Inequality still exists

Since the dawn of civilization, people in positions of power have oppressed various groups.

These groups of oppressed people have had histories comprised of murder, unequal treatment, and unspeakable acts. They’re made up of the most diverse people in the world, but they all have one thing in common: the fact that they are all still oppressed.

A common misconception, that is usually the result of internalized prejudice, is the idea that the marginalization of these groups no longer exists.

Some would say that racism ended in the 1960s because the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 made it illegal to discriminate based on race. But today racism is still so rampant that in Ferguson, Missouri, the killing of an unarmed black teenager by a white policemen went unpunished. Similar situations occurred in Arizona, New York, California, Maryland, Louisiana, Michigan, and Texas in 2014 alone.

Since Barack Obama was elected president, people have used the argument that one black man being in charge of one of the largest and most important world nations constitutes a post-racial society. The problem with that argument is that the treatment of people of color as a whole is unequal to the treatment of white people. This argument is used with a variety of well-known and well-off people of color, but a small percentage does not constitute the treatment of an entire population of people.

Even in popular awards shows like the Oscars, the percentage of people of color nominated for awards is miniscule and the amount who actually win is staggeringly low. Out of 87 years of the Oscars being held, only 32 black people have won out of more than 2,900 winners.

The prejudices in our society are not only directed at specific racial groups, but also at ethno-religious groups like Jews.

According to the Berman Institute-North American Jewish Databank at University of Connect, prior to the Holocaust, the population of Jews in the world ranged around 17 million people. In 1945, after the Holocaust, the Jewish population was depleted to 11 million.

Now, 70 years later, the population of Jews is around 14 million. Even after such a long period of time, some European Jewish populations never recovered and regrew in their original locations.

After the attacks on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in January, a kosher market in a Jewish area of Paris was attacked by a terrorist who killed four hostages. In February, a terrorist killed Dan Uzan, a Jewish man who was standing guard outside a Bat Mitzvah (the jewish ritual where a child becomes responsible for their own Jewish ritual law, tradition, and ethics) in Copenhagen. In May 2014 four people were shot outside of the Jewish Museum in Brussels.

According to a recent study done by the National Demographic Survey of American Jewish College Students, 54 percent of over 1,000 students at 55 college campuses in the United States experienced anti-semitism in the spring of 2014.

Especially after the attacks of 9/11, the rise of Islamophobia has become greater, with Muslim people being told to go back to their own country and being called terrorists. The ideas of a few select groups of Islamic extremists do not reflect the views of an entire group of people.

Some would assume that, because of the terrorist actions of a few, all believers of Islam have the ability to commit terrorist acts, but the Islamophobia in the world only serves to hurt those who aren’t extremists.

Some people believe that because 38 of the 50 states have freedom to marry laws for same-sex couples, LGBT+ inequality no longer exists. But there are still LGBT+ people who are killed because of their sexual and gender identity.

Although some believe the idea of trans people, those who do not identify with culturally conventional gender roles, is a recent idea, trans people have been around since at least before the 1800s. Native American tribes recognized some individuals as “Two-Spirited,” an umbrella term for gender-variant people. Lucy Ann Lobdell was born in 1829 as Joseph Lobdell, and was arrested and incarcerated in an insane asylum for identifying as a gender other than the one she was designated at birth.

In the first two months of 2015, 44 trans people have been murdered in the world, and at least two trans teens have committed suicide because of unequal treatment by the people in their surroundings.

The problem with these inequalities continuing is that society has become complacent in calling out behavior that reinforces prejudice. When people try to call others out on their behavior, they’re shut down with more prejudice and name-calling. The reason behind trying to call out problematic behavior is to educate people, but it is futile more often than not.

The next step in trying to stop inequality is to educate in a kind and respectful manner, while being aware of the changing world around oneself. Trying to make change in regard to the law is something that is slowly happening, but still needs attention due to the still inherent prejudice in society.

March 2015.pdf page23

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