The United States of America was founded on white male supremacy and the slaughtering of minorities.
As a child I was taught that the founding of America was a beautiful victory; an amazing feat. Many other children in the U.S.
grew up with this same ideology. I was too busy learning how to praise America and ended up turning a blind eye towards race and gender. Race and gender was a concept that was rarely talked about during school. Back then, I knew nothing of the continuous media play and growing segregation.
But as of now, I’ve realized just how blind I was. Race, gender, and politics are intertwined. The portrayal of race and gender in the media gives massive influence towards political platforms. Race and gender is inevitably played in our everyday lives.
Both race and gender has been under the radar since the founding of the United States, but it was brought back to the public’s eye during the U.S. Presidential Campaign of 2016, between presidential candidates; Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Race and gender became main topics during presidential debates, race was even considered a matter of “whiteness,” whereas the gender of the future president was put under scrutiny. Hillary Clinton was the first woman to ever run for the presidential office, she set a new record for what women could do and became a role model for other women alike. This caused an uproar among male supremacists who believed it was not a woman’s place. “Of course, since the nation’s 43 presidents to date all have been men, a woman by definition may not have “a presidential look.
” (Susan Page) Thus, I’ve come to the conclusion that racial identity and gender (specifically women) are challenged within the public and governmental structures. An unfair segregation law; in this case segregated buses in Montgomery, Alabama, black people were restricted and forced to sit at the back of the bus, and if need be, give up their own seat for a standing white person. The segregation of buses not only treated African Americans unfairly, but the “Montgomery NAACP was beginning to think about filing suit against the city of Montgomery over the bus segregation.” (page 110) The NAACP wanted to seek a complainant beyond reproach.
It turned out a woman figure was the only and best plaintiff for a strong case. Women compared to men, were deemed to have “more sympathy…have a good reputation.
” (Parks) They were generally less of a threat. By challenging this unfair law, Rosa Parks, who was a courageous, strong, and fearless African American women, made a decision that had changed race relations in America against racial discrimination. In her autobiography, My story, Parks had broken the law by not giving up her seat to a white man. She once said, “I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in” (pg 116) As an African American women, I believe it was difficult for her to take a stand.
She faced limits for her inferiority in society. Parks was arrested, but this had launched, expanding political and social changes in society. The law on the Montgomery bus boycott was the change of segregation in the South and for justice amongst African Americans. This small act turned into the most significant moment in our American history. It led up to the boycott that challenged the U.S.
supreme court to appeal the law. As a result, the supreme court ruled segregation on buses to be illegal.I believe the U.S. supreme court has been the larger and more corrupt dominant institution throughout years. Some rulings of the Scotus have ruined plenty of innocent lives, but thankfully, it gave Rosa Parks justice, along with the many other African Americans.
She was fearless. There is an iconic woman I got to learn about, as JoAnne Deborah Byron help shed a light on peoples stories while currently living in Cuba, and her name is Assata Shakur who has been granted political asylum. I was left baffled after recently learning about her upbringing and her powerful story Assata: An Autobiography. She was framed in the Black Panther Movement and Female Black Agency. Within her story, she was charged with the murder of a state trooper in New Jersey and heavily mistreated and brutalized while being hospitalized during her conviction. She wanted to make a change, not only towards the oppression and dehumanization of black people but everywhere in society. She once said, “Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them.
(page 139) It is never okay to be treated unrighteously because of the color of your skin. The government did nothing but belittle her by using its power against her. In fact, I believed it played the most compulsive driven forces in Assata’s life.
Assata Shakur was placed high on the FBI’s Most-Wanted Terrorist list and branded as being nothing but a very “dangerous” black woman. Assata Shakur was used as mass media play to exploit the public and induce fear. The government continued to violate her freedom and draw forth more injustice in her life.
She once said, “They talk all this shit about black people, equal rights, civil rights, but when it comes down to the wire, all they care about is their hide. (page 12) In the memoir, Lakota Woman by Mary Crow Dog and Richard Erdoes, we are shown how hard it was for a Lakota woman who joined the American Indian Movement(AIM). Often times, women’s contributions are swept under the carpet, and silenced. Such as Rosa Parks and her participation in the NAACP experience where she did multiple recordings but was not heard. Mary Crow Dog is a Sioux Indian woman. She experienced many hardships because of her gender.
She felt powerless as a woman in a man’s world. “If you plan to be born, make sure you are born white and male…
but just being Indian, trying to hang on to our way in life.” (pg4) The racial identity determined the violence the Native Americans faced. They were generally discriminated against both on and off their reservations, while American people wanted to strip away the Native American culture like they were not part of the American civilization. Once stated, “I think it significant that in many Indian languages a black is called a “black white man.”(page 77) A white man had killed an Indian and AIM had enough of being treated unfairly. The AIM started to protest against the U.S government.
But also, confronted the United States Government on education reform. The American school system failed to give Native Americans a place in their academic textbooks, and instead buried their history. “When they were going to close our Indian schools, she stood up to the U.S. government and told them, ‘We need Indian education, for Indians.” (David P.
Ball) These stories marked a legacy and start of leadership, these women each have a story that made them who they are as a person. Moments of feeling tired of giving in to the unfair governmental structure, it made them into this larger and more influential figure in today’s society. These movements were driven by the sole purpose of social and political freedom, whether it is a political movement or sole activist, it helped them shift into the direction in looking for their true identity without resisting. They are victims of their government and corrupt societal values for asserting justice. As the American ideology, we value that all people should be treated equally and receive the same amount of rights, but all we see is prejudice and inequality in reality and in the media based on race, gender and other social issues. Yet, so many flaws in the world we live in, but I believe there are many uprising changes to come forward.
If something can be done, why won’t we do something about it? Everyday, it’s all about the effort in change that counts.