America has always prided itself on a persona of equality, liberty, and freedom. However, discrimination is not an unusual concept in American history. We have continuously struggled over differences in race, sex, and background. Lately, America has made huge strides in gaining political equality for its citizens, but despite this continuous progression a certain kind of injustice still occurs in the hearts of many Americans today.
I am a teenage girl in America and This I Believe: One of the American people’s biggest mistakes is when we judge the love between two people because of their race, sex, or background.
Growing up in an open-minded household, I learned the meaning of love differently then most kids. To me, love was pure, simple adoration for another person. I thought that racial discrimination was a thing of the past, and never knew anyone uncomfortable with single sex relationships. I was not familiar with judgment, especially against something as pure as love and I have never understood how someone could disapprove of a healthy relationship. When I was first exposed to the close mindedness that has plagued American hstory, I realized how naive I had been when I assumed that interracial relationships or gay marriages were accepted everywhere, like they had been in my home.
Traditionalists argue that interracial marriages, or same sex marriages pollute the tradition that is “marriage”. However, the divorce rate in America is almost 50%. Interestingly enough the divorce rates in the nine states that allow gay marriage are 10% less then those that do not. This fact could mean that gay marriages rarely result in divorce, or bring up the question of, “who is really abusing tradition?” When, like today, people marry five or six times in their lives, while the media glamorizes short marriages and annulments. Is that not tainting what should be a celebration of lifelong devotion? Why are our elected officials spending valuable time, arguing over homosexuals right to love, while issues about education, violence, and unemployment are pushed aside?
Although it is legal for interracial couples to marry in America, many are still ostracized. From something as small as a disproving look, to physical violence or verbal abuse, interracial relationships are frequently unaccepted. But why? When two people of completely different backgrounds can fall in love, should we not, as Americans, celebrate that fact? It shows immense progress, when two people are attracted to each other’s dissimilarities, instead of estranged by them. People who are not intimidated by the disapproval they may face because they have hope in the future are truly representations of American progress.
I do not believe that discrimination exists today because of hatred. There is discrimination because change makes people uncomfortable. People do not want to deal with the complications that come with change. In light of that, whites in the south felt “uncomfortable” when Abraham Lincoln freed slaves in the 13th Amendment, and men felt “uncomfortable” when women gained the right to vote in the 1920’s. In many situations in American history, where massive fundamental changes occurred and injustices were corrected, a group of people felt “uncomfortable”. As Americans, it is our job to sacrifice our comfort for justice and equality. Not just in the law, but in people’s minds and hearts so that no one is restricted by stereotypes or prejudice.
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