Equality, Fairness, and Freedom; Never a High Price

Equality%2C+Fairness%2C+and+Freedom%3B+Never+a+High+Price

Andrew Bourn

For the majority of minorities that reside in America post centuries of many transgression and unkempt promises, every day’s a struggle. America may have abolished slavery and segregation but it has never erased the disparity that remained consistently and infamously prevalent in America. Some citizens of the U.S. will not live with such inhumane disparity nearby especially those who are close to their heart. This is why, in our human nature, we seek out change for the better of tomorrow rather than reliving the obsolete flaws of our past.

Certain sections of America were never treated equally by the masses due to biases and ignorance held against people’s races, genders, and beliefs to which they stand steadfast against as it is unfair. In Walt Whitman’s poem, I Hear America Singing, he portrays America as a collectively contented nation enjoying prosperity with the repeated line of an “occupation singing” and the climactic line “Each singing what belongs to him or her and none else”. Langston Hughes seemingly didn’t appreciate this that he wrote a poem, I, Too, to counteract Whitman’s poem in a bitter yet realistic insight of how minorities are feeling in America, an element that Whitman overlooked. False portrayal of American minorities belittles or makes light of the severity of what minorities persist through that it can increase more ignorance of their culture and suffering.

Condescending stereotypes by the general public frequently dehumanizes a person and expect them to act and be treated a specific way. In the case of Sojourner Truth, who is both African American and a woman, she expresses in her speech, Ain’t I a Woman, that she is not treated the same as a woman nor a free person yet she can perform and eat just as well on her own that she questions whether or not if she’s just a woman that deserved such position. People justify both the gender and race’s position with Christianity to which Truth finds it absurd that she pester what kind of Christ is being believed. Due to these unfair expectations, a person’s privileges and rights are limited that they are forced to take a more daunting and arduous task to live to which they seek change to alter that way of living. 

The power dynamic between those who lead and work is unjustifiably unfair that renders those who are in-contract be seen as a lesser human and nearly powerless that sparks the desire of wanting to be equally fair as those who look down on them. In Cesar Chavez’s underground article, We Shall Overcome, he clarifies that the goal of the farmworkers’ strike that lasted six weeks is for a guaranteed union contract and a $1.40 per hour in a nonviolent manner. However, the employers didn’t take it seriously to which the strike grew more detrimental to their business that production fell by 30%, because of this, the employers counteracted by increasing security with policy dogs and rifles for $43 a day, but the laborers weren’t swayed by such sights as they continued their march and strikes. An employer’s priority in protecting themselves rather than the care of the employees sets an unhealthy bitter relationship that cannot see one another as a human being, rather as a nuisance and obstacle that prevent their individual desire.

Laws throughout the country establish order and justice to those who disobey but existing laws are often bent, worked around, and contradicted to favor one side of the spectrum especially in the case of races and politics. In the midst of Frederick Douglass’s speech, What to the Slave is the Fourth of July, he noted that in the state of Virginia, seventy-two listed crimes can subject an African American man to death, but for the White man, there are only two in the list that can forcefully subject him to death. The unbalanced nature of the law exacerbates one race to stagnate in stress and rigidity whilst the other can prosper almost without a limit which encourages them to keep the law as is and encourages the other to try to rise out of.

From pointing out the ignorance of others to addressing the power dynamic between different groups, the fight for a fairer and prospering future of others has truly transcended from its primitive selves. America is the land of the free and opportunity where many foreigners have seen it to be, which is why some fought to keep the ideals and the dream of freedom alive, no matter how many times it contradicts itself since the price for equality was never a high price to pay.