Racism, Sexism, and Queer Issues: Fighting for the Equal Rights Amendment
Our history is laced with various issues of equality. It’s no secret that we’ve always had problems with big heads and superiority complexes that stifle meaningful conversation and prevent us from implementing lasting solutions. Even with the progress so many brave individuals have sacrificed so much to see, the fight continues.
Here’s what we are facing:
Radical voices in our country continually propagate bigotry with racial generalizations designed to keep us on edge, slow progression, and prevent them from taking accountability. “Justice for all” cannot exist when an unaccountable white privilege thrives and others are targeted for simply “living while black”. Our society has grown accustomed to turning a blind eye to the sufferings of others and separating of families. We vilify those who feel they have no other choice than to protest because they don’t feel their lives matter. Sadly, even in the face of an increasing amount of racially motivated crimes (including murder), we are still not mature enough to listen and address the root of the issue. The inability to recognize this reality is willful ignorance which continues to feed the system of oppression we conveniently pretend we have already overcome.
Our overtly patriarchal society has been restructured by old, white men who believe they know what women experience based on their own subjective beliefs and outdated traditions rather than scientific facts. Because of this, women have been categorically mistreated. Instead of listening, learning, and growing they set unfair health policies and social restrictions on the entire female sex out of fear and ignorance. Women have to fight this system every day to prove their worth and demand the respect, dignity, and equality they’re consistently told they already have. Society as a whole continues to underestimate and over-regulate women - limiting what our country believes women can achieve and are capable of. Some focus more on the ferocity of the feminist movement rather than asking themselves, “Why is there a need for this movement to begin with?”. Even fewer have taken the time to listen to what feminist men and women are asking for.
In the last 10 years, there has been significant growth and acceptance of the Queer Community, but there is much more to be done. We know that members of the Queer Community are still being mistreated, bullied, assaulted, and in extreme cases killed. The queer youth of Utah have some of the highest rates of suicide in the entire nation. They are turned away from their homes, families, communities, religions, and schools because of who they love or how they identify. Many of them feel beaten down in every facet of their lives to the point where they feel that ending it may be their best or only option. I know this. I was raised in this culture and it is a fact that we cannot afford to continue to let go unaddressed. Sadly, there are many examples of how our country is falling backward and finding new forms of discrimination to limit those in the Queer Community; like the ban of transgender people serving in the military, denying American patriots the right to serve their own country.
So, what do we do? Acknowledge the fight as it stands, build on the current conversation, and return to the basics: BE KIND. We have to stand up for each other and make all feel welcome and included. We cannot forget that our freedoms were never for ourselves, but rather to create a place where we can provide those freedoms to others and be given them in return. Our ancestors sacrificed all they had so that we ALL could express our own opinions, be different, and live free of fear and oppression. Our identities, cultures, and familial groups are not obsolete. They give us meaning and help us feel like we belong. But we can no longer allow them to be be used against us by people who actively fight to make sure we are constantly divided.
We need to get to a point where we are finally able to sit down in a room with anyone and get along — regardless of the color of their skin, whats between their legs, who they love, or what they believe. There is value not only in allowing others to be different but in loving them for it. We need to continue to fight for equal rights across the board and that starts with you. Every day. How? By the way that you react, your willingness to come to the defense of the mistreated, how you stand strong in your own identity, and the freedom you afford others to find their own happiness.
Our fight has evolved from disdain to tolerance, and from tolerance to acceptance. Now, in 2020, the step beyond that is to move from acceptance to actively allowing others to thrive. For this reason, we have to fight for the ratification of The Constitution of the United States to finally include the Equal Rights Amendment, ensuring these rights and protections equally for everyone under the law.