November 8, 2016.
Dear Future President,
Our country is being manipulated, one way or another, by money, media or even retirement. It happens all of the time, even if it can be seen or not. Many people are oblivious to the puppeteer’s strings; controlling them behind the scenes. Even when the truth shines out of the foggy mist of deception and lies, some would still choose to ignore it. It could be that they’re stubborn, maybe they’re confused, or they might of have been exploited and brainwashed so much, they cannot differentiate reality from fantasy anymore.
One may ask, why is this happening? How could this happen in our modern day and age, that people would want to live in a world that is lifeless and one dimensional? Well, I believe that it's close to impossible for the citizens of our country to live up their hopes and dreams. While it may not be impossible for someone to live the ultimate goal of all Americans, The American Dream. It is really hard for someone, like a hard working lower class college graduate who has gotten a bachelor's in business to achieve “The American Dream”; than a college student who is upper class that doesn’t even need to do anything; they could just use their family name or money to get what they want. Many don’t realize this. They believe a lie that has been told their entire lives, a lie so old and ancient, old as America itself: Privilege.
What is this veil? What is this lie that plagues our beautiful country today? This plague, this horror, is known as Privilege. “A special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group.” (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com) Privilege may come in different forms. It might be a white male who doesn’t get arrested for drug dealing, goes off scot free, while an African-American male will get 20 years at least in jail; or a heterosexual couple getting proper heath care, while a transgendered man gets denied. Privilege gives an advantage to certain classes and races, however it does not mean that good things will always happen to the person who has privilege or that bad things will happen to the other if they don’t. It’s like a VIP pass- if you have it you can do more things than someone who doesn’t have one. This does not mean that just one party is responsible, Privilege is both social and mental. The people who are neutral and indifferent towards racial issues other than their own or just let themselves be abused by injustice are just as guilty as the ones who hurt innocent people of minority. This is also means that not only those with the privilege can be blinded, many of those who have been hurt by privilege either don’t believe that privilege exist, think that they are powerless against those who abuse them or just use the fact that they are a minority as an excuse to harm others. A trans-man can be as homophobic as a bigoted CIS-man, a woman can be just as sexist and abusive as a man, a black man can be just as racist and xenophobic as a white man. We can all inflict harm on others.
What is this mean? How does it affect you in any negative way? Well, think about your daily life. What about all of those times when someone had ignored you, just because they thought you looked threatening or thought you were weak because of your size. As human beings, we tend to categorize and organize things as a survival tactic. While this was the reason why human beings survived for all of this time, we tend to do this with people. If you were to meet someone new, you probably make assumptions and judge the person by how they look, talk, dress or even how they walk. As a result, stereotypes are made and this not only harms just one person, this will happen to everyone else who looks like this person. This stereotype can transform from just a thought to actions that can change a country. This happened in World War II, Hitler needed the scapegoat of a certain group of people to obtain his power and some citizens already disliked the Jews, and as a result six million people were killed. Six million innocent lives lost, because of underlying hate amongst some people, and a terrible man who had the power to make the Holocaust possible. Stereotypes can create privilege and indifference, which inevitably lead to bloodshed.
It doesn’t matter what gender, race, sexual orientation or even age; privilege affects everyone. While some don’t see much of a change in their daily life, others live in fear. The fear of getting shot at because they just walked out of a car. The fear of getting harassed and brutally beaten by the police after getting hit by a car. The fear of not getting the medical help and service you need because of what sex you are; and who you love. The fear of being persecuted by your neighbors and others because what -terrible, evil and horrible- actions that terrorists had done in the name of your god. The fear of getting deported because you were smuggled across the borders when you were young; even though you lived in America all of your life. Many of us, we live in fear every single day. It doesn’t matter what we look like or where we come from, it doesn’t matter who we worship and who we love, it doesn’t matter what gender we are; It does not matter what differences we have, we are all the same.
There will always be some who will deny that privilege is not an issue, they may deny that it exists, some who had been born into privilege may not even notice it their entire lives. For example, some would disagree on police brutality, they might think that it’s just a delusion of the media. That there is nothing wrong with the police, that black Americans are “Bad Guys” and that more white people get killed by guns than the minority. While it’s true that more white people are killed by police shootings than african-americans, white people make up of 69% of the American population, while African-Americans only make up 13%; and yet this same group makes up 24% of the people fatally shot and killed by the police. That means the average black citizen is 2.5 times more likely to get shot by the police than the average white citizen (Wesley. "Aren’t More White People than Black People Killed by Police? Yes, but No." http://www.thewashingtonpost.com).
Many also think that all of the LGBTq problems were solved after legalizing same sex marriage, or that they have equal rights. That’s far from the truth, Gay Conversion Therapy, a therapy that tries to “correct” the person by going as far to “corrective rape” to fix their patients; is still happening. Which is not only ineffective, but is scientifically proven to be harmful to their well-being. Scientist have found that correction treatment causes negative emotions like self-hatred and anxiety because it causes hate against the sexual orientation that they can’t change. (Ghose, Tia. “Why Gay Conversion Therapy is harmful” http://www.livescience.com) Corrective therapy is not the only problems, some use religion as a way to use a privilege to not serve gay couples. Gay couples are less likely to get proper health care, there are bills that limit transgender rights (Mason Everdeen, Williams Aaron and Elliott, Kennedy. “The Dramatic Rise in State efforts to limit LGBT Rights” http://www.thewashingtonpost.com) and not to mention the Orlando shooting; in which at least 49 people were killed (Ellis Ralph, Fantz Ashley, Karimi Faith and McLaughlin Eliott C. “Orlando shooting: 49 killed, shooter pledged ISIS allegiance”, http://www.cnn.com).
(Of course, it’s not surprising that prejudice against certain sexual orientations would exist, when sexism against women is still another very real problem in our country as well.)
Not everyone is blinded by this veil known as privilege, some are not easily manipulated by the puppeteer’s strings; but it still affects others. It often tries to blind others, to make it seem like there’s nothing wrong. Some people have been born into the lie, to them it’s the only thing they know; the lie is their reality. As I mentioned earlier, even when the truth shines out of the foggy mist of deception and lies, some would ignore the truth. It could be that they’re stubborn, maybe they’re confused, they might of have been exploited and brainwashed so much, they cannot differentiate reality from fantasy anymore. They will act and cause harm, often in ignorance. They will destroy the lives of others, while their brethren cry in pain for justice. They will be living a wondrous life of luxury, without even knowing the consequences of their actions. Even if they didn’t know what they were doing, it doesn’t excuse the crimes they committed. A famous poet, Robert Browning, once said that “Ignorance is not innocence but sin.” If America is supposed to be the land of justice and freedom, by turning a blind-eye to these injustices, we stand against the “American Way.”
I hope to live to see a future where these problems are not as overwhelming as they are today: to be able to walk outside without fear of being shot, kidnapped or raped. I wish for a future for the Americans of Tomorrow to be able to celebrate their differences; not fear each other. I will admit America has evolved from the 60’s when segregation existed, but I want to see an America that is better than ever. From the Redwood Forest, to the gulf stream waters, I want a better America for the Americans of the future.