| The Sum of Our Fears
America is on the dawn of becoming the next of many fallen empires. There are several reasons that one may accredit this too. Some would blame our broken political system or corrupt politicians, while others may cite the troubled economy. However, there is reason to believe that a much more poisonous problem exists within our borders.
I am speaking of the oppressive and hierarchal societal structure we have allowed to remain in place. A system in which; women, people of color, homosexuals and the handicapped are labeled and marginalized. In this current setting, we have grown to fear one another in so many ways that it has become debilitating to our growth as a nation. It is impossible to maximize levels of achievement within a nation, when most of its members are not allowed to participate within its parameters. The lines of division between us are so strong that we have come to fear, and even hate, one another.
In modern America it is almost criminal to be a young black male. It is because of the oppression, racism and misrepresentation of black males in the media that our society has grown to fear them. We are constantly shown images of black males being hauled off to prison on the news. In movies black men are mostly portrayed as gangbangers, drug dealers, addicts and other types of morally questionable characters. These images only perpetuate the stereotypes, adding fuel to an already engulfing fire.
Let us use the unfortunate situation of Trayvon Martin as an example. The circumstances in this case have lead to a public outcry. Another young black boy was killed because being black, and the type of clothes he was wearing, made him seem suspicious. Still, there will be some out there that will be unable to see the connection. Others may refuse to see it. However, that does not mean that it does not exist. Now ask yourselves, if this was a young white male, dressed in the same hoodie, taking that same walk, would he have ended up dead that night? It is possible but highly improbable. A white male would have a harder time being arrested in a hoodie than a black male would in a business suit. Unfortunately for Trayvon Martin, he was doomed before he ever left his home.
Until we overcome our fears of one another and start to build relationships with those that differ from ourselves, we will always suffer the consequences. We need to create a collective history through understandings of each other rather than isolating and limiting ourselves to one specific group. If we do not attempt to unite as one people, the consequences will be dire. How many more Trayvon Martinís must there be? How many more innocent people must suffer the cruelties of inequality in all its forms before we realize our mistakes? For every innocent life that has been lost due to oppression and marginalization, we bring America and all its glory closer and closer to its impending demise.