Mina C. New York

Social Issues: Racism & Discrimination

Discussing the social issue of racism and discrimination within the United States today.

Dear Mr. or Madam President,

My name is Mina Cheung, and I am a senior at the East-West School of International studies. This year, I am taking a Participation in Government course.  In this course, we discuss issues that we find important to us, and that relate to our government. As the elections are coming up, we find that there are many issues that need to be addressed by the new president. Although I will not be able to vote this year, through this letter I would like to voice my opinion as a concerned citizen. One issue in particular that hits home to me is racism and discrimination within our country. 

I am what the government categorizes as a minority; a seventeen year old Asian American. Living in New York City, I grew up in a pretty diverse part of the country. However, that doesn't mean I haven't experienced my fair share of racism or discrimination. When roaming around the streets some people, who are non - Asian, look at me with shock when speaking fluent English. Or automatically assume that I'm fully Chinese, which I'm not. As I'm growing up, and venturing out into the world, I don't want to be categorized as a "stereotypical Asian" that the media portrays us to be. I want to be just recognized as another American citizen. Unfortunately due to the stereotypes of Asian, and the media associating Asians with these stereotypes, Asian Americans like me are associated with inaccurate portrayals. Now, this isn't just with Asians, but with other minorities as well. As a minority, I am also afraid of venturing out because of recent events, dealing with police brutality. Being an American citizen, I should feel protected by the government, not wary and worried.

Recently on "The O'Reilly Factor", Fox News Channel's top rated show, it hosted a segment interviewing Chinese people in New York City's Chinatown. This segment received a lot of backlash from people for it "trafficked in stereotypes and veered into racism" ( Stack, NY Times). The whole situation was about how the upcoming election had China frequently mentioned, and wanted to know the opinions of Chinese people. However, the people they "interviewed" didn't speak English at all, making them silent the whole time. It's media coverage like this that makes us minorities, or in particular Asians, look like we don't know English; therefore are oblivious as to what is going on in society today. With media coverage like this, it doesn't only give a inaccurate portrayal, but can encourage this kind of racism to continue.

Besides Asian Americans experiencing racism and discrimination, other minorities also face it as well. For people like African Americans and Mexicans, they are experiencing it as well, probably even worse than what Asians are facing. Thanks to this upcoming elections, many Mexicans have been categorized as dangerous, drug dealing, illegal immigrants. A candidate for the Republican party said that an Indiana judge was not suited to do his job properly because he was "Mexican". He was an American of Mexican descent, not just Mexican. In recent events, African Americans have been in the spotlight for the movement Black Lives Matter, due to "police brutality" against African Americans. One infamous event was with Eric Garner. where he was resisting arrest from a police officer, and died from an illegal choke that the police officer did. Although, Garner could've done something he shouldn't have, that doesn't justify the police officer's actions. Why he did he have to use a choking method, that isn't part of protocol, to apprehend Garner? There were other methods, yet he chose this one, which lead to Garner's death. Events like these make me question the government with issues of my credibility and safety. 

As the next president of the United States, I want you ensure all people are equal, regardless of their race/ethnicity. The United States were founded on the ideas of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. How can we exercise these ideas, when there are so many obstacles ahead prevent us to do so? Is it possibly to pursue such happiness if we are judged base on stereotypes presented in the media, before we can introduce ourselves? So as you proceed to your role of president for the next four, and possibly eight, years really look into this issue, and fix it. One suggestion is to create laws preventing such stereotypical racism from being presented in the media; or require a hefty fine for such content. People who incite such racism and discrimination should face criminal charges. As one of the many minorities out there, please take into consideration what to consider for this issue. Since you are now the new leader of a superpower nation, our future lies in your hands.

Sincerely, Mina Cheung

East-West School of International Studies

Government - 2nd Period

East-West School of International Studies 12th Grade Government Class

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