away, yet many do not enjoy these rights. Our ancestors fought bravely and encountered so many hardships so that they could create a place of hope and joy where you were unimpeded in your efforts to practice your own beliefs: but what do we have here. The very government that has given us so much-and when I say us, it’s hard to imagine with whom I am referring to, either Whites or Americans in general-directly and openly took away the hopes and dreams of an entire people in one fell swoop.
Thankfully norms change, and the decision was reversed. Today Blacks enjoy a multitude of freedoms-but like homosexuals, they too are often discriminated against even today. I relish in the fact that my options in life are limitless. I can be anything I want and for the most part do anything that brings me happiness and pleasure. But even I realize that in today’s society, those that are different are shunned and deemed as outcasts.
Many choose to conform to other people’s beliefs rather than be alone in their own. This tells us that somewhere along the way, we losttoo many of the strong ideas that helped create our country. We say that we all have absolute freedom in this country? No one wants to believe it, but human integrity is just a small image today than what it was when this country was born. We need to address these fundamental truths that no one wants to deal with, because the problem never goes away by shoving it under the carpet. How many more people must be beaten to death before our ideals will change? If not soon, then being human is going to mean many new things in the new century.