Minorities have been fighting for civil rights in the United States since its establishment. From the early days of slavery and the Emancipation Proclamation, to women’s suffrage, to the more recent struggles of the LGBT community– granting those groups basic human rights has been a struggle, with varying results and degrees of progress. Still racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and other forms of prejudice are still prevalent in society today.
America was founded with conservative values over 200 years ago, but surely times have changed.
Although slavery is said and done, people still face acts of prejudice based off the color of their skin. According to a 2013 Pew Research Center study, “all black men were six times as likely as all white men to be incarcerated in federal, state and local jails.” In the same study, they found that Hispanic men were almost three times as likely to be incarcerated in comparison to white men.
Women are able to vote thanks to the 19th Amendment and are no longer constricted to living a life as a trophy wife. More blatant examples of sexism in today’s time include sexual harassment, double standards and the infamous pay gap.
Gay and lesbian individuals have made it a long way in gaining human rights. On June 26, 2015, homosexual couples were granted the right to be allowed to marry their partners in all states by the Supreme Court.
Tolerance- what can be described as, “the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with” has been a common factor in what those who discriminate against minority groups lack.
Those whom hold some form of power, whether it be an employer, professor, or government official who lack tolerance may be able to discriminate and act on their intolerance against someone whose beliefs do not line up with theirs.
That was the case in North Carolina recently, when governor, Pat McCroy signed a bill that prevents transgender individuals from using the bathroom for whichever sex they identify with.
The so-called “religious freedom” legislation that passed in North Carolina and is now making waves in other parts of the South, pretends to protect the rights of those devoutly religious from compromising their beliefs. But it is nothing more than a guise, that allows for bigotry and discrimination to persist.
The Williams Institute conducted a survey in 2011 that estimated about 700,000 individuals or .3 percent of adults are transgender in the United States.
That is simply an estimation of how many people are affected by this bill. Other states that have followed North Carolina’s ways include Mississippi, Tennessee, Missouri, among other states.
This decision has, of course, caused an outrage among citizens across the country.
Acting executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, Sarah Preston, said in an interview with CNN that legislators went out of their way “to stigmatize and marginalize transgender North Carolinians” and did so by “pushing an ugly and fundamentally untrue stereotypes that are based on fear and ignorance.”
Celebrities and musicians have also taken a stand against North Carolina’s ways.
Big names like Ringo Starr, Bryan Adams, Michael Moore, Bruce Springsteen, Nick Jonas, Sharon Stone, Pearl Jam, Tracy Morgan, Jimmy Buffett, Anne Hathaway among many others are boycotting performances to take a stand against the discrimination that is taking place.
Los Angeles County supervisors voted to “suspend all travel to the state of North Carolina…unless the chief executive officer determines that the failure to authorize such travel would seriously harm the county’s interests” on April 26, 2016.
America has made many advancements in its history, and this is just another issue its people must fight for in order for progress to make its way.
This is a chance to move forward and become more accepting of the diversity that should unite the country, not separate it, regardless of the color of a person’s skin, sexuality, gender or sex.