American Oppression

Helen Bass, Media Co- Editor

I think constantly about the timeline of American history and how recently the right to vote was given to many minorities. When many people speak upon the racial inequality in America, they obviously fail to remember that equality is a fairly new concept in America. Less than 100 years ago, only white men were allowed to vote. Taking a look back at history and the timeline of rights in America shows why minorities in this country still feel oppressed, and rightfully so.

The year 1619 marks the true start of American history and the institution of slavery in America. 1865 marks the end of slavery in America, and 1954 marks the end of legal segregation in America. It wasn’t until 1975 that Hispanics gained equality through Amendments to the Voting Rights Act of 1964 while it took until 1990 for voting accommodations for disabled Americans to be put into place. The LBGTQ+ community wasn’t able to marry until 2015.

People have been fighting for equality in America for over 300 years, and actions towards equality were not truly taken until 65 years ago.

People forget that the fight for equality was long and hard. Through slavery, segregation, and the constant racism they face in America, the fight “ended” 65 years ago, but granting the rights isn’t enough. The mindset created in European countries that was carried to America when it began the mindset that heterosexual white men are the greatest of all and God put them here to occupy all the land and spread Christianity while doing so. A mindset that holds others down or categorizes someone based on their race, socioeconomic status, and religion.

For over two-thirds of American history oppression of anyone who doesn’t fit the description above was an important aspect socially and economically. Owning slaves showed wealth and provided a cheap hard-working labor force that could be so easily replaced when killed from overworking.

For a country’s entire history to be built upon the oppression of others means that giving the rights to those who didn’t before have them isn’t enough.

As I watch neo-nazis violently protest in Charlottesville without our president coming out to condemn them, how could you possibly believe our country has come far enough or done enough. If we as a country cannot come out and truly condemn racism and stand with minorities who are suffering from discrimination and violence every day, how can freedom and saftey truly be a promise to every American citizen.

Legally, races cannot be separated or treated differently, but that doesn’t rid people of the ideology that founded our country. It also doesn’t fix the system that continues to oppress based on socioeconomic status or race. After over 300 years of such a mentality, wishing it away won’t help.

Reversing the mistakes made in history is a hard task, but we owe it to people of color, people of the LGBTQ+ community, women, and so many more groups oppressed throughout American history to not stand back and watch the continuation of this mentality. Instead, we need to come together and not rest until everyone in this country can sleep at night feeling safe, equal and truly at home.