What does being a citizen mean? Throughout history the meaning of citizenship has been hard to interpret. Being a citizen meant to be able to share and have equal rights as all individuals within a nation. But this has not been true for all people of the nation regardless of sex, gender, race, and/or religion. Many lives have been lost in the long run to gain citizenship, but even after all that injustice the inequality of these people is still a critical issue in this nation.
Throughout history, the first people to have the right to vote and be counted as a citizen were the white males of the nation excluding females and other races. The latter were counted as the minorities of the nation. After the end of slavery post-civil war, African Americans were granted citizens...
hip. This new law meant almost nothing as if this law was passed out just to make them feel as if they were a part of the nation. They truly were not, because a nation is supposed to care for its citizens. But the reality was that all those African Americans were tortured and butchered in the streets like animals by the white people of the nation.
This was due to the fear and anger of having African Americans who were former slaves as citizens sharing equal power with them. The lynching of African Americans went on for almost eight decades. But even after the end of lynching in the nation the inequalities of this people went on for many years and is reflected in their economic, cultural, political and social life today. The presidency of Barack Hussein Obama was thought
to change the life of African Americans and bring equality to this people, but it did not seem to change much. And also simply having equalizing starting conditions would not eliminate racial inequalities, but would at least help reduce them.
According to the report made by Stanford it states that one in six black households spend more than half of their income on housing, leaving them with fewer resources to devote to their children’s education, health care, and other basic needs. This fundamental disparity, the report says, can be traced back to the home-mortgage expansion which was enacted some eighty years ago. Families of color were, in effect, excluded from receiving these mortgages.
They are not just more likely to be born into families with less wealth, education and live in poor neighborhoods where high-quality schools are more difficult to find, crime is high, and other amenities are unavailable. Even if they make it through all this and finished grad school the employment rate for African American men has been eleven to fifteen percentage points lower than that for whites in every month since January 2000.
During the Great Recession, African-American men’s employment rates got even worse. They also recovered more slowly than did white men’s employment. The other severe thing African Americans are facing is health conditions. There are also profound racial inequalities in illness and death. For example, blacks are two to three times more likely than whites to suffer from hypertension and diabetes, leading in turn to higher rates of cardiovascular disease.
The other group of people who was not counted as citizens for a long time even if they had the same skin color as
the males was women. Even if they did not suffer as much as the racial minorities, they went through a hard time to be counted as a citizen of the nation. They were counted as male’s property and not having the right to protect themselves from the injustice and inequalities they were facing. Those who had parents with good financial status was forced to stay at home until they were old enough to get married without having a choice of their own by the will of their parents.
And those born in the ghetto were forced to start labor work in the industries with bad working conditions in order to support their families because of the lack of means to be able to get a white-collar job. Not many had a chance to get a good education and pursue a career of their own choosing and live their life. Those who had a chance to get a good education were seen as a joke and made fun of when they tried to pursue their career. The consistent struggle of those educated women brought women of different classes together to fight against the injustice and inequalities.
They were getting discriminated, bitten up and even imprisoned for expressing their ideas. After going through all that struggle they were granted citizenship. That was a huge step against the inequality of women but having a citizenship did not change the way the society looks at them as inferior to the men. It has almost been eradicated, but we cannot say there is an absolute equality of men and women still now.
For example, they are not getting paid as much as men.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963, which has been almost fifty-five years since stated, was intended to prohibit sex-based wage discrimination. However, women still receive an average of seventy-seven cents for every dollar earned by men, and this is an income inequality.
On average, 2.42 males for every female dominate the field of media. Even to get a cheap haircut in America you’re likely to pay more for a haircut depending on your gender rather than your hairstyle. In 2009, men outnumbered women at a rate of 73 percent to 27 percent in all science and engineering sectors of employment. And they also suffer from sexual violence. Nine of ten victims of attempted or completed rape in the United States are women. The sad part is that they get blamed and live the rest of their lives in shame as if they were not the victims.
The longest injustice and inequalities were against Native Americans which started from the arrival of Columbus to the place known as America right now. After his arrival, most Native Americans were forced to leave their homes. Because they were murdered and raped the plan was not to kill every single Native American but to terrorize them.
This went on for many years by the late nineteenth century, Native Americans stopped their policies of war and instead were trying to adjust to the encounters of living under U.S. authority on doubts. To declare authority over Native Americans on reservations, civilian officials developed Native police forces and relied on the presence of troops at western posts. Officials of Native Americans used violence to maintain minimal control. In the late 19th century, Native Americans on
masses of reservations participated in a religion-based political movement known as the Ghost Dance.
Ghost Dances was planned to achieve the reverse of colonialism not by using violence, but through an apocalyptic event that would destroy or remove all European Americans from a Native American country. To defeat the Ghost Dance, the federal government approved military force against the Lakotas, an action that led to the Wounded Knee massacre. That was the last official event in the Native wars, but more appropriately considered as an instance of violent overthrow of an anti-colonial movement.
After all these struggles they gain citizenship in 1925 but this did not end the injustice of this people. It went on for many years after that in different ways. One of the ways was through uranium mining. It has had notable impacts on Native Americans and reservations in South and North Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana. In recent years, based on the data collected and posted on the extent of the uranium problem.
It states that In Cave Hill, South Dakota, and the Grand River is affected by mine runoff from eighty – nine abandoned mines. At one of the mines, the radioactivity level is 120,000 times above the regional background. and these runoff of mines causes the radiation of radioactive chemicals that affects wildlife and mostly Native Americans around it, causing them cancer and many more diseases.
They also have housing conditions that are bad. One-third of their homes are overcrowded, and less than sixteen percent have indoor plumbing. Only fifty-one percent of the Native Americans in the class of 2010 graduated high school.
Native women and children in particular suffer from an epidemic of violence.
Native American women are 3.5 times more likely to be raped or assaulted in their life than women of other races. Twenty-two percent of Native American children suffer from post-traumatic stress disorders, a rate of PTSD equal to that found among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.
On Native American reservations the poverty rate is 43.2 percent — almost three times the national average. The unemployment rate on the Standing Rock Reservation was over sixty percent as of 2014. Native American peoples also suffer from high rates of poverty and unemployment. Seventeen percent of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders and twenty-seven percent of all self-identified Native Americans and Alaska Natives live in poverty, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
It might not be significant but there are still inequalities of these people mentioned in the above paragraphs may be once more than the others. So, what is the point of being called a citizen if not treated as equals, we can see the injustice and inequality of these peoples in their economic, cultural, political and social lives. For instance, we can see how low the job opportunities of this minorities are. Is it possible to achieve absolute equality of these people? And if so, I really look forward to seeing that day.
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