Maddie H. North Dakota

Issues in America

Rasicm and rape issues in America.

Dear Next President:

This shouldn't come as a surprise, but our country is not safe. Blacks face discrimination daily, Muslims get yelled at on the streets, and women are afraid to go out after dark. In the first amendment, the Constitution states that all citizens have the right to voice their opinions and speak freely without fear of harm coming to them. If this is what's written, then why is it that some of these people are afraid of what might happen if they speak their mind? If citizens are afraid to live their everyday lives, then I think this says something about our country, and not something good.

The first problem I would like to bring up is racism in America. The way people of color are treated in this country concerns me and I think we need to do something about it. Take the Philando Castille shooting in Minnesota for example. According to the “New Info Supports Officer in Shooting of Philando Castile” page at the story goes: a black man and his girlfriend are pulled over by the police on a Wednesday night during July for a broken taillight, Castille reaches to pull out his wallet and the police officer's response is to shoot him three times. Castille was unarmed, and was not involved in any gang or violent group whatsoever; yet he died later that night. Although Castille did not have a clean record, and he had been suspected of a convenience store robbery a few days prior. I do not believe this gives the officer enough jurisdiction to shoot an unarmed man. In my opinion, ever since the Ferguson unrest of 2014, where citizens of Ferguson Missouri held protest after the shooting of Michael Brown. Police officers have been stereotyping blacks more than ever and are assuming that they're all involved in violent crime; which is a horrible thing to do and has led to many deaths. We need to help this country, police and civilians, realize that you should not label a race because one person, or a group has committed a crime or act of violence.

Another topic that's concerns and confuses me is how lenient courts have been on college age rapists. According to the “Campus Sexual Violence: Statistics” at 11.2% of all students experience rape or sexual assault among graduate and undergraduate students, and often these students do not report the incident and no one is convicted of the crime. The minimum sentence for statutory rape is at least one year; yet in the Brock Turner case, the Stanford student was only sentenced to 6 months. This sparked outrage in the public as prosecutors had asked for a six year sentence but instead the judge, Judge Aaron Persky, had made his ruling based on two letters he was sent. Persky received the first letter from the victim of the incident, she had written a 12 page paper describing the situation in detail, the second letter was from Brock Turner's father who apparently dismissed the whole situation. Persky had said that because Turner was young and did not have a criminal record, “a minimal prison sentence will have a big impact on him.” Persky thought that just because Turner was young and had his life ahead of him he should be more lenient on him, which is unfair in court and especially considering the situation. The prison sentence for rape should be the same no matter age, gender, or race. The people who rape should not spend six months in prison, they cause serious emotional trauma and need to face the consequences.

These are some of the many problems of America, I believe a way to help get through to our country is by talking about these problems. From my own experience talking through issues can help fix an issue even in a small way.


Maddie Hafner